Teaching tolerance in Dubai’s schools

Celebrating the 'Year of Tolerance' and bringing together teachers to learn more about innovative teaching practices, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, KHDA, hosted its latest What Works event on Monday.

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of KHDA, said, "Tolerance means different things to different people but at its heart, it means all people are able to live together in peace and harmony. Every child in this world is born tolerant. So let’s not focus on teaching our students tolerance. Let’s focus instead on learning tolerance from our students. Let’s focus on becoming more tolerant ourselves, on reminding ourselves that no matter how many years of experience we have, we can always do more to spread the virtues of tolerance, peace and harmony."

Over 200 teachers came together at the What Works event which brings together different to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Speaking at the event, Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of Emirates Literature Foundation and Member of Supreme National Committee for Tolerance, said, "Tolerance is not just a word, it is something that everyone is embracing. Today, the education community is coming together at the What Works platform to celebrate this key theme. The embodiment of tolerance is very much in our hearts and in us as human beings. We want educators to take back this message to include everyone and ensure we treat everyone with utmost respect."

Abdulla Matar, Co-Founder of Meet The Locals who addressed the plenary session, said, "Teachers are the foundation of our lives and they bring compassion – leading us to accept differences and be more tolerant. Our idea is to simply connect people and bring them together to share their positive values and push for safe spaces to have conversations. Living peacefully even with different beliefs is important and it’s only by talking to each other that we will accept these differences and spread tolerance and peace."

Gilda Scarfe, CEO and Founder of Positive Action UK and Global Ambassador for the International Positive Education Network, IPEN, noted, "Being tolerant is being kind to people’s values and emotions – especially when you are far away from home. It’s all about understanding a different perspective. When we work with schools, we’ve noticed that implementing the principles of positive psychology helps us to teach young people to enjoy what they have. It’s important to be grateful and be in the moment."

Some of the sessions hosted at the What Works Tolerance event included how effective Moral Education impacts on character education, teaching tolerance through Islamic studies, measuring tolerance levels using a digital app developed by the school among others.

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