Supportive environments: Discrimination – under investigation

Tagged with:

  • Attitudes and values
  • Mental health
  • Relationships With Other People
  • Healthy Communities and Environments
  • Hauora
  • Health promotion
  • Socio-ecological perspective
  • Years 5–8
  • Years 9–10
  • Years 11–13

Discrimination – under investigation asks ākonga to examine the reasons why ākonga exclude other rangatahi, evaluate school rules and policies in relation to discrimination, and devise strategies to promote inclusion and support victims of discrimination.

Teenage boys playing basketball.

Understanding ourselves and getting on together — Activity collection

This resource is part of the Understanding ourselves and getting on together collection.

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Possible learning activities

Brainstorm why some ākonga do not accept or include certain tamariki and write each factor on a separate card. These factors for discrimination could include gender, age, body shape or size, sexual orientation, economic status, neurodiversity, physical abilities or disabilities, ethnicity, or religion. 

  • Divide ākonga into groups of four. One person in each group is the recorder.
  • Using figure 1 (below) as a starting point, each group member asks a question about discrimination towards school-age tamariki which is recorded on paper without comment.
  • When everyone in the group has asked one question, ākonga 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, a shared document, or a play.

Each research presentation could provide information on:

  • how discrimination affects the wellbeing of the victim
  • the values and attitudes that cause discrimination
  • what advice can 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 ākonga 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.

Cultural and diversity considerations

All ākonga are part of wider whānau, hapū, iwi, and other community groups. Culturally capable kaiako and tumuaki know, value and integrate the cultural capital of their ākonga into the work of creating positive classroom communities. Classroom programmes dealing with mental health should be sensitively developed so that they respect and reflect the diverse values and beliefs of ākonga and the whole school community.

When discussing discrimination, focus on examining why ākonga discriminate rather than identifying the ākonga who are the target of discrimination, and emphasise attitudes and actions that include all ākonga and remedy discrimination. This will ensure that it is ākonga who discriminate against others who are held accountable within the narrative.

Kaiako notes

These activities encourage ākonga to develop communication, self-management and competitive skills, and social and cooperative skills.

Add figure 1 to a shared document or draw it on a chart.

Each group of four ākonga will need one large piece of paper divided into two columns, each headed 'Questions' and 'Answers'.

In order to complete the research activity, ākonga will need access to information sources that focus on human rights and harassment such as books, videos, posters, news articles, and websites.

Focus inquiry questions around the learning outcomes before and after the activities to support ākonga to reflect and think critically about the activities.