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Source Reviewed:

www.tolerance.org

Audience:

Teachers Who Advocate for Diversity and Equity in School

Topic:

Promoting Inclusivity

Description:

Teaching Tolerance
www.tolerance.org

While seeking resources on ESL education, I came across an interesting website that deals with teaching tolerance and respect for differences and developing an appreciation for diversity in the classroom. Teaching Tolerance is an initiative that among other goals was developed to support teachers in creating an inclusive classroom that is free from all forms of discrimination.

Teaching Tolerance has adopted a broad definition of tolerance as outlined in the UNESCO Declaration on the Principles of Tolerance:

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference.

The philosophy underlying the work of Teaching Tolerance is that tolerance is not only a way of thinking and feeling but most importantly, it is a way of acting — that gives one peace in their individuality, respect for those who are different from oneself, the wisdom to discern humane values and the courage to act upon them.

Teaching Tolerance provides educators with free educational materials that promote respect for differences and appreciation of diversity in the classroom and beyond. Teaching Tolerance publishes a magazine and curriculum kits for teachers to use in the classroom. In addition to these resources, Teaching Tolerance offers grants for anti-bias projects implemented by students from kindergarten to high school.

I reviewed some of the work of Teaching Tolerance and I thought it was particularly relevant for those who are working with ESL students and in a mainstream classroom. It is ESL students that are especially vulnerable to acts of discrimination, especially, those who originate from countries that are negatively portrayed in the media and mainstream culture.

I found the curriculum developed by Teaching Tolerance very useful in raising awareness among all students about the injustice of intolerance towards people who are different from ourselves. The classroom activities that are a part of the curriculum appear to foster sensitivity towards others and a culture of inclusivity which will help to facilitate the healthy and positive integration of newcomers in the classroom. Although the curriculum evidently was written from an American perspective, I feel that it is still just as relevant and useful in the Canadian context with appropriate modifications.

The Power of Words is a free on-line curriculum kit for teachers that explores common labels for ethnic groups, women and sexual minorities. It includes lessons to make it easy for teachers to move beyond 'Don't use that word!' and instead help students make informed choices about their use of language.

From an activity exploring the roots of slang for immigrants to a lesson on recent attempts by marginalized groups to reclaim pejorative words, the curriculum's 10 lesson plans support content standards in language arts, history, civics and behavioral studies for grades 9-12. Many of the activities can be adapted for lower grades and across subject areas.

From an activity exploring the roots of slang for immigrants to a lesson on recent attempts by marginalized groups to reclaim pejorative words, the curriculum's 10 lesson plans support content standards in language arts, history, civics and behavioral studies for grades 9-12. Many of the activities can be adapted for lower grades and across subject areas.

Teaching Tolerance has also published another on-line resource for teachers and students, 101 Tools for Tolerance, which is a practical guide for transforming oneself, one’s home, one’s school, one’s workplace and one’s community to a place of acceptance and social unity. Although, I find the resource to be a bit superficial and simplistic in it’s presentation of creating a positive and accepting environment, I think it still has merit as a simple and easy to read guide, and especially, useful for young people who may be unable to handle more complex reading material.




Strengths:

Teaching Tolerance provides educators with free educational materials that promote respect for differences and appreciation for diversity in the classroom and beyond. Teaching Tolerance publishes a magazine and curriculum kits for teachers to use in the classroom. In addition to these resources, Teaching Tolerance offers grants for anti-bias projects implemented by students from kindergarten to high school.

Weaknesses:

I dislike the use of the word tolerance because I feel that it suggests that people of different ethnic, religious, racial, and social backgrounds are in some way inferior to the mainstream culture and members of the mainstream should learn to withstand people of different backgrounds.

In the dictionary, the word tolerance means to allow the existence, practice , or occurence of someone or something. The dictionary also highlights words such as endure, withstand and sustain in association with the word tolerance. The opposite of that are words such as embrace, accept, celebrate, appreciate, understand, and love, which are truly representative of a transformative, equitable, progressive, and socially just classroom culture.

Comments:

I reviewed some of the work of Teaching Tolerance and I thought it was particularly relevant for those who are working with ESL students and in a mainstream classroom. It is ESL students that are especially vulnerable to acts of discrimination, especially, those who originate from countries that are negatively portrayed in the media and mainstream culture.

Your Recommendations:

None

Submitted by: Erika Carlson

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