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December 1, 2023

Addressing Islamophobia in the Classroom

Addressing Islamophobia in the classroom is essential to ensuring that all students feel welcome. These resources can help.

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Addressing Islamophobia in the classroom is essential to ensuring that all students feel welcome. Schools should be a safe place where all students feel valued, included and supported; in addition to physical safety schools should also encompass emotional and psychological well-being.

Educators can take action in their classrooms to combat and prevent Islamophobia by allowing space for open dialogue and discussion, creating anti-bullying programs that address religious-based bullying, and by incorporating diverse curricula in their teaching that fosters understanding of different religions and cultures and includes representation of individuals of the Muslim faith.

By incorporating these strategies, educators can actively contribute to dismantling stereotypes, fostering a culture of understanding, and creating a learning environment that promotes inclusivity and tolerance.

To support educators in their work to address Islamophobia, the Share My Lesson team has curated the following list of resources:

students discussing

Fostering Civil Discourse: How Do We Talk About Issues That Matter?

This guide from Facing History and Ourselves is designed to help educators prepare their students to have meaningful conversations about issues that matter, and can serve as a helpful resource as a prelude to addressing Islamophobia.

Access this resource here.
girl with flag

Teach Human Rights: Islamophobia in the United States

Muslim students throughout the U.S. have been forced to deal with the effects of hateful anti-Islamic rhetoric. As teachers, it is important to combat discriminatory ideologies in the classroom. This lesson from Defenders of Human Rights and Democracy in Your Community is designed to provide your students with an understanding about Muslims in the U.S. to dispel misconceptions and foster understanding of the Islam faith so that the classroom is an inclusive and welcoming space for all.

Access this resource here.
teacher talking

Recognizing Bias Amid Hamas’ War on Israel

When violence is in the news, it’s important to watch out for biases that are present in and activated by news coverage and commentary. This ADL resource provides guidance on how to recognize bias and steps that teachers and students can take to interrupt biased language.

Access this resource here.
two students together

Anti-Muslim Bigotry and Being an Ally

This ADL lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about past incidents of violence against Muslims, reflect on the connection between these anti-Muslim acts of bigotry and the misunderstandings and stereotypes about Muslims, and identify ways students can be allies in the face of bias and discrimination.

Access this resource here.
students thinking

10 Ways to Have Conscientious Conversations on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Antisemitism, anti-Muslim bias and other forms of hate can manifest during crises, often exacerbated by disinformation, and it is essential to reflect on how biases can show up in conversations. Allowing antisemitism or anti-Muslim bias to go unchecked not only harms the groups that are targeted by those biases, but also undermines the trust and connection necessary to have productive conversations and learning experiences. This resource provides 10 suggestions to use when having conversations about the longer-term Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Access this resource here.
Educating for Democratic Citizenship

Intersectionality

In this lesson from the Albert Shanker Institute’s Educating for Democratic Citizenship, high school students identify different types of discrimination and analyze their own identity for privilege and oppression.

Access this resource here.
Mother Earth is raceless

Anti-Hate Lessons

#USvHate provides a multitude of lessons aimed at building inclusive relationships, challenging stereotypes and exploring overarching issues of empathy, bias, bullying and ally behavior as a foundation for refusing hate as well as deeper bias/injustice. Additionally, #USvHate provides lessons on exploring, discussing and countering specific forms of hate, bias and injustice that need attention in specific communities and across the nation.

Access this resource here.
The Boy in the Back of the Class

The Boy at the Back of the Class (Discussion Guide)

This resource has students explore these themes: anti-Muslim bias, refugees, bullying and ally behavior, and friendship. Students in grades 3-8 will talk in pairs or small groups about a time that they witnessed, heard about or personally experienced bullying. They will share what happened; how they felt; and what they or someone else did or what they wish they or someone else did about it (if anyone acted as an ally).

Access this resource here.
New York City

Xenophobia in America: A Conversation with Dr. Erika Lee

Islamophobia and xenophobia often overlap, and it is important that both are addressed in the classroom. In this interview with Re-Imagining Migration’s Adam Strom, author Dr. Erika Lee discusses how they overlap and what every person should know about migration and immigration.

Access this resource here.

Bullying in Schools: Lesson Plans and Resources for Prevention

By integrating bullying prevention lessons into the preK-12 curriculum, we can create a generation of students who are not only aware of the harms of bullying but are also equipped with the skills and empathy to push back, responsibly.

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Megan Ortmeyer

Megan Ortmeyer is an SML Team Member and has worked in the AFT Educational Issues Department since fall 2018. She received her M.A. in education policy studies in May 2020 from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University.

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