TOLERANCE: 10 strategies to bring cultural tolerance into the classroom

10 Strategies to bring cultural tolerance into the classroom and fight hate

The following strategies have been inspired by

a web project of the southern poverty law center to “fight hate and promote tolerance.”

My multicultural self

Have the students identify 3 facets of their own multicultural selves, such as family values, religious precepts, holydays, beliefs, and cultural customs. Have them share their cultural facets and comment possible reasons that miscommunication could occur among ones’ and others’ cultures.

Communication: The total impact of your message

Students will watch The Center for New American Media’s American Tongues video clips in which people from different regions of the U.S. talk about different versions of the English language. Students will identify the message of verbal spoken communication, including the use of words and intonation of interviewees. Students will also identify the nonverbal communication, the message that interviewees transmit with the use of gestures, postures, eye contact, and facial expressions. The teacher will make a table in the blackboard with the students' observations to compare verbal and non verbal messages of each interviewee and to assess the total of the message delivered by the interviewees.

Nonverbal behaviors and culture

Students will watch a multicultural video with the sound in mute, to observe nonverbal behaviors in different cultures. Then, students will write down their first impressions. Students will watch the video a second time with the normal volume. Then, students will compare and comment their impressions and the “real” cultural meanings.

Identifying stereotypes

Stereotypes represent a belief or assumed knowledge of an entire group based on an experience with or information about a member or members of a given group. Have the students watch The Center for New American Media’s People Like Us: Social Class in America video. Students will identify stereotypes in the video and link them to what they’ve experienced or heard (in TV, from their families, peers, or authority figures). Students will discuss in what ways these stereotypes are not true and come up with ideas to break down the stereotypes.

I’m human, too

Students will identify offensive beliefs and/or remarks said about “their group” and share positive ways to counter them in order to increase their sensitivity to cultural differences.
Have students decide what types of groupings (by race, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation, extracurricular activities, musical preferences, etc.) could be used that would divide the class into 4 to 6 groups.
In each group, students will list things that they “never want said again” about their group. After the groups have developed their lists, each is asked to come up before the class and have one member read its findings.
After all groups share their lists, ask students the following questions:
• What are some effective ways you have responded to offensive remarks or biased views?
• What types of responses are not helpful and cause further misunderstanding and/or anger?
Ask students to share personal experiences in which they were offended or when they have offended someone and learned from the experience.
Have a discussion on the importance of standing up for others as well as for oneself.

Conflict resolution & peace

Students will be arranged into a circle. The teacher will give one student a quote about peace and conflict resolution from tolerance.org . The student will read the quote textually to his closest classmate without being heard by the rest of the class. The second student will have to interpret, paraphrase, and write down his own quote. The second student will read his own quote to the next student to continue with the same dynamic until every student has paraphrased the quote. Then, the students will comment their different view points on conflict resolution and peace. This activity not only increases students' skills in listening, but also checks for comprehension as they paraphrase.

American value: freedom

Download "Freedom, Oh Freedom" as an mp3 or notation PDF from . Before playing the song for students, ask what "freedom" means and have the students write their responses in a peace of paper; students will share their responses to the class. After listening to the song, encourage students to describe the song's meaning of "freedom." Ask the students to write a paragraph comparing that meaning with their earlier responses.

A nation of immigrants: Family ties and fabric tales

After exposure to relevant literature in class, students will research their family history by interviewing their parents. They will use this information along with visual props such as pictures, maps, or drawings to tell their story to their classmates.

A nation of immigrants: Global citizenry

During and after Constitution Day observance, students, in small groups, will set classroom explorations with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, and the Mexican Constitution. Students will pay special attention to passages that relate to values like equality and freedom. Ask small groups to share their findings with the whole class and write them on the board. Finally, ask the students to compare and contrast their findings with the U.S. Constitution. Download the Constitution of African and Mexican Constitutions here.

In-group favoritism

Students will understand and be able to define in-group favoritism.
Definition: according to Social Identity Theory, social groups influence inter-group relations because people strive to maintain or enhance a positive social identity. The desire for positive self-esteem is thought to lead to the tendency to evaluate one's own group favorably in comparison to other groups, or "in-group favoritism."
In-group favoritism at its best offers a positive sense of belonging and affiliation (football players encourage each other's athletic best. At its worst, it can lead to highly destructive and hurtful behaviors: gossiping, bullying, and pressuring group members to do what they individually do not respect or feel comfortable doing.
Students will brainstorm a list of in-groups in their community and will identify ways they participate in in-group favoritism.
Then ask these questions regarding the positive and negative impacts of in-group favoritism and have them share and comment their answers in groups:
o What favors or special privileges do people in the same groups tend to give to each other?
o How do you think it makes them feel to support their own group members over others?
o How do you think it makes others who are outside their group feel?
o If you see in-group favoritism playing out, what might you be able to do to confront or stop it?

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