Closer Readings Commentary

How do you teach tolerance for cultural differences in a classroom setting?

EDSITEment lesson: In My Other Life poses the question: What would it be like to grow up in another culture? One way to explore this question is through memoirs and novels. Now, with the Internet, you can offer your students an interactive means to venture outside the borders of their own experience to try on an alternative cultural identity.

Over the weekend, I watched a 2007 film with my twin eleven year old daughters entitled, Arranged. It focused on a friendship which forms between two new teachers in a public elementary school in New York City. Both women come from traditonal religious homes - one Muslim, the other Orthodox Jewish. There is a scene in the classroom that these two teachers share where students question the possibility of them having a friendship. They respond by calling together a unity circle in the next class to help students understand how group dynamics work to accept or reject people according to their differences.

What are some other ways to you have found to teach tolerance for cultural difference in your classroom?