As teachers, we often have information about students’ histories and personal lives. Students sometimes openly share this information in class. Some students may have experiences that are extremely relevant to a topic we are discussing. This may be the case when we are emphasizing the importance of recognizing and respecting diversity in our school and community.
We can strive to create a safe, respectful atmosphere in which students feel at ease to share their personal experiences; however, this needs to remain a personal choice. In order to respect the privacy and personal limits of students, it is important to avoid singling out any individual. You can approach the topic using open-ended questions, comments and activities that do not target specific students or compel students to confide or talk about their own experiences.