Marginalising behaviours and social exclusion affect people from all areas of life. A growing problem that educational institutions have been contending with, in this emotionally charged and intolerant state of affairs, is how to make the students more tolerant.

The increasing globalisation and diversity haven’t made us accommodating of different beliefs and opinions but more intolerant and inward-facing.

In school settings, tolerance can play a big role in building social equality. Not only does it help students interact freely and openly, but also educates them about listening and respecting other people’s opinions.

If you are a teacher or a parent, following strategies can encourage the children in your class or home to practice tolerance.

Communicate Openly and Honestly

The only way we can learn about other people and experience a sense of camaraderie and understanding toward them is through effective communication. For tolerance to exist, communication must be both ways. For starters, initiate communication with your dialogue partner and wait for their response.

Commit to listening to everyone, including the teachers, students, and staff.

Open and honest communication means that everyone gets a chance to speak. If you are a teacher, never take sides or favour anyone unnecessarily.

Active listening not only means hearing what your students have to say but also interpreting their non-verbal communication and understanding their viewpoints. When every student gets to talk freely, they will feel validated and listened to, thus creating an overall tolerant environment.

We also suggest promoting student-led discussions. Such activities nurture social skills in students that help them deliver and receive different perspectives about the world.

Implement an Efficient Educational Program

Working in the capacity of educational leadership means owning up to the responsibility of educating students about a social matter. Even better is having a degree in education and its related fields to learn about various learning techniques. Degrees, such as the online EDd programs, or other advanced education degree like it, address—among other things—the inequities in curriculum.

To instil tolerance, educators must design and implement a comprehensible study plan. When opting for and teaching a subject, you must analyse its aspects. What are the principles the textbooks teach? Which figures are highlight by the school authorities? Which cultural stories dominate the social fabric of the school?

Addressing these questions will help you identify the opportunities and outcomes of the curriculum. If you are in school administration, you should constantly interact with the teachers about the lesson plans and teaching objectives.

Stay Informed

Racism and xenophobia are some of the biggest causes of intolerance globally. The students somehow exhibit similar behaviour, mainly because of lack of knowledge.

The problem is that parents, teachers, and other senior members of the society do not realise their role in influencing the behaviour of the younger generations. As a teacher and a parent, you should be aware of the things going on in the local and global community.

Make rational decisions by confirming any information you hear over the news by researching it on Google. Consult some authentic sources, listen to other people’s opinions, understand the role of all the participants involved, and then make up your mind.

In this way, you can discuss the matter more positively. Rational thinking can help your students be more accommodating to difference of opinions.

Eliminate Stereotypes

People of one race has always something to say about the qualities of another race. Most often, these stereotypes have no basis in reality.

A common stereotype in the United States is that the members of the African-American community are more inclined toward crime. The members of the black community have long been stereotyped in such ways, which have no basis in reality. Discussions about these biases and stereotypes are critical in ingraining tolerance among the students.

Also, to really demolish the power of such stereotypical thinking, you need to get to know your students. Are you aware of their cultural and ethnic backgrounds? How do they behave with their peers from different backgrounds? What are their family environments like?

Only after knowing answers to the questions above can you start bursting through the students’ stereotypes and help them clearly identify biasness in their own thinking.

You can also focus your efforts on the curriculum, such as arts and humanities, psychology, cultural studies, and sociology. Depending on the grade, the students will determine the reality and fairness of various stereotypes.

Engage the students in group activities

Every person is obligated to respect others. Whether they be people of a different race or ethnicity, or practice alien traditions of foreign community, we must observe tolerance in our dealings with everyone. It goes without saying that, given such diversity, there is bound to be differences in values, opinions, and beliefs, but we should not lose sight of civility and decency in our discourse with others.

As an educator, start with understanding who you are and your own biases. With that level of awareness, you can then challenge cultural and societal biases, and encourage others to do so as well.

Engage your students in group activities around these issues. Instead of avoiding the elephant in the room, encourage your students to identify the similarities and differences in different races, religions, or cultures. The idea is to celebrate differences in such a way that promotes understanding.

Another way we can promote understanding and tolerance through group activities is to honour and observe the special days and events of different races at school. When students participate in such events and interact with people of other races and religions, they start to see value of observing tolerance.

Introduce Empathy

Empathy and tolerance are interrelated. When a person is empathetic towards others, he will naturally have tolerance for them. Empathy is a hard skill in today’s intolerant world.

To inspire the children to observe tolerance despite, you must lead by example. Children are impressionable and are easily programmed a certain way.

If they observe their parents or teachers treating others in a tolerant way, they are bound to pick those behaviours and traits through observation. Educate students about the different social causes and how people are affected by them. Donate to these causes and encourage them to participate in these as well.

Final Thoughts

Educators face the challenge of social development and moral correction of their students. They cannot ignore their responsibility in being the role models for their students. So, when it comes to instilling tolerance in their students, they have to incorporate the tolerant traits in themselves first. Creating a tolerant and inclusive classroom requires having a noble vision. Engage your students in rational thinking, group activities, special events of other cultures, and other strategies mentioned in this article, to make sure your students grow up to be tolerant members of society.