Preventing racism, homophobia and sexism is about laying the groundwork to develop the attitudes, skills and approaches enabling all members of the school community to recognize and value difference. Prevention starts with actively and respectfully identifying difference by leaving room for many possibilities in all our planning, interactions and activities.
We can lay the groundwork from the very beginning of our students’ school lives at the elementary level, communicating in many ways that everyone is worthy of respect and empathy, and proactively countering assumptions of what is “normal”. It is crucial to continue the work as students enter the secondary level, when they may have even more exposure to explicitly racist, sexist and homophobic messages. This long-term approach increases the likelihood of success by ensuring a continuum of consistent messages received by students throughout their school “careers”.
Implementing some or all of the strategies for prevention will offer the opportunity to put into practice the many skills, attitudes and approaches described in this Teacher Training Module. The list of strategies below is neither comprehensive nor finite. These are only some of the countless and creative ways teachers are already working to increase equity and promote inclusive education in classrooms and schools.
In order to become allies for students and colleagues by contributing to the creation of equitable and inclusive schools, teachers can: