Tolerance being taught in schools

Donna Cook AED 200 May 18, 2012 Tolerance being Taught in Schools Taj Jensen Diversity is the cornerstone of American society. The United States is one of the most diverse societies in the world, which is strongly reflected in the classroom. Today’s students differ in age, race, sexual orientation, religion, and culture and in the classroom, students are constantly surrounded by all these different characteristics which helps make it a wonderful environment to be taught tolerance. It is important for students to have a constant figure in their lives teaching them tolerance and diversity while establishing respect in the classroom and making a comfortable environment for the students learning and growth. Children become aware of different racial and gender issues at a young age, however, they also begin to learn stereotypes which is why it is so important that tolerance is taught at an early, elementary level. Teaching tolerance in elementary schools can greatly help reduce the incidence of hate crimes, racism, and discrimination. If the appropriate school programs that teach tolerance are implemented correctly, it could help students better relate to the different races and cultures surrounding them, and furthermore help students to appreciate their classmates and other peers. When teaching tolerance, it is important to develop the age appropriate curriculum especially when dealing with the younger students. Teaching tolerance could be as easy as having the children mix up who they sit with at lunch or rotating seats in the classroom or a more involved lesson such as having the students work on projects or theatrical exercises. Here is one example of how tolerance is being taught in schools. Recently millions of students in schools across the United States participated in a national campaign to celebrated diversity and tolerance by eating lunch at a table where they don’t usually sit with the aim of meeting or “ mixing it up” with different groups of students. Mix It Up at Lunch Day helps encourage students to question and cross social boundaries. By mixing it up, it is allowing students to explore and bridge differences among ethnic, racial and religious differences, as well as those related to disabilities, gender and class. According to a 2008 survey, this program leads to positive interactions among students outside their normal social circles and increased awareness of social boundaries and divisions within the school. More than four-fifths of respondents also said the event helped students make new friends, and almost as many said it heightened sensitivity toward tolerance and social justice issues. (Thomas, 2008). Although students should be taught tolerance at home from birth, not all children grow up in diverse settings and respect or dislike for people of differences will be taught in the home. Therefore, schools are a place where guidelines for tolerance can be set and followed. “ Classroom teachers have a considerable impact upon their students’ conduct and attitude concerning cultural diversity and this should be utilized” (Ganly, 2007) Schools are the best place to teach tolerance because students are already surrounded by different people in the classroom environment. Students need a constant figure in their lives that teach tolerance, and diversity of all aspects should be used as a tool for learning, creating confidence, and establishing respect in a classroom. Teachers who teach tolerance will make the students feel comfortable and confident. Students will not be afraid to express their opinions and talk about their beliefs and cultures if tolerance is taught in schools. Differences can be expressed and explored, not criticized or hidden. Respect can be established amongst the students and school faculty, and it will maximize the level of education for all students. Many people will argue that values and beliefs are things that should be taught at home and have no place in classroom instruction. However, with the diversity of our population increasing, the issues of learning tolerance and diversity are ever present, and the schools, with their diverse student population, provide an excellent forum for teaching students about tolerance. Teachers are role models to their students and educating with a positive message in regard to diversity can surely influence children. Children will be faced with many diverse people and teaching tolerance in school is essential for children to learn how to empathize and accept differences in each other. The goal of teaching tolerance is to educate students with the capacity for understanding and respecting the beliefs and practices of others. Since people are less connected today because of the increase in travel and technology, school is the single common establishment where every student can be taught how to accept these practices and beliefs. We can agree the word is imperfect and offer and the definition as the one that most closely matches our own. Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression. In today’s modern classroom teachers will be faced with the crucial undertaking of ensuring and providing a superior education to all students regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or any disabilities they might have. Multicultural education is a philosophical idea that incorporates and recognizes the diversity in the classroom and strives to ensure the highest level of achievement for all students (NAME, 1990). Multicultural education helps students to develop and make informed judgments of people by providing knowledge about various cultures and the diversity in our society. In order to accomplish these ideas and goals, the teachers and school staff have an obligation to be competent and literate in multiculturalism and must be able to create an environment that supports different perspectives and experiences (NAME, 1990). We need to be very careful when addressing the subject of tolerance. I was in a seminar recently where the speaker brought up an interesting point. He said that he did not like the word “ tolerance” or “ tolerate”. He used the term “ embrace” or “ celebrate” instead. Being aware of this negative connotation attached to the word “ tolerance” is a powerful. The word itself creates a sense of superiority in regards to the person “ tolerating” another’s differences. Being conscious of the messages that we are conveying to our students even in terms of the language we use is a big part of teaching. Embracing differences among the people in our society should be integrated into every lesson every day. Incorporating diversity into daily lessons creates a more natural connection to the concept as opposed to focusing on the subject. One, don’t want to bring a huge amount of attention to the topic. Parents and teacher and would rather have students feel as though it is a way of life. Embracing differences should be modeled by the teacher as well as be expected from the students. It should be as natural to embrace differences in one another, in a classroom, as it is to raise one’s hand before speaking. This mindset will, hopefully, translate to situations outside of the classroom as well. There are still far too many episodes of intolerance in our public life and in our schools. States have starting to considered anti-bullying laws that would make an exception for taunts based on religious beliefs. Intolerance isn’t a word we hear much anymore, but the hate it describes is very much with us. Kids who look different, those with disabilities, the ones who follow a minority religion and the ones who follow no religion, the children whose parents don’t have the means to keep up with trends, all of them know it. They need to be held close by teachers who care that they experience the respect and attention we all want for our own children. Sometimes it seems that this response doesn’t go far enough. The question is often a pained plea, and deep-felt, according to Costello (2012) when a lesbian teacher wrote, “ I’m not interested in just being put up with. I want to be accepted” (p. ). That’s what all teachers want, too. Tolerance can mean to merely put up with, one might say. But, as the statement above shows, it’s not the only way to define tolerance. More importantly, it’s not what is meant. Teachers advocate for classrooms and schools in which every student is welcome and valued, in the hope that this generation of students will grow into adults who reject intolerance. That idea, rejecting intolerance, is also the key to the acceptance we all strive for. That’s what Teaching Tolerance means. Teaching tolerance should definitely be a priority in every classroom of all ages. Teachers are promoting all the time that children are to learning how to share, make new friends, and understand that they will oftentimes need to compromise when playing with friends. This is a form of teaching tolerance in the elementary year. This is also the time when children are beginning to become sensitive to issues of gender, sexual orientation, religion, and race. Now would be the best time to add the teaching of tolerance. If not being addressed in the classroom, many views obtained by children can become quite skewed in which the child is never given an opportunity to dispel false information they may have incorporated into their world schemes. The classroom can provide the safe security that students need to explore such sensitive subject material. Tolerance is something that should be addressed and discussed in every classroom, on all levels. Effective teachers need an arsenal of strategies for instruction and classroom management. They need simple tools and approaches to create a more inclusive environment that promotes student learning. Teachers need a multicultural curriculum that will be essential in a diverse society. Students need to see themselves and people like them in the stories they read. Teachers need to update their presentations in Teaching Tolerance by taking workshops to help increase teacher effectiveness in diverse classroom. A teacher’s teaching beliefs are key factors that influence a teachers teaching behavior. Therefore, one can say that a teachers thinking can involve the processes where teachers transform lessons into actually teaching behavior. When teachers beliefs on teaching are realized, students interests toward learning as well as teachers own professional developments are emphasized when one discusses the issue from the aspect of teaching quality. A perspective of classroom management would primary focus on the creation of a warm and friendly teaching atmosphere with a quality learning environment. In Teacher-student relationships, teachers shall guide students to greater achievements while also playing the role of a person that student can trust all while in the classroom. References: Costello, M. (2012, Spring). What’s in a Name? Teaching Tolerance, (41). Ganly, S. (2007, October 3). Tolerance Should Be Taught in the Classroom. Retrieved March 27 NAME. (1990). Retrieved from http://www. nameorg. org/resolutions/definition. html Thomas, J. (2008, December 8). Kids Celebrate Diversity and Tolerance by “ Mixing It Up” at Lunch. Retrieved March 27, 2009, from America. gov: http://www. america. gov/st/educ-english/2008/December/200812091155561CJsamohT9. 968203e-02. html Hsi-Chi, H., & Su-Ling, Y. (2010). The Study of Teaching Beliefs Reflected on Teaching Behavior: Focusing on Elementary School Teachers. International Journal Of Learning, 17(9), 299-309.