Let’s Get Together is designed for schools wanting to partner with their students and the wider community to create a more respectful school environment. The program addresses discrimination by building ‘diversity competence’ in students. It also motivates students to address bullying behaviours and become agents for change.
Aim of the initiative: To addresses discrimination by building ‘diversity competence’ in students. It also motivates students to address bullying behaviours and become agents for change.
Target audience: Teachers and students, and through them to the community.
Organisations involved: Schools. Equal Opportunity Tasmania is a partner. Many community organisations participate in school events as part of the program.
Lead organisation: A Fairer World
Organisation mission: Tasmanians working together for a just, peaceful and sustainable world future.
Contact: A Fairer World, Helen Hortle, firstname.lastname@example.org
Education for Sustainability Tasmania endorsement ranking: Highly commended
Awards won for the initiative: Not yet
More information: website, Facebook
What was your educational message?
Diversity competence is the knowledge, skills and dispositions that contribute to a respectful school culture and a more equitable and peaceful world.
Equity (social justice) requires the full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. An equitable society allows every person to achieve their full potential by providing an environment in which all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure (Adams, Bell & Griffin, 2010).
Diversity competence does not, of itself, create equity – this requires action to eliminate barriers to full participation. However, when diversity is valued, each person will see it as their responsibility to take action for a more equitable community and world.
A person with diversity competence will appreciate the value of a diverse community – the contribution that a variety of people (with varying characteristics, ideas, cultural practices, belief systems, worldviews, identities, experiences, and demographic differences) will bring to the life of the community.
Diversity competence is necessary to the creation of an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful community.
How has your project contributed towards education for sustainability?
The program fosters the knowledge, skills and values necessary for people to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living, in particular those related to human rights, gender equality, peace, an appreciation of cultural diversity.
The program is built on key education for sustainability principles including:
- transformative learning
- student engagement & voice
- visioning for a better future
- critical & reflective thinking
- genuine community partnerships
Description of the education for sustainability initiative
The program provides a 20 hour suggested teaching sequence with detailed lesson plans. It has been developed in Tasmania to support the Respectful Schools, Respectful Relationships and Countering Bullying initiatives and links to the Australian Curriculum across a range of learning areas as well as the General Capabilities.
Key features and innovations include:
- Involvement of the whole school community, including the School Association.
- Two levels of professional development – for teachers and facilitators.
- A Student Handbook with activities, worksheets, videos, exemplars, personal inquiry questions and extension activities.
- Community involvement including a visit by the Hobart Human Library, a Diversity Expo with a range of community organisations and a session with Equal Opportunity Tasmania.
- An emphasis on student voice, transformative education principles and global perspectives.
- Key social, cultural, economic or environmental sustainability messages delivered
- The Let’s Get Together program provides an 8 step learning process (the 8 Keys to Harmony) for students to explore the underlying causes of bullying and other discriminatory behaviours and to create tangible outcomes for themselves and the school in terms of improving the school environment. Through this they experience the power of being active citizens who can make a difference.
The program taps into student issues, their need to explore their identity, their need for greater agency and thirst for greater meaning in their learning. It is designed to:
- Empower students in their own learning and help them to develop collective agency;
- Enable students to use their school environment as a social learning opportunity to explore what it means to try to make a difference;
- Enable students to work on their issues of concern while deepening their understanding of key concepts such as discrimination, identity, stereotypes, change, bystanders and conflict;
- Provide opportunities for student personal inquiry so that they become more mindful of their interactions and develop social and emotional learning competencies; and
- Provide opportunities for students to collaboratively create social actions. These actions are designed to generate conversations in the school, provide students with authentic feedback and help them to develop their skills in changing cultural “norms”.
Changes in behaviour achieved (or expected)
- Reduction in discrimination and bullying.
- Increased empathy for difference.
Outcomes and measures of success
- See short videos of student Action Days at Tasmania schools at www.afairerworld.org/lgt
- Evaluation Reports from Tasmanian schools available on request.