PREADOLESCENT AND DISCRIMINATION: HOW TO OVERCOME IT
Multiple and different are the responsibilities to which the school is called to fulfill; among these the primary one is undoubtedly modeled according to the needs of children and to do this must build an environment in which each child can feel welcomed, respected, put in the conditions to be able to express their needs and requirements, as well as the own potential and ideas.
All the actors of the educational institution must promote the well-being and integration of the pupils by implementing strategies aimed at overcoming any form of discrimination, whether related to race, religion, gender or disability.
It is also the UN’s belief that discrimination influences evolution by triggering a spiral of economic and social marginalization that profoundly undermines children’s ability to develop fully. It is known that an act of discrimination can have an immediate but also medium-long term effect, generating wide repercussions in the life of the people involved, for this reason it is necessary when they occur to act immediately and decisively, perhaps at several levels (pupil , class group, institution, parents).
Each educational agency, the school first and foremost, must take on the task of overcoming discrimination in all its features. It is a question of building a training path that is advantageous and usable by everyone that allows the social and intellectual growth of anyone based on their potential; everyone must have the opportunity to grow in the best possible way. To do this it is necessary that the school pushes towards participation against discrimination (activities aimed at safeguarding diversity of gender, ethnicity, disability); to foster an understanding of the problems associated with belonging to a social minority; promote empathy towards those who are different and ultimately help fight discrimination towards others.
The issues to be addressed are related to diversity, disability, gender differences, beliefs and the tools to transmit the information and the message that you want to pass on must be within the reach of children and easy to understand. Examine together with them similarities and differences between people and also focus on the issue of exclusion by evaluating the emotions and feelings of those who are put aside.
Bringing students to reason by putting themselves in the shoes of those who are excluded or hit because different allows them to understand what emotions they can feel if they are considered different and to be able to determine whether or not certain discriminatory behaviors can be implemented.
Raising awareness of the needs of disabled people with the problems related to them represents another important topic because it helps them understand how the handicap could affect a person’s life, it also helps them reflect on how they would feel if they were affected by a disability.
Even focusing on gender stereotypes can favor the reasoning in early adolescents that the characteristics of their sex and the opposite are compatible and complementary and must not generate discrimination.
Finally, a reflection can also be started with respect to religious beliefs by first informing them of the presence of different religions and asking them which religions they know and if they are aware of how they express themselves in the lives of individuals through their ways of doing, through their behaviors, through their habits.
The reflections that arise from these moments are important for the growth of children for their future as adults. The basic objective is to sensitize the children on the meaning of diversity and the difficulties associated with it, to know and understand the discomforts and problems that can be encountered when the ability and willingness to confront each other is lacking.
Putting yourself in the shoes of others helps to develop awareness of the perceptions and feelings of those who are discriminated against and helps to grow by developing a real and strong empathic ability.