International schools are increasingly becoming a popular choice for parents who want their children to receive a culturally diverse and academically rigorous education.
With increased Diversity comes the responsibility of creating a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students. Promoting anti-racism in the school setting is one of the best ways to ensure this. This thought leadership post will explore how educators and parents can work together to create a culture of respect and acceptance in the school community.
1. Create an Equity Statement
The first step in promoting anti-racism in any school setting is to create a clear equity statement or policy outlining unacceptable behavior. The message should include language that explicitly addresses racism and other forms of discrimination, such as sexism, homophobia, and ableism. It’s essential to clearly outline the consequences for violating the policy so that everyone understands what will happen if the agreements are not respected.
What ISHCMC does:
We have established an equity statement and in 23/24 will communicate clearly to all students, staff, and parents the agreements within that statement as well as the consequences of not adhering to the agreements.
2. Provide Education on Diversity
For students to understand why anti-racism is critical and how to promote it within their schools, they need opportunities to learn from one another. Learnings could include classroom discussions about different cultures and identities or educational assemblies featuring guest speakers from underrepresented backgrounds. It’s also essential to ensure teachers are knowledgeable about diversity issues to facilitate these discussions effectively.
What ISHCMC does:
- Provide space and time for students to engage in difficult conversations
- Ask students to reflect on their identity and who they are
- Engage in discussions about stereotypes and racism
- Reflect on what it means to be a global citizen
- Consider ways in which our mission focuses on attributes of DEIJAB+
- Help students to understand and focus on the DEIJ language
- Connect the Learner Profile to sense of self
3. Encourage Student Involvement
In addition to providing educational resources on diversity topics, it’s necessary to actively involve students in creating a culture of respect within their school community. Create student groups or clubs focusing on social justice issues or through activities like holding schoolwide rallies or protests against racism or bigotry. It’s also beneficial for students to have regular, varied opportunities for dialogue about sensitive subject matters so that everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts without fear of judgment or ridicule.
What ISHCMC does:
- Provide a safe environment for students to advocate for themselves concerning issues connected to DEIJAB+
- Use the POSISH programme to provide a space for students to express themselves freely
Promoting anti-racism in international school settings takes time and effort but ultimately leads to stronger communities where everyone feels respected regardless of race or cultural background. By establishing clear policies on racism and discrimination, providing education on diversity topics, and encouraging student involvement, educators and parents can work together towards creating a safe learning environment where all members feel welcome and accepted. With dedication from both sides, we can make sure our international schools are places where every child has an equal opportunity to succeed without fear of prejudice or hate speech.