In a society where intolerance tends to spiral out of control, children are apt to hear parents utter phrases of a racist nature, that they may not understand. Such pathetic observation has resulted in students attending school, and repeating slurs, heard in their respective homes. It is at this stage, that teachers are encouraged to exercise their tolerance and flexibility skills. Not surprisingly, how educators, enforce those rules, will influence their success in maintaining them. Below are seven suggestions:
1. Favoritism Not Permitted. Teachers must make it a point to treat all students equally, regardless of race. Since young people are subject to vulnerability, any allusion of favoritism to students of European ancestry, will in all likelihood, be noticed by their African-American classmates. Moreover, teachers are encouraged to refrain from showing preferential treatment to students of his/ her ethnic group. Realistically, there is nothing wrong with being different. Hatred develops when we refuse to accept those differences.
2. Setting the Rules. Teachers should set their own standards for dealing with tolerance. Additionally, it is a good idea to gauge the barometer of other teachers, regarding their views on racism and other issues pertinent to diversity.
3. Teachers should not differentiate on the rules. Teachers should agree on a course of action, and stick with it. In focusing on bigotry, students with a disdain for minorities, may use every opportunity, to capitalize on differences between the races. For example, Inga a 15-year-old Sweden who depicts Blacks as “criminals” and Hispanics as “lazy”, is told by her dad, that it’s normal for Caucasians to hate minorities. However, Inga notices that her teacher treats each student the same, with the exception of Hispanics. As a result of this discrepancy, Inga is totally confused. Moral of this story: Teachers should never show tolerance toward one race, while lambasting another.
4. Discuss tolerance with your students. Explain your position calmly and be prepared to back up your views. Remember things have changed a great deal since you were your students’ age. So, listen carefully to them, especially those who exhibit racist behavior. Remember, children aren’t born with prejudices, they are learned from parents and other adults.
5. Let students know that everyone is special. Teachers, who refuse to create a tolerant learning environment, are bound to have problems. Unlike prior generations, laws protects today’s youth, which makes it difficult for teachers to lecture a student, who uses a racial slur. Despite the legal process, teachers should make it clear that they are in charge of the classroom. Thus, students are required to abide by the rules.
6. Avoid hostile confrontations. Create an atmosphere where troubling situations are expressed with positive reinforcement. If an Asian student yells out “Mother Clucking Cracker,” during a verbal altercation with a white student, the teacher should refrain from losing control. Instead, they should remain calm, and point out the perils of such behavior. After explaining your position, let the student who uttered the racial slur, know that such behavior will not be tolerated. However, if the offensive behavior continues, the teacher can request a meeting with the student’s parents to discuss the issue.
7. Cherish the Uniqueness. Remember that each student is born with unique abilities, unlike anyone else. Learn to appreciate each child’s individuality. If teachers follow these suggestions, perhaps racial intolerance among school- age children, will become a thing of the past, instead of a trend of the future.