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Supportive environments: discrimination – under investigation

Possible Learning Activities

  • Brainstorm why some students may find it difficult to be accepted or to make friends with others. Write each factor on a separate card. These factors could include gender, age, body shape or size, sexual preferences, economic status, intellectual ability or disability, physical abilities or disabilities, ethnicity, or religion.
  • Students can form groups of four. One person in each group is the recorder.
  • Using Figure 1 (displayed on an OHP) as a trigger, each group member asks a question about discrimination towards school-age students, which is recorded on paper without comment.
  • When everyone in the group has asked one question, students continue to take turns to either ask another question or to answer a previous question. Record all the questions and their answers, noting that one question may have several answers. 
  • Allow time for several rounds to record as many questions and answers as possible.
  • Record each group’s questions and their answers (with appropriate editing to avoid duplication). 
  • Each group now takes a factor card at random to research an area of discrimination for young people. They will present their investigation to the class in the form of, for example, a poster, a video documentary, a seminar, or a play.

Each research presentation could provide information on:

  • how discrimination influences the well-being of the victim
  • the values and attitudes that cause discrimination
    • what advice could be given to people who discriminate against others
    • the rights of victims and the responsibilities of bystanders in instances of discrimination
    • ways to support victims of discrimination
    • any school policies or programmes, for example, peer mediation and legislation designed to protect against discrimination
    • where students who consider they have been victims of discrimination can go within the school and the wider community to seek help.

Groups can now use their research presentation to promote non­-discrimination in the wider school environment through displays or presentations, at assembly, or to another class.

Figure 1

Suggested learning outcomes

Students will:

  • examine the factors that make it difficult for some students to be accepted or to make friends and how this influences their well-being (5D1)
  • demonstrate an understanding of their responsibilities in relationships (6C2)
  • identify support available in cases of discrimination (5D2)
  • publicise information about discrimination to others in the school (5D4).

Socio-ecological Perspective

Examining the social factors, attitudes, and values that lead to discrimination and recognising the need for mutual care and shared responsibility within the school environment.

Health Promotion

Identifying supportive agencies, policies, and practices and educating others to create a supportive classroom and school environment.

Attitudes and Values

Displaying care and concern, respect for the rights of others, and social justice for all.

Teachers' Notes

  • These activities encourage students to develop communication, self-management and competitive skills, and social and co operative skills.
  • Draw Figure 1 on an overhead projector transparency or on a chart.
  • Each group of four students will need one large piece of paper divided into two columns, each headed “Questions” and “Answers”.
  • In order to complete the research activity, students will need access to information sources, such as books, videos, posters, news articles, and websites, that have a focus on human rights and harassment.

Supportive Environments: Bill of Rights

Possible Learning Activities

  • Students could prepare a “Bill of Rights” on their rights and responsibilities. Refer to Taking Action: Life Skills in Health Education, page 189.
  • Students can prepare a list of people they could access if their rights were abused, for example, a counsellor, designated contact people, a school mediator, the Youth Law Project, and the Human Rights Commission. They add this list to the bottom of their Bill of Rights and display it on the wall.

Teachers’ Note

Teachers will need a copy of Taking Action: Life Skills in Health Education.

Suggested learning outcomes

Students will:

  • respect the rights of others in relationships (5C1)
  • demonstrate an understanding of their responsibilities in relationships (6C2)
  • identify ways to access appropriate people and agencies to obtain help with relationship difficulties (5D2).

Health Promotion

Recognise the rights and responsibilities of self and others.


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