Tag Archives: diversity

Using #thedress to explain diversity

We have all heard of #thedress, right? The dress pictured above caused a world-wide frenzy when it was posted on social networking sites. Some claimed that the dress was white and gold, some (like me) were adamant that the same dress was black and blue, while some say it’s blue and gold. Some people have also claimed that they sometimes see white and gold, but can also see it as blue and black at times.

People have argued for days and eventually settled that although the dress was in fact black and blue, we all see it differently. The video below explains why:

Accepting diversity

So how is it that we can accept the fact that people see this dress differently to us, but cannot accept that other people ARE DIFFERENT FROM US?

Why is it so hard for some to accept people from different ethnicities, socioeconomic status, abilities, different sex and sexual orientations?

Isn’t the greatness of this world due to our diversity?

I know I am talking about a small proportion of society who has yet to open their eyes. I am hoping that by using a popular example such as #thedress will help them understand what I (and many others) have been talking about for years.

Judging a Book by its Cover – Daily Prompt

Today’s Daily Prompt asked: ‘Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover – literally or metaphorically? Tell us about a time you did, and whether it was a good decision or not.

Our brains are lazy. Most brains rely heavily on the easiest way to solve any problems at hand. One of the ways they do so is by creating schemas (patterns of thoughts and behaviours that organizes categories of information and the relationships between them). In other words, our brains make associations between thoughts, feelings, people and situations, and then stores those associations so that it will be easier for the brain to recall next time. For instance, we may think that blonde girls are dumb if we have previously met a lot of blonde-haired women with seemingly low-level intelligence (exposure to media, joke books and other people’s opinions also help strengthen this association).

Schemas may help save us some time and may save us from danger, but if we do not challenge them, they can develop into stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. Not all women with blonde hairs are dumb. Not all people of African descent are athletic. Not all kids with Special Educational Needs have low-intelligence. My point is that our schemas and stereotypes can be wrong and we need to be aware of it.

I have ‘judged a book by its cover’ a lot of times before. In fact, I do it most of the time. When I am walking alone on a dark alley or riding the bus late at night, I keep away from drunks and suspicious-looking people to keep me safe. Is it wrong? Yes, because not all of them are dangerous. But I still do it. I am not sure if I should change that particular reaction, even though I know that I may be wring 99% of the time. What I avoid is passing judgement too quickly in non-threatening situations. I try to keep an open mind everytime. I know that everyone that I meet is fighting a hard battle.

 

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A Reflective Exercise for Teachers

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People who work in the education industry need to be reflective, regardless of the length and wealth of their experiences. Being able to pause and think about one’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviours can greatly help both professionals and students alike. However, evaluating your own actions and philosophies should also be coupled with the willingness to change.

In this light, I urge you to conduct the following reflective exercise (adopted from Bartolo et al., 2007):

Think of two of your current or previous students- one who was very successful in school and one who was not. Consider the impact on them of their:

  1. Cultural Background
  2. Readiness for Formal Education
  3. Gender
  4. Behaviours
  5. Social Maturity
  6. Classroom Context
  7. Special Educational Needs