Throughout the discussion, continuous and constructive intervention to address aggressive, hurtful or negative forms of communication is critical. Our silence transmits its own message of tacit approval to students. Through our consistency and clarity, we convey and reinforce the kinds of character attributes we wish our students to develop.
We can notice and address any disparaging, negative or aggressive comments or communication each and every time they occur. Doing so with an empowerment-based approach that encourages reflection without blaming and shaming is more likely to lead to character development.
"That sounds like a racist comment. How do you think someone might feel if they heard you saying that?"
Every comment or exchange of this kind provides an opportunity to clarify the values we are striving to realize in schools, and in society at large.