“The highest result of education is tolerance” – Helen Keller.
As we begin a new year of hope, reflection and resolution, Dubai welcomes 2019 as the year of tolerance. This forward thinking initiative aims to promote cultural and religious tolerance and the UAE has already appointed a Minister of Tolerance and launched the National Tolerance Programme. Tolerance plays a crucial role within a harmonious society and school curricula and programmes recognise the worth of promoting such values within their systems.
Children often display a wealth of tolerance and the youngest learners can be observed to be very accepting in their approach to forming new friendships. Teachers embed rules into their daily routines, which are frequently based on a set of values to help children make sense of their newly found friendships. The merit of teaching such standards early on is useful to help children understand the worth of demonstrating skills such as sharing and taking turns which in turn improve their success in building lasting and worthwhile attachments. As the children grow and develop, they embark on challenges that may test their earlier friendships. Children develop tastes and preferences, opinions and ideals and it is the task of the teacher to manage these changes whilst teaching children how to accept their differences. Indeed, to celebrate disparity amongst children can prove to be some of the most insightful lessons and it is vital that teachers embrace this issue and utilise it to teach Tolerance. When children are taught to celebrate difference, recognise diversity and accept others then we are really giving them a life skill that will enable them to face challenges without prejudice or ignorance. Demonstrating tolerance to all gives children the advantage of learning new skills, enabling them to express themselves better, become more positive and tackle problems efficiently. Teaching tolerance may not always be explicit in lessons but the foundations of it will be recognised throughout education.