By: Megan Robertson, Lucretia Arendse, and Stanley Henkeman
Date of publication: 2015
Lessons in Respect: Building Respectful Schools and Inclusive Communities through Education
Globally young people are faced with violence, abuse and discrimination and in South Africa these symptoms are often exacerbated in disadvantaged communities. Schools in South Africa have become characterised by fractured relationships between the community, parents, learners, and education professionals.
The Teaching Respect for All project began to equip educators to teach in ways which respected the diversity of students and enabled them to cope and deal with cases of discrimination, marginalisation, violence and disrespect. As educators shared their stories in workshops, facilitators discovered significant barriers: trauma experienced by top-down education reform, lack of awareness of their own prejudices and assumptions, inadequate time to build meaningful relationships and deal efficiently with cases of discrimination, lack of training and skills to deal with challenging situations effectively, a lack of awareness regarding the emotional and psychological roles educators can play, and the lack of support schools sometimes get when surrounded by communities characterised by high levels of violence, abuse and discrimination.
The recommendations in this brief aims to advise policy makers,education officials, management, SGBs, principles, educators and community leaders, on how they can breakdown these barriers and encourage climates of respect in schools and communities.