The objectives of Diversity Education are:
- Enhance the social competencies of secondary and post‐secondary students in terms of diversity awareness, mindsets and skills to interact and work well with people of different ethnicities;
- Enhance the social competencies of educators and equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools to encourage appreciation of diversity, and develop mindsets and ability to engage effectively in a multi‐cultural environment among their students; and
- Develop curriculum, tools and teaching aids that educators would find useful in promoting diversity awareness and enhancing inter‐ethnic understanding among their students.
The Race & Ethnicity Awareness Programme (REAP) for students aimed to raise the capability of youths to live and work in multi-ethnic settings. The specific objectives in the following domains were:
- Explore basic concepts of race, ethnicity, stereotyping, prejudice and othering;
- Learn and appreciate a basic set of acceptable social norms in multi-ethnic interaction;
- Raise awareness of personal orientations/bias, sources of influence and personal identity; and
- Discuss basic considerations for Singapore’s approach to race, religion and ethnicity.
- Learn and practice the SAFE way to multi-ethnic interaction: Suspend Judgment; Ask and Learn; Fear the Worst; and Empathize and Respect.
- Appreciate the value of respect as a fundamental basis of diversity.
The pedagogical approach undertaken for the course was primarily rooted in experiential learning, coupled with purposeful reflection. Trainers employed activities that aimed to develop students holistically, engaging both the physical and cognitive faculties. The activities included word games, puzzles, role-plays, case studies, community walk and group projects. These activities were followed by deep and meaningful discussions to help students make sense of and synthesize their experiences and learning; forming a scaffold of experiences and learning that enable students to gradually explore their understanding of race and ethnicity in Singapore.
The course then culminated in the students taking stock of what they had learnt and discovered through the course, and then formulating their own actions plans to help them appreciate the differences between social groups and function more effectively during multi-cultural engagements.
The REAP for educators aimed to provide opportunities for teachers to:
- Gain knowledge and language to discuss race and ethnicity in an open and honest manner with their students;
- Explore experiential strategies to help students share and learn about race, ethnicity and diversity;
- Learn how to use the SAFE approach to multi-ethnic engagement; and
- Explore personal bias, stereotypes and orientations.
Similar to the student course, experiential learning was the core pedagogical approach adopted. Discussions were held after the activities to further explore issues raised to deepen understanding and formulate possible strategies for student engagement. As the content for the educator course encompassed theoretical approaches and facilitation strategies apart from teaching tools, participants were also given opportunities to facilitate discussions, an avenue for them to put theory into practice.
The course concluded with a critique of the activities that they were engaged in during the course and a sharing of how they would proceed to plan and conduct similar activities for their students back in school. The teachers were required to submit their lesson plans for either planned or completed sessions with their students within a month from the date of completion of the course to qualify for a 50% course fee subsidy from OPSG.