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Social equity for academic success: Combating discrimination through education

social equity Dec 13, 2022

The world has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Technology has advanced tremendously, enabling people to do things our ancestors did not even dream about.

We can now travel the world and visit new places or move to a distinct country. You can study in a foreign country and even find a job in a foreign company. This means that the diversity of every country is enriched day by day. People are traveling and moving in an era where mobility is at its maximum.

Diversity is at its highest, especially in colleges, universities, and schools. But unfortunately, discrimination and racism hit higher levels every day. Those who are discriminated against suffer severe psychological consequences and do not have access to the same resources as others.

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So, how to address discrimination at school? How can we combat discrimination in education today? Here are a few ideas.

Challenging Students’ Beliefs

We each have our deeply ingrained belief system. It is usually formed and enriched by the environment we grew up in, societal norms, and the country we live in. In a school setting, where students might come from distinct countries and environments, we can easily see signs of discrimination and racism manifesting through hate speech. This is a social issue that is still very present in our societies and that we must address.

Educators and teachers are the ones who can educate students and address all these behaviors and beliefs through education. Challenging the beliefs students already have is one of the ways to do this. Assigning essays where they should identify their core beliefs or look at discrimination in schools today could be one of the ways to do this.

If you are looking for discrimination essay examples, you can find many essay samples that could inspire you to suggest some topics to your students. They must be encouraged to see people behind their skin color, religion, or country of provenance.

Leading By Example (for social equity)

Through education, you can create social equity for academic success. Those students who are discriminated against and subject to hate speech suffer severe psychological consequences, affecting their academic performance. We all have our belief system that guides our behaviors, and you, as an educator, surely have yours.

It is crucial to identify your own beliefs so that you become aware of them and can combat them. As you are a model for your students, everything you do and say will stay with them. So, the change in the educational system starts with you. Combating discrimination through education starts with challenging your beliefs and changing them so that prejudice and stereotypes have no more room in your life.

Discussing and Addressing Stereotypes that hinder social equity

Tackling discrimination in a school setting might sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when there are many international students. They can be discriminated against for many reasons, such as language, religion, sexual orientation, social origin, or disability.

But schools should be a place, an environment where everyone feels safe, secure, and accepted. A place where everyone should have equal opportunities to learn and where their academic success is encouraged.

But stereotypes and prejudices are present in every environment, and as an educator, you can do something to combat and address them. Whenever you hear stereotypes, it would be helpful to spark open discussions with the students.

Understanding where they come from will help you know how to address them. Students should understand each other, and the school should have a fair policy that treats all students equally. These open discussions can shed more light on the current system of beliefs but also on the effects discriminated students feel.

Meetings With Parents and how to make social equity a focus

Discrimination is a violation of human rights, as all children should have access to the same opportunities.

However, we have easily noticed stereotypes and prejudices in every environment, including the school context. And negative effects on mental health can be seen, as students have low self-esteem, do not trust themselves, and do not want to spend time in school or with colleagues. Many of these stereotypes and prejudices are formed by society, but many more are formed in the familial setting.

So, as an educator who notices that students have strong negative beliefs about other students based on race, skin color, sexual orientation, and so on, you could spark discussions with parents too. Even though students might be aware of these as you encourage open discussions about stereotypes at school, they hear the same narrative when they go home. So, changing these strong negative discriminatory beliefs can be done with the support of parents and family.

Even though this might feel and indeed be more challenging, as parents might be less open than students to distinct perspectives, being aware of discrimination's consequences can help them better understand social equity within schools. You can mediate discussions between parents whose children are discriminated against.

Even though many think that vulnerability equals weakness, showing the effects of discrimination and what these students go through will help them understand the negative dangers of discrimination.

Highlighting the Benefits of Diversity and social equity in Schools

Combating discrimination might feel more challenging now, as social media and the internet manipulate people. You get posts in your feed based on your beliefs, so you only get those that support and confirm what you already think about.

However, the modern world has made traveling and moving to other countries possible, so we can see diversity in schools too. This is not bad, as it can help students learn more about distinct perspectives and ways of living life.

As an educator, you can promote and highlight the benefits of diversity in school. Adopting an inclusive attitude and promoting it within the school can help students feel safe, secure, and accepted. But how can you do this? Well, you could use inclusive language and not judgmental one. You can promote students’ voices and encourage them to speak their minds.

And why not support them in making internal campaigns that promote diversity and inclusion within the school? At the same time, you can encourage students to take part in peer education, as students might be open to new ideas if their peers promote them. You can also organize peer mediation activities, where students openly discuss social equity and how discrimination prevents it.

Partnerships With Organizations

Combating discrimination through education is possible. You only need to create the right context for this, as learning can take many forms. One of the ways to do this is to partner with other organizations around the city and do activities together. These organizations, who are already fighting discrimination at a larger scale, have a lot of resources ready.

But they also know how to tackle even the most challenging topics and answer provocative answers.

And they can open the eyes of students to what discrimination looks like, on its negative effects on people. They can ask thought-provoking questions, encourage students to think about their behaviors and belief systems, and even organize games or activities.

They can facilitate meetings with people from the community who are actively fighting discrimination, but also with individuals that are constantly subject to discrimination.

Storytelling has always had the power to change people’s minds, and partnering with these organizations helps you combat discrimination within schools. Creating opportunities for students and the school staff to meet with these groups triggers change.

Even though changing beliefs takes time, actively fighting for change is what educators should do. As all students should have access to the same opportunities, social equity for academic success should be a must in every college.

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Conclusion for social equity for academic success

Discrimination and racism are still very present in our society. And unfortunately, they are present in school settings too. However, combating discrimination is possible through education as its consequences are severe for students subject to hate speech.

Anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem easily affect these students' academic performance and success, who might even start feeling unsafe in the educational setting.

Sparking open discussions about stereotypes and challenging students' beliefs are some ways discrimination and racism can be combatted through education. Leading by example and addressing your own beliefs are equally essential so that you adopt an inclusive attitude toward all students.

Bio lines: John Marlow is a content writer and blogger. He usually writes on hot topics such as politics, society, and stereotypes. John loves reading, jogging, and traveling.


Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Strategist

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