• Background Image

    The Southern Poverty Law Center – Teaching Tolerance

    October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center – Teaching Tolerance

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry. Founded in 1971, SPLC is known for investigating and exposing hate group activities throughout the world. They focus on widespread issues of social injustice including children at risk, hate and extremism, immigrant justice, and LGBT rights. But they go a step beyond fighting hate and seeking justice for the vulnerable. The SPLC conducts one of the nation’s leading programs for teaching tolerance.

teaching_toleranceTheir ground-breaking Teaching Tolerance program is dedicated to cultivating inclusive, nurturing school environments where “equality and justice are not just taught, but lived.” They produce and distribute documentary films, books, lesson plans and other materials that promote tolerance – free of charge. The Teaching Tolerance program reaches hundreds of thousands of educators and millions of students – empowering “a new generation to live in a diverse world.”

Teaching Tolerance magazine coverThe SPLC Teaching Tolerance program has a number of powerful tools in their arsenal. Their award-winning Teaching Tolerance magazine provides educators across the country with a forum to learn about and exchange ideas on teaching for about diversity. The Teaching Diverse Students Initiative is an online project focused on improving instruction for racially and ethnically diverse students. SPLC has even developed a special program designed to empower students themselves to take the lead in promoting tolerance and understanding. Called Mix It Up at Lunch Day, this national program has a simple premise: students are encouraged to sit with someone new in the cafeteria for just one day – “a small step that can go a long way toward breaking down social and racial barriers.”

Imagine what might happen if everyone took just one day out of our busy lives to “mix it up” – to sit next to someone we don’t know on the bus, or strike up a conversation with a new colleague in the lunchroom, or turn around in the grocery line and introduce ourselves to a stranger. We can all learn a lot from this remarkable Teaching Tolerance program. Perhaps we can take a page from Eleanor Roosevelt’s United Nations address back in 1953:

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.”


1 Comment
  • ken hargesheimer, October 9, 2012 Reply

    While reading The Quality School Teacher again [fall, 06], I realized the teachings of Dr. Glasser* should be the standard in every school. [1995 I read two of his books.] I then read: Quality School, Schools Without Failure, Reality Therapy, Unhappy Teenager and Every Student Can Succeed,. "Problems in school can be solved with one rule: THE GOLDEN RULE:* Treat others [includes students] as you want others to treat you. All the students in all my classes complete all the class work. Student with nothing to do guarantees misbehavior. I figure out something for them to do. I never have misbehavior or discipline problems in my classroom.

    Children are born wanting to learn. They have five basic needs: love/belonging, freedom, power, fun, survival.*
    "Children must be allowed 'to think, to work, to love and to play' to succeed in school, in social settings and in challenging situations. Parents/teachers must resist the pressure to control." Dr. Paul Donohue “People show and receive love in five basic ways: through touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, by spending quality time together and through the giving and receiving of gifts” [G. Chapmen]. Example: Jaime Escalante See below. Satisfy one or more of these and students willingly learn. When these are denied, they resist. They should not be slaves or prisoners. "Only schools pin 'failure' on a child."* There are two ways to teach:
    1. Boss-teacher/principal:* They are obsessed with domination and control of students [PTAVE]. Seven Deadly Habits: 1) Criticizing 2) Blaming 3) Complaining 4) Nagging 5) Threatening 6) Punishing 7) Bribing or rewarding to control. "Some teachers are mean to us." In one school, a teacher was called "Mrs. Bulldog" by students. One called her that to her face and she started crying. He was sent to AEP. Other: "She is mean. "Other "She is a Bi---."
    a. Does not respect/love students; therefore, students have no respect/love for them
    b. Assumes students will misbehave.
    c. Continuous discipline problems.
    d. Continuously sending students to the office. "Of the students sent to the office, a few teachers send most of them." [Assistant Principal & an ISS teacher]
    e. Extremely critical of lead-teachers. Some refuse to allow lead-substitute teachers to sub for them.
    2. Lead-teacher/principal:* Seven Caring Habits are: 1) Supporting 2) Encouraging 3) Listening
    4) Accepting 5) Trusting 6) Respecting 7) Negotiating differences

    a. Never threatens or punishes; Says when there is a problem we will work it out.
    b. Will be told that her/his discipline is lax.
    c. Very unpopular with boss-teachers.
    d. Will be criticized for caring too much. "Touch is our most intimate form of communication." GH Colt, RD, Nov 07 "From birth, children must have nurturing: affection, touching, cuddling, hugs and kisses. Parents, grandparents and teachers must do this. Most children are desperate for attention and affection - "primary reason for teen sexual activity" Columbian exchange student. "21 Tricks for Taming Adolescents: #17: Hold them every day." Pittman, Psy Today, 95.
    e. No misbehavior/discipline problems. Students respect them, consider them "cool" and write them love notes.

