The Global Education Cohort sponsored a workshop on Islamophobia for educators and administrators on November 1st in the Faculty of Education. Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, led teacher candidates and graduate students through a series of activities to consider how Islamophobia may be impacting our schools and classrooms.
Gardee began by looking at the term Islamophobia and some common themes and myths about Islam and Muslims to consider how Muslim children are impacted by negative public discourses about their faith. Islamophbia is defined as an irrational fear of Islam and a hatred or extreme dislike of Muslims and their faith. Many see Muslims as a monolithic group even though there is enormous religious diversity and cultural differences among them.
Participants completed a pop quiz to test their knowledge and also worked through case studies. They were provided with resources and recommendations for educators, administrators, and professors to support efforts to promote equity and inclusion and to ensure schools and classrooms remain safe environments for all. After the workshop, a number of teacher candidates stayed on to continue the discussion and exchange strategies they could apply in their own classrooms.
Educators can help by acknowledging that Muslim refugee children and Canadian Muslim students are experiencing trauma and some intense feelings of being marginalized, islolated and fearful about their future. It is also important to recognize how personal biases may contribute to how these children and families are viewed, and the role the media plays in perpetuating stereotypes. Respecting diversity in the school and fostering interactions between students, and with families, helps to foster respect. Providing spaces for Muslim students’ identities and cultures also contributes to the creation of a safe and welcoming classroom and school culture for all.
Thank you to Ihsaan Gardee for engaging this important issue with us!
Resources for educators are available below and on the NCCM website.
A GUIDE FOR EDUCATORS NCCM ED-GUIDE-ENGLISH-BOOK