CREATING RESPECTFUL SCHOOLS
A Diversity Education Program developed by A Fairer World in partnership with Equal Opportunity Tasmania.
Let’s Get Together is designed for schools wanting to partner with their students and the wider community to create a more respectful school environment.
The program addresses discrimination by building ‘diversity competence’ in students. It also motivates students to address bullying behaviours and become agents for change.
Changing behaviours for a respectful school community does not happen overnight. What‘s different about Let’s Get Together is that teachers are supported on the journey by skilled staff from A Fairer World, Equal Opportunity Tasmania and Tasmanian community organisations. The program is written specifically for Tasmanian schools and the support is available locally.
The heart of the program is the 8 Keys to Harmony, an 8 step learning process for students to explore the underlying causes of bullying and other discriminatory behaviours and to create tangible outcomes for themselves and the school that improve the school environment. Through this they experience the power of being active citizens who can make a difference.
It is November 26, Action Day. I am standing in the school gymnasium and the energy is palpable – not just loud and buzzing, but focussed with a sense of a common purpose. Behind me is the theatre where student produced videos are showing. Around me are a multitude of booths, each manned by students speaking animatedly to a roving audience of students, parents, mentors or people from community organisations.
I move around with my camera interviewing students, asking what their booth is about.
Students impress me with their confidence, their articulateness, their passion, their knowledge, their commitment, their imagination and inventiveness. They have created a world of possibilities in concrete ways that their teachers could not imagine at the start of the program. They have made surveys, give-aways, activities, badges, cookies, T-shirts and even created a chill-out room as they try to help others become more aware of issues of discrimination and bullying. They know their stuff. It is pointy and powerful.
This is more than students researching and presenting a topic. What I am seeing is the culmination of a journey that involved:
- buy-in to their issue,
- building empathy and perspective-taking through listening to stories from the Human Library,
- deeper understanding into the cultural phenomenon of stereotyping and the legal issues of discrimination,
- understanding how to create sustainable change,
- visioning for their school,
- developing bystander skills,
- seeing what community organisations are doing and building connections through mentorship,
- learning how to pitch ideas, getting authentic feedback.
Dr Sue Stack, Evaluation Report 2015
For a copy of Dr Stack’s full report contact our office.
Rose Bay High Grade 7 Coordinator (Danny Munting), students and Principal (Geoff Williamson) collecting the 2015 Tasmanian Human Rights School Award from Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM, Governor of Tasmania.
The award was for “incorporating human rights education into the school curriculum through a long-term commitment to implementing the Let’s Get Together Diversity Education Program, the stand taken against racism and homophobia and the positive impact this is having on the school and wider community.”