“The diversity of our world’s many religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities is not a pretext for conflict, but is a treasure that enriches us all.” – UNESCO.
Today, we celebrate mindful, respectful, objective and fair attitudes towards beliefs, practices, opinions, origins and identities that differ from our own. To oppose bias, radicule and peer pressure and to encourage diversity and equality around the world the United Nations introduced the International Day for Tolerance in 1996. Indeed, education is the key factor to prevent intolerance, hate, stereotypes or bullying and support a ‘mutual understanding among cultures and peoples’. Therefore, teachers should “[…] help young people [to] develop capacities for independent judgement, critical thinking and ethical reasoning.” – UNESCO.
Lit4School offers a wide range of texts for the German and English classroom that counter intolerance and offer paradigm shifts for young readers: Herkunft by Saša Stanišić provides us with an autobiographical refugee perspective on otherness and exclusion – that makes the readers experiencing what it means to be treated differently when arriving in a foreign country. The Curious Incident of the Boy in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon presents the perspective of Christopher – a boy on the autism spectrum and how he perceives his world from a very different angle. Die Sommer by Ronya Othmann tells a unique story about migration, religious intolerance, violent extremism and civil war. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman use reverse stereotyping to offer a paradigm shift that makes the readers aware of racial stereotyping and oppression.
“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” ― Kofi Annan
Lets promote awareness for pluralism, diversity and tolerance in school.
Kind regards and stay safe,