ERIC Number: EJ823272
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: 0
"We Don't Use that Language Anymore"
Teaching Tolerance, n23 p32-37 Spr 2003
Most students who engage in name-calling or tell demeaning jokes don't have deeply thought-out and deep-seated bias towards particular groups. Often, they're just picking up on the messages they hear repeated again and again in the schools. When peers challenge the language, it not only cuts down on the degrading messages themselves, but it also sparks classmates to challenge perceptions and stereotypes. This article describes a program of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence at the University of Southern Maine which helps Maine students confront the culture of verbal abuse. The program works by disrupting the pattern of thoughtless, habitual name-calling prevalent in many schools. In teaching students about the harm caused by careless words, the Center appeals to their natural sense of decency. The training empowers students to put "doing right" over peer pressure when it comes to daily interactions. The program uses lectures, scenarios and small-group discussion to explore the problem and help students think of alternatives to the silence that conveys approval.
Descriptors: Social Bias, Group Discussion, Peer Influence, Prevention, Social Attitudes, Social Justice, Stereotypes, Consciousness Raising, College Students, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Social Change, Language Usage
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site: http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A