Let's Get Together school program
Creating respectful schools
Let’s Get Together is a diversity education program developed by A Fairer World for Tasmanian schools. It 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’ – the knowledge, skills and values that foster empathy and a desire to create positive 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 local educators and connected to local support agencies: 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 eight 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.
Let’s Get Together is strengths-based, asking students what they, and others around them, can bring to creating a school environment where everyone feels safe and included. By using their own resources, they can experience the transformative power of making a difference.
Quote below: From Dr Sue Stack’s 2015 Evaluation Report of the Let’s Get Together program:
“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; and
- learning how to pitch ideas, getting authentic feedback.”
The 8 Keys to Harmony
- Supports Tasmanian education priorities: Respectful Schools, Respectful Behaviour; Respectful Relationships Education; and the Child and Student Wellbeing Strategy.
- Links to the Australian Curriculum across a range of learning areas and the General Capabilities.
- Involves the whole school community, including the School Association.
- Develops diversity competence – the knowledge, skills and dispositions that contribute to a respectful school culture.
- Two levels of professional development – for teachers and facilitators.
- A 20-hour suggested teaching sequence with detailed lesson plans.
- A Student Handbook with activities, worksheets, videos, exemplars, personal inquiry questions and extension activities.
- Community involvement including a visit by the Hobart Human Library, a Community Diversity Expo with a range of community organisations, and a session with Equal Opportunity Tasmania.
- An emphasis on student voice and transformative education principles.
- Activities that foster a global perspective.
For more information, please download the program overview.
Rose Bay High School teachers:
Awareness: “The students are more mindful of discrimination, the behaviours of discrimination and the impact of discrimination on personal well being.”
Language: “Students are using the terms linked to diversity and naming up behaviours and actions of others with more confidence.”
Thinking and empathy: “The personal stories really allowed for students to connect and think deeply about some issues. I really enjoyed seeing students being intellectually and emotionally moved by the content of the course.”
Connectedness: “…greater comradery in class, better teacher-student relationships, more interactions between the girls and boys.”
Behaviour: “…some are still name calling without registering they are doing it. However, others are calling them on it.”
Student voice: “Although students might whinge about some aspects it is truly amazing when you hear student voice. Self-directed learning: I feel a lot more confident in allowing students self-directed learning.”
Let’s Get Together was developed by A Fairer World in 2013-14 with the assistance of a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund and a partnership with the Tasmanian Anti- Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.
The Let’s Get Together Program is now funded at selected schools by the Tasmanian Department of Education and self-funded by other schools.