Resources to promote intercultural awareness in the K-6 classroom
As Canada’s classrooms and society become more and more culturally diverse, increasing our awareness and appreciation for how all Canadians can live and grow peacefully within our society becomes increasingly important. Education plays a key role in helping young people understand our world, and in curbing societal phobias and stereotypes.
Dr. Rahat Zaidi’s book Anti-Islamophobic Curriculums and the accompanying website Living Together: Muslims in a Changing World were designed to promote diversity education, with a specific focus on Muslim culture. The resources provide a framework and materials for teachers to facilitate discussions to foster critical engagement. Particularly for teachers working in diverse settings, these works can provide a helpful pathway to incorporating activities that address Islamophobia in meaningful ways.
The book provides teachers with insights into multiculturalism, the current context of Islamophobia, and the potential for well-designed curricula to disrupt Islamophobia. Accompanying this thought piece, the website provides lesson plans and materials designed for students in grades 1-6. The site has free access to age-appropriate lessons related to Muslim life, traditions, and cultural contributions, and the teacher’s guide highlights curriculum connections, resources suggestions, and prompts for fostering conversation.
By aligning the resources with the current Alberta social studies curricula, teachers are better able to integrate the resources and incorporate aspects of Muslim culture into the classroom, connected to concepts already present in the program of studies. By exposing students to the facets and realities of Muslim identity in today’s world, as well as highlighting the diversity of Muslim practices, this approach can help students to understand and respect diversity and religious identities.
Building awareness, curiosity, and multicultural attitudes from a young age can help set the foundation for intercultural understanding. Shifting attitudes and practices is essential to combating phobic reactions and stereotypes that exist in our communities, and the growing concern of Islamophobia at home and around the world. Helping teachers to foster inclusion and understanding of cultural diversity is necessary in enacting a culturally responsive approach to education.
Find teaching resources and ideas on Living Together: Muslims in a Changing World
See more from Dr. Rahat Zaidi on her profile
Zaidi, R. (2017). Anti-Islamophobic Curriculums. New York: Peter Lang.