MS students tackle microaggressions and identity-related teasing in workshop

A group of Upper School students collaborated with the Hiatt Center and the counseling department to create and facilitate a workshop for 6th graders entitled “It starts with you: Freeing our community of microaggressions and identity-related teasing.” The workshop was an opportunity for US students to share their experiences and wisdom surrounding the topic while also hearing from the experiences and perspectives of younger students.

The workshop started with students writing down their answers to the following question: What is one unforgettable thing someone did this year at school to help you feel loved and cared for? With this question as their starting point, student facilitators compared students’ answers with what MS students already knew about microaggressions, showcasing the difference between caring for others and making jokes at their expense. Facilitators also led discussions on norms, the scope of identities impacted by microaggressions, and identity-related teasing.

Later in the workshop, students worked in small groups to interview US students and staff in order to learn more about the experiences of Beaver community members surrounding microaggressions and teasing. This activity shed more light on the reality of these issues and how they may manifest in a student’s experience inside and outside of school.

The workshop ended with students discussing concrete steps that can be taken to address a microaggression. Students also came up with their own actions that can be taken against microagressions including “pay attention,” “make sure to stand up for your friends,” and “just apologize and don’t lie if you do something wrong.”

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