The Diversity Awareness Workshop – From The Team’s Perspective

During the weekend of 25-27 March a group of 7 of Gansbaai Academia’s teachers came together to attend a workshop on how to enhance and celebrate the UNITY WITHIN OUR DIVERSITY. Here, in their own words, is their summary of the proceedings:

Despite our personal needs to be with our families, the need to understand the unique and special role that our school has within the diverse community of Gansbaai -and even further a field- made us gel into a unique and powerful force which we hope will be able to make a real difference within our community in Gansbaai.

Our facilitator, Steve Cilliers, was great at allowing us to share our diverse experiences with each other. Steve you did a great job! This was a key element in the experience of our groups need to get to know each other and the diverse cultures we come from. And believe me, we are just as diverse as the learners in our school!

We learnt that seeing the differences – like sex, sexual orientation and colour- was the first step on the path of getting to know each other better. We need to acknowledge who we are before we can start accepting who we are not and then only will we be able to accept the people around us for who they are.

During the course, we were thought the value of appreciation. We learnt that the crux of acceptance lies within the value of appreciating our uniqueness within our diversity. We had to show that we appreciate each other. This helped us to feel appreciated and even more important, it made us realize how important it is for each individual to feel accepted no matter what his/ her colour, creed or social status is. If we are able to use this principal in our classrooms and, by example, encourage our learners to implement it in their lives, we will come a long way in teaching our learners to accept the diverse nature of our cultural heritage.

Gansbaai Academia was born out of the need within this community to have their own school which accommodates the unique and diverse character of the town.

At Gansbaai Academia, we will strive to celebrate this uniqueness by doing the following:

  • We will strive towards taking away the fear of the unknown by introducing our learners to the different cultures and languages represented at our school.
  • We will encourage respect for the unique nature of each culture.
  • We will celebrate the uniqueness of being brown, black, white or green for that matter!
  • We would like to encourage the spirit of Ubuntu which has a worldview that says: ‘I am because we are’.

Ernusta van Wyngaard wrote the following in an article in Beeld of 19/2/2011:
En wat maak dit saak hoe lig of donker ‘n kind se vel is? Dis tog karakter wat tel?

We will celebrate this uniqueness within our diversity!

Each one of us who had the privilege to attend this workshop went home enriched and motivated. Read what we had to say:

Mona Baatjies: The diversity awareness was an eye-opener, a moral booster that changed my perception on how to engage with people from other ethnic groups- especially the learners at the school.

Carien Fortuin: A good, well-planned and interesting workshop. Colleagues felt free to share with one another.

Noxolo Mfene: An interesting workshop where we learnt more about cultural differences and how to be sensitive to other cultures. I am looking forward to practicing the information and making it a reality.

Leandri Havenga: As a young educator, I had an eye-opener as to what was and what is. Knowing a bit more about the different cultures will help me understand the learners better. I will make a point of understanding the learners better before jumping to a conclusion.

Madri Botha: Dit het my beperkte uitkyk oor diversiteit verbreed. Dit was baie insiggewend.

Celia Pretoius: Ek het weereens besef hoe belangrik dit is dat ons die uniekheid van elke persoon wat God geskep het sal erken en aanvaar. God created human beings to praise him and our attitude towards people should reflect that.

Tommy Wilson: We are the same within our differences
Ons is eenders in ons andersheid.

And last but not least of all, we would like to thank the Action Committee for supplying to our culinary needs! Especially Jaap Mostert for his caring. Nobody can think with an empty stomach!

Hamba kahle!
Go well!
Goed gaan!

The Diversity Team



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