22 February 2018
Students in the Senior School at Pipers Corner took part in a thought-provoking and engaging day focussed on bias, beliefs and behaviours on Friday. The various year groups each participated in workshops reflecting on the difference that is around us (whether we choose to see it or not), how prone to stereotypes and bias we are, and how that affects our behaviour.
The stimulating and interactive workshops were led by Diversity Role Models (DRM), an organisation which actively seeks to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying in UK schools. Their aim is to stop bullying before it happens by educating young people about difference, challenging stereotypes and addressing the misuse of language. You can find out more about their work on their website – https://www.diversityrolemodels.org/
The groups had the opportunity to talk about things that are rarely spoken of (such as gender identity, faith and sexual orientation) and hear the stories of people, who were really open and provided an honest and fascinating look into their lives and the impact that feeling invisible or excluded can have.
Through a variety of group exercises the students explored how we can all celebrate diversity and improve our own self-awareness of our attitudes and actions towards others. The sessions provided a way for everyone to recognise how quick they can be to pass judgement on others based on looks, perception and the natural instincts of the brain.
The students were encouraged to discuss how exclusion makes us feel and what impact hurtful language can have, even if not used intentionally. From that understanding the groups thought about how, as individuals, we can challenge our own biases and be more inclusive of others, which ultimately makes a nicer environment for everyone. All of the year groups responded fantastically to the sessions, providing genuine, considered, intelligent and mature contributions.
At a Parent Workshop after school, participants were also invited to think about how to role model inclusion and help young people navigate the world around them. It was clear that parents quickly understood that this is key to making a school where everyone can thrive and grow. But not only that; being able to think differently, work with people different to you and have contextual flexibility, are also key leadership skills for the future.
The staff at Pipers have already completed a similar training day and so we are excited to see what we will now all do with these new found skills.