The Gift of Teaching Tolerance

Posted on March 18, 2010

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Psssst. . . .over here.  Want some free DVDs?  Lesson plans? Magazine subscription?  Then check out teachingtolerance.org, the website project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Here’s there “about us” page:

    Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance is        dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.

We provide free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. and abroad. Our self-titled magazine is sent to 400,000 educators twice annually, and tens of thousands of educators use our free curricular kits. More than 10,000 schools participate in our annual Mix It Up at Lunch Day program.

Our teaching materials have won two Oscars, an Emmy and more than 20 honors from the Association of Educational Publishers, including two Golden Lamp Awards, the industry’s highest honor. Scientific surveys demonstrate that our programs help students learn respect for differences and bolster teacher practice.

“Tolerance” is surely an imperfect term, yet the English language offers no single word that embraces the broad range of skills we need to live together peacefully.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the Greek term “agape” to describe a universal love that “discovers the neighbor in every man it meets.” The various disciplines concerned with human behavior have also offered a variety of adjectives: “pro-social,” “democratic,” “affiliative.”

In its Declaration on the Principles of Tolerance, UNESCO offers a definition of tolerance that most closely matches our philosophical use of the word:

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference.We view tolerance as a way of thinking and feeling — but most importantly, of acting — that gives us peace in our individuality, respect for those unlike us, the wisdom to discern humane values and the courage to act upon them.

The generosity of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s supporters makes our work possible.

Teaching Tolerance
A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 956-8200

What a great site, and what a terrific organization.  I’ve received at least a dozen free dvds/videocassettes from them that the teachers love and use very frequently.  I’ve also received free posters, and a free magazine subscription with great lesson plan ideas and book review.  

Kudos to the Southern Poverty Law Center and their generous donors for making all of this available to educators.  Check it out, and let me know what you think in the comments section.

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Posted in: Lesson Plans