    1. Thinking has been eased from education.*
    2. Inability to plan/make decisions from non-thinking education.*
    3. Teachers must deal with thinking students.*
    4. Students who feel good, solve problems, involved
    with teachers, do not misbehave in school.*
    5. It is better to build children than to repair adults.
    6. "We are desperate for 'clear thinking'." President, Dartmouth College, 2010
    *Dr. Glasser, wglasser.com

    [1]. Highly intelligent kids, includes dyslexics, are bored in class, misbehave; no punishment. Kids are not "miniature adults". The decision-making area of the brain is not fully developed until the early twenties. 16 year olds have 3 times more wrecks than 17 year olds and 5 times more than 18 year olds. ADD/ADHD students should listen to music while working; prevents distractions. Standard practice in elementary schools and should be in middle & high schools.
    [2]. Students know in seconds whether a teacher respects/loves them. If true, they respond with respect and love.
    [3]. A major cause of misbehavior is broken homes: kids are victims. They build a defense system to cope; do not punish them. doesgodexist.org/MayJun08. Their misbehavior is a cry for help.
    [4]. Classroom problems are the result of boss-teaching; when the teacher changes, students change. stopbullyingnow.com/teachers%20who%20bully%20students%20McEvoy.pdf.
    [5]. How can students learn decision-making and responsibility when they are totally controlled? Since 2001 [NCLB] schools have become factories for "rote learning". We want "thinking" students. They make mistakes with us to help them up. "I grew up on a farm where we were allowed to climb trees, fall out and get hurt." Tim Tebow. No ISS/AEP.
    [6]. "Schools That Work": G H Wood [a] Classrooms are seldom quiet! [b] Fratney School: not once did I hear a teacher blame a child for not learning. [c] "A Teacher Quality Manifesto" WSJ 22 Sept 10 Schools with few rules and that allow student freedom are very successful.
    [7]. Jaime Escalante was a model teacher but few teachers have adopted his methods. "Escalante Stood and Delivered; It's Our Turn" WSJ, 2 Ap 10.
    [8]. Schools are not educating students for the real world—major complaint of school dropouts. Courses are taught as if students are going for a PhD in that subject. Schools should teach 3Rs, art, music, vocational, advance.
    [9]. Shocking: Of students starting college, only 70% return for 2nd year; only 50% graduate within five years; only 36% take a job requiring a degree. [ACT & NCES] Universities have lowered their standards to accommodate incoming HS graduates.
    [10]. Government and NCLB destroyed the best educational system in the world. Looked at what we accomplished with 150? years of public education! That is why private schools, church schools and homeschooling [300,000+ in TX, 10% of the students in OK] are growing fast.
    [11]. Governments pass laws “to improve” schools and then pass a law [charter schools] allowing schools to waiver those laws?

    educationrevolution.org/store/product/one-size-does-not-fit-all-a-students-assessment-of-school 17 yr. old author

    Ken Hargesheimer, minifarms@gmail.com

    Workshops: USA - TX, MS, FL, CA, AR, NM, WA; México, Rep. Dominicana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi,
    Mozambique, Haití, England, Nicaragua, India, Uzbekistan, South Africa [2011], Indonesia [2012]. English or Spanish

    I was substituting for four days in a computer lab.

    Tuesday, Chris was absent but on Wednesday he came into the room and sat down at a computer and started studying. No earphones were allowed and he put them on. I took them away. He played a lot. I talked to him but was getting nowhere. Here is a boy who has never been a discipline problem. He is an 8th grader and I had him in class since 6th grade. Wonderful little boy. Wednesday, more misbehavior.

    Thursday was worst behavior. First period he came into my room to use the computer for ROTC. Misbehaved some with the teacher. When he came to computer lab it just got worst. He put on earphones and I told him to take them off. He put them on again. I took them off and I talked to him but he would not communicate with me. I was getting no where. I went to my desk and wrote him up to turn in to the assistant principal. He put the headphones on again.

    I went to the counselor and talked to her and told her I was going to leave the problem with her and his teacher and they could decide what to do. I had the write-up slip in my pocket but it dropped out. I got to my room and could not find it. The assistant principal had found it. She said he should not be disrespectful and misbehave. I said that I had talked to him. She wanted to know if he apologized and I said no but I was going to talk to him again. She gave the write-up slip back to me.

    Thursday, during Channel One, he came in my room to visit with a girl. As he was leaving, I met him at the door and told him I wanted to talk to him. He started down the hall away from me. I took hold of his jacket and said I want to talk to you. He went behind my open classroom door and the wall so I blocked his exit. I said I want to talk to you about your behavior and moved away so he could leave. He stepped out from behind the door and did not leave. All of a sudden, his demeanor changed. He said that there are problems at home. I asked what problems. He said his cousin had died. I asked when was he buried. Tuesday. I said ok, now I understand your problem and why you have been misbehaving.

    Friday, his behavior was back to his usual self. I told him that I destroyed the write-up slip.
    I gave a copy of this to the assistant principal, counselor and teacher. Dr. Glasser is 100% correct. Lead teachers find the reason[s] for the misbehavior. Ken Hargesheimer, 2006-2007

Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.