Diversity in the cultural heritages, preferences, accents, looks, and perceptions is something that makes the human- world a more exciting place. The difference does establish not only variety but also provides individual great learning opportunities.
Classrooms are a great place for practicing multicultural learning. In boarding schools in Dehradun students from different backgrounds and families come together and learn under a conventional roof. In the process, they develop friendships and a sense of understanding towards each other. Multicultural education also teaches a child how to live in harmony with people with different ideologies and perceptions. They develop a border perspective and comes to know about different traditions and practices that are followed all around the world.
Diversity is not only in people’s cultural backgrounds and traditions. Variety in body shapes and looks is also a significant part of human life. No two people loom similar unless they are twins. These differences create different notions of beauty. Everybody has their unique characteristics, and we should respect this diversity and embrace its sanctity.
As elementary kids and toddlers, we do not care about the looks and get up. Our parents dress us and keep care of our diets and cleanliness. But as we grow older, our observation broadens, and we start to understand and analyze our surroundings and people. We develop our ideology and opinions on perfect body hair, face, etc. Teenage is a time when maximum students develop inferiority complex issues. For some teenagers and puberty is a radiant face, while for others, it is a hard time caused due to several hormonal changes in the body.
Teenagers develop acne, gain weight, their voice deepens, and their structure also changes. Some become tall. Some remain short. All these are natural processes, but for many students, these may not bode well. Teenagers and students at a young and tender age do not understand empathy. They do not possess a developed an understanding mindset as an adult. If they feel that something is out of the norm, they react offensively and, in many cases, end up hurting the feelings of their peers. The situation becomes worse under the wrong influence, guidance, and a lack of instruction. Bullying and insulting based on the looks someone is quiet prevalent during the teenage years, the consequences of which get reflected in a classroom environment. So how can teachers ensure a body-positive classroom? How can teachers make sure that a student does not suffer from body-image issues?
Mental health issues due to the body- image struggles are pervasive among the kids going to school. Hence, the teachers and school administrators have to establish an environment that fosters optimism regarding body- image. Here are a few ways by which teachers can ensure a body-positive classroom:-
1) INDULGE IN REGULAR DISCUSSIONS
Students, and especially girls, are obsessed with a slimmer body and to look a certain way, perceived as ideal in society. Talk to the kids and educate them about naturality of things. Tell them how having different body types is entirely natural. Being fit and taking care of oneself is the only thing that matters.
Sometimes the problems being over-weight may be caused due to particular illness. Other kids may not understand this and may insult their classmates for being “fat” and “weird.” Such issues can profoundly impact the mental state of the child. Hence, discuss the various consequences that such actions can cause and teach the children about body- positivity.
2) IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMATIC AREAS
The teacher should always observe their students and keep track of their activities and indulgence. Make sure that the students are not under the influence of wrong information and fake knowledge. Today, social media platforms are filled with all types of false and doctored images that deliver the wrong message.
If you see a child being bullied because of any body-related issue, intervene in the situation and confront the students practicing such heinous acts. If you will ignore the case, the problem might become worse and may lead up to severe consequences in the future.
Awareness is the only possible solution to such problems. Hence, it provides students the right information and knowledge about such issues. A child is not very intelligent and may not know about the consequences of their actions. Therefore, parents and teachers have to give the students the right direction and guidance. Body-image issues are not only a significant problem among students. Even adults suffer from it. Hence, starting at the right age and having a positive outlook can significantly help in such situations.