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ERIC Number: EJ963518
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1784
Confronting Racial and Religious Tensions
Wessler, Stephen
Educational Leadership, v69 n1 p36-39 Sep 2011
When a community's demographics change quickly in terms of racial, religious, or ethnic makeup, Wessler notes, tension surfaces. Schools are the likeliest place for these kinds of tensions to openly come to a head. Schools can't always avoid conflicts among students who feel mutual prejudice and suspicion. But schools can address simmering tensions in a way that lessens the chance of violence and shows students how to get to understanding and respect. Wessler, executive director of the Center for Prevention of Hate Violence, describes how schools he's worked with used "controversial dialogues" among selected students to help break through biases and tensions and heal even highly toxic school climates. From New England to Northern Ireland, he has found that, paradoxically, bringing the kids most likely to start fights together into dialogue is a potent strategy. When schools cultivate students' leadership on issues of respect, those students will step up in a crisis and become a resource for peacemaking by influencing their peers. Wessler shares suggestions for how teachers and administrators can get students talking, provide space for students to express feelings, and foster student leadership.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)