Diversity Action Plan: promoting social inclusion, understanding, and mutual respect

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Diversity Action Plan: promoting social inclusion, understanding, and mutual respect by Mind Map: Diversity Action Plan: promoting social inclusion, understanding, and mutual respect

1. Who?

1.1. Japanese Students

1.1.1. In Japan, Japanese students are raised with awareness of English through popular culture and fashion. They learn to recognize the alphabet at a young age. In primary school, students are required to attend English classes in keeping with MEXT's standards for global education. They rarely use English outside the classroom, or in their daily lives.

1.2. Spanish Students

1.2.1. Spanish students in Japan are mostly the children of expats or students studying abroad. There is no Spanish culture present in Japanese society, and no knowledge or usage of Spanish. Students from Spain will either attend a Japanese public school if they can speak Japanese, or attend a private international school where they will most likely be taught in English, not their native language.

2. What?

2.1. An action plan will be created for the purpose of creating a safe, accepting place where both groups of students can interact without fear of intolerance or hate.

3. When?

3.1. The upcoming academic year starts in September of 2016, with three semesters between then and July 2017, the end of the academic year. There are three weeks of school left to prepare for implementation before summer vacation begins.

4. Where?

4.1. Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture, Japan. In the Rokkasho International School's preschool division, taught by Nicolas Martin.

5. Why?

5.1. In such a small class with two vastly different ethnic groups, it is imperative that those two groups reach a cultural understanding in order to function properly and politely as a whole.

6. How?

6.1. By adapting the current curriculum, which heavily features English and Spanish, to incorporate aspects of Japanese culture into both languages and create a unified concept of culture that includes all students as a single group, rather than two separate groups in a single class.

7. Action Plan

7.1. Step 1

7.1.1. Step 1: Compile data and records on current students. Use this data to prepare the classroom in a way that responds to their skill levels and cultural backgrounds. Who? The homeroom teacher compiles the data by obtaining it from administrators including the principal, the family liaison, and the official translator. The teacher also accesses records and school data from previous years to compare and contrast student levels. Why? Knowledge of the student body's ethnic makeup is important to avoid cultural misunderstandings, especially if these misunderstandings are accidentally facilitated by the teacher, in which case students may see them as sanctioned or even approved. What? This data could make up individual portfolios with information such as: Level of language spoken Language spoken in the home English-speaking or multilingual relatives Interactions with English outside the classroom, such as cram school or language classes When? This takes place before classes start, and can continue in the background during the school year as more information is recorded. Where? Outside the classroom, in the teacher's room, or through surveys and  interviews of parents. How? With recorded observations, and the permission of school supervisors who have granted access to said observations.

7.2. Step 2

7.2.1. Step 2: Secure necessary materials to alter the classroom, using images, language, and environmental print from both cultures. Provide materials to students in multiple mediums and languages to promote inclusivity. When? Before school starts, although ideally the classroom would be prepared before the students arrive. As the year progresses, alterations will be made to the classroom decor to keep things fresh and interesting without changing the makeup of demographics. Why? Showing multicultural classrooms that each demographic is represented helps avoid alienating under-represented groups. What? A variety of pictures, posters, books, games, toys, and artwork (such as coloring books) from around the world, specifically representing aspects of Spanish and Japanese culture. Who? The homeroom teacher, using advice on positive representations of each culture through conversations with parents, colleagues, and through research on the internet or through scholarly and popular culture sources. How? Using free materials and being reimbursed for purchases made on behalf of the students and the school, or by utilizing pre-existing materials provided by the curriculum in a way that emphasizes their importance to diversity and multiculturalism. Where? In the classroom, prolific and placed in visible areas of high traffic, where students will be drawn to explore them.

7.3. Step 3

7.3.1. Step 3: Introduce, review, and acknowledge aspects of each culture on a weekly basis, exploring new topics and comparing them in a positive and non-judgemental way. Give equal presence to both cultures without depriving either of appropriate definitions. Who? The homeroom teacher, during daily lessons and activities. The parents, staff, and administrators during school holiday events. Why? Students are aware of many things without understanding their history or origins. Some students may take for granted the heritage of others but the opportunity for enlightenment exists and can be cultivated. This new knowledge will give greater respect and understanding of other world cultures. Where? At the school, in the classroom, art room, music room, library, and even outdoors. When? During large group discussion periods, and times when students are required to listen and suggested to participate. In addition to class meetings, reflection time is another good time to talk about cultural differences and world culture. They would also be passive in most respects, with cultural insights worked into normal and casual conversations to imply normalcy. What? Identifying what countries holidays originated from, and discussing how different cultures celebrate these holidays, and why. Exploring the meaning behind words that are common across languages. Introducing events in one culture that another culture may lack, and explaining its significance.

7.4. Step 4

7.4.1. Step 4: Redesign curriculum-based lessons to incorporate familiar aspects of each culture. Students will be able to take comfort in recognition of their culture and can choose to examine a project from another point of view. Who? The teacher, using materials provided by the curriculum creators. The staff and administration, by adding input and interfacing with the students to assist with the explanation of complex issues outside the teacher's frame of reference, or to assist in explaining rules or monitoring and observing students. Why? The current course curriculum is a non-negotiable part of daily school life and needs to be followed, at least loosely. However, it is a loaded curriculum with room for interpretation and provides a wide variety of activities that can be expanded to incorporate culture. Students can adjust to this inclusion of cultural life into their lessons and as they grow familiar with it they should reach a state of comfort and even stasis with the concept of studying culture as though it were a normally occurring event. When? On a daily basis, throughout the school year from September to July, taking place as often as once a day, compared to passive experiences in Step 3. These  activities are structured. How/What? Taking a curriculum-designed activity such as painting and giving it context, such as 'paint something from your hometown and share it with the class' can lead to discussions of new cultural information. Music class can focus on songs from students' countries, while the topics and themes in the classroom can be expanded: a topic on recycling can be researched using Japanese and Spanish books, and look at the differences and similarities between the ways both countries recycle their waste.

7.5. Step 5

7.5.1. Step 5: Students are encouraged to produce their own ideas about culture, especially the culture of their classmates, through class activities including discussion, the arts, and group work. Using critical thinking, students come to their own conclusions about culture and how it affects them and their peers. Who? The teacher, to model activities and lead discussions. The students, to add their personal insights and help move along discussions while sharing their personal feelings and considering the feelings of others. Family members, to share, discuss, and disseminate ideas with a safe and trusted family figure. Why? It is important that the students do not simply regurgitate the teacher's thoughts and that they draw their own opinions on cultural diversity through their feelings and experiences. This helps develop critical thinking skills and express individualism. When? Significantly later into the school year, after students are aware of their own cultural background and the backgrounds of their classmates. After there has been some discussion, including comparison, of the cultures and meaningful exchange. Where? During group meetings, reflection time, and within a classroom setting. Hopefully, that cultural training would find its way into the household and the student would find support from family members. How/What? Reflection time is given greater focus in the classroom, while students are encouraged to be more creative and branch out from structured group activities in class and create their own individual compositions and other creations. These individual creations would then be evaluated by the teacher and discussed in class in a positive way.