Respect disability and diversity in schools

In today’s world, acknowledging and accepting diversity is integral in education and beyond. To celebrate and cultivate harmony and respect for all people, educators must promote integration and equality within the classroom. 

Despite the fact that we are all different, we are also remarkably similar at the same time. Remembering this is necessary while applying a diversity-focused curriculum in schools.  

How to teach empathy in school?

Empathy is the ability to notice, understand, and respond to the emotions of others. It is an essential social skill for all of us to possess. It’s the foundation for all other social skills. It helps us comprehend each other’s viewpoints, understand one another’s emotions, communicate effectively, show compassion, make healthy social decisions, and ultimately build lasting relationships.

Ways to teach empathy in school:

1. Use stories

Short stories and novels allow learners to explore characters’ emotional states and motives. You might ask: What might they be thinking? Imagine yourself in their situations. What would you feel like? 

2. Teach others’ perspective

Whenever possible, put students in situations where they must think about how they might feel. Then, allow them to think about how someone else might feel. This is an important component of empathy since our feelings might not be exactly like those of others.

3. Teach social cues

Students who struggle with practising empathy skills, benefit greatly from learning about facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. These cues can help them recognize others’ thoughts and feelings.

Teach how to respect disability in school

A person’s disability is not something to be pitied or feel inspired from. It is one part of their identity like many others. Disability is not a bad word. 

Education on respecting disability awareness means learning how we as individuals can bring about necessary changes in ourselves and society so that together, we can combat stigma, misconceptions, and exclusion. 

1. Support Individuality

Encourage children not only to value themselves but other people as well, reminding them that a person’s personality, quirks, beliefs, and interests are unique and nobody else can duplicate them.

2. Reach Out to Others

Encourage children to reach out to one another. Tell them to make their classmates feel valued, to call the new kid in class, or to get to know the mostly alone classmates.

3. Learn to be an advocate

Peer pressure is strong. But so is standing up for others. Research shows that when people take action against bullying, it stops. Encourage children to take action if they notice another child being excluded.

Several approaches can be used to do this. For instance, they can tell others that excluding someone is not nice. Or they can try to befriend the excluded student. 

In todays time, we have been embracing National Disability Day. This is to express that we respect disability and we treat them as equal. A disable person is entitled for the same respect and opportunities as others. The National Disability Day is celebrated on 3rd Dec. This year 3rd December 2023 theme is ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with and by persons with disabilities.’

How to teach diversity in school?

Students come from a range of cultures, traditions, and languages. When students learn about themselves and the world around them, they will be better able to understand what is common to all of us –i.e. our shared needs and feelings — as well as what makes us unique, such as culture, language, and skin colour, foods and special cultural practices.

1. Provide resources to broaden understanding

It is a good idea to develop your own cultural knowledge and share it with students as a method of educating them on the importance of cultural diversity. When students see their own culture or the culture of their peers represented in the classroom, they develop a deeper understanding of diversity.

2. Observe holidays from around the world

You can use holiday celebrations to teach your students about different cultures, values, and beliefs. As a class, you might also celebrate the seasons and learn about different holiday traditions from around the country and the world that are celebrated during those months.

3. Let each student explore their own cultural traditions

Students can learn about the stories and traditions of different cultures, including their own.

It’s important for teachers to let students know that they are valued, as they are. It’s key for students to learn to value people based on their character, not their appearance or abilities, and learn that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. These differences do not diminish their value as people.

Finally, teachers can encourage positive student behaviours, nurture a sense of belonging for all students and their families, and instil respect for all people in the classroom to help combat prejudice as well as make them understand the importance of empathy and diversity at an early age. With this perspective,  we’ve developed an educator’s kit to enable life skills of respect for diversity and inclusion. A great tool to begin building a world where being different is OK and nobody is odd-one-out!  

Explore the Kit 


About Ginny’s Planet:

Ginny’s Planet is a social enterprise Co-founded by Dr. Shweta Verma in 2019. The brand runs on the core value of helping our teachers and parents to teach their children to become independent, smart and better leaders by equipping them with a deep understanding of empathy, diversity, disability and inclusion. Dr. Shweta and the team design events, workshops and products to help guardians & schools to develop kids’ mindset and evolve as adaptive and flexible human beings. They work with schools to organise workshops for children and teachers.