HOT TOPIC: Celebrating diversity throughout the holiday season

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Can we make Christmas trees in art class? Should the school play be a nativity scene? Is it okay to do a Secret Santa among staff members? These questions and many others are commonplace now as classrooms around the world become much more diverse.

In this Teachers Media International video, a group of teachers debate whether the standard nativity play is still appropriate in a school that is making a concerted effort to become more inclusive.

Interesting perspectives. But this is just one example of a much more complicated issue.

Besides Christmas, many different events—spiritual, religious, and tradition-based—are celebrated in different ways during these times; Ramadan, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa, and Pancha Ganapati, to name a few. It isn’t feasible to plan for each of these diverse holidays, but there are ways you can celebrate diversity and inclusiveness by using this time of year to build understanding and awareness of others.

  1. Learn about other religious or holiday celebrations. Consider creating a calendar that notes each of them, and where possible, plan small activities, such as a craft or writing prompt, that helps to acknowledge these special days.
  2. Encourage students to share their celebrations with the class through stories, songs, decorations, or foods.
  3. Plan each activity after answering the following question: what is our educational purpose?
  4. Hold classroom discussions that explore why some people celebrate differently, at different times, and in different ways. These discussions should also be held at the staff level.

What tips for inclusivity would you offer? How does your school handle the December holiday dilemma? Share in the comments!

Have a great weekend!

~ The Teachers Media Team

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