Diversity is our Strength - Part 3: Accepting and Respecting our Differences

Our final exploration of diversity focused on some of the challenges that people in our society face because of their differences.  We were further able to celebrate how people have been successful in overcoming these challenges, and discovered how we can be allies for anyone being treated unfairly for any part of their identity.  We continued to develop our understanding of the strength diversity brings to our society, and how discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, judgement and intolerance of diversity actually make us weaker.

To learn more about racial inequality, students receive a set budget determined only by age. Their challenge is then to "shop" for groceries that would offer a complete and healthy diet. Having the least money only because they are the oldest, our senior students quickly realized how unjust this scenario was and how difficult this task was for them to accomplish. 

To learn more about racial inequality, students receive a set budget determined only by age. Their challenge is then to "shop" for groceries that would offer a complete and healthy diet. Having the least money only because they are the oldest, our senior students quickly realized how unjust this scenario was and how difficult this task was for them to accomplish. 

A student is having trouble find the glopnik Paulette has asked him for during an exercise to help kids see how hard it can be to be successful when you have different abilities as a learner. 

A student is having trouble find the glopnik Paulette has asked him for during an exercise to help kids see how hard it can be to be successful when you have different abilities as a learner. 

Students began to practice perspective taking as they listened to the stories and voices of people who were victims of hate crimes, intolerance and judgement.  After taking the time to learn about different experiences, they were able to share their own thoughts about these issues.  They sought to answer big questions such as, "What are some of the challenges of having diverse beliefs in our society?" and "How can we create a safe space for everyone, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community?"  Experiential activities helped students to further understand the challenges people face and unfair treatment received because of their differences in race, religion, abilities, sexual orientation and gender identity.  Students had opportunities to reflect and relate to the stories and experiences to generate more questions that would lead to a deeper understanding.  They finally discussed ideas about what they can do to be a part of the solution to these challenges.  

Through daily reflections, students concluded that intolerance is fuelled by fear, which in turn comes from ignorance and misunderstanding.  Diversity, they determined, makes us strong because there is a lot we can learn from each other.  The students welcomed the opportunity to learn more deeply about different races, religions, gender identities, sexual orientations and abilities in order to be more informed, accepting and appreciative of differences in our society. In addition, students worked on making HPDS a safe space for everyone who comes through our doors. 

Students create signs to show that HPDS is a safe space for everyone, including everyone in the LGBTQ community.  EVERYONE IS WELCOME HERE!

Students create signs to show that HPDS is a safe space for everyone, including everyone in the LGBTQ community.  EVERYONE IS WELCOME HERE!

While we have just scratched the surface of diversity, we have become more aware of why we need to be more aware of other people's perspectives in order to be respectful and create a space where everyone is welcome.

Up next... The students create art to express and reflect what they have learned about diversity in preparation for our culminating Art Exhibit!