Racism has far-reaching and harmful effects: It affects a child’s wellbeing, mental health, and opportunities to move forward in life. It isolates, hurts, and has a detrimental impact on many areas of life. According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2018), Finland is the most racist country in Europe. The school environment is not immune to racism, and racism occurs at all levels of education (Non-Discrimination Ombudsman 2020). Racism can occur in situations between children, as well as among educators and other adults. It can be direct or hidden in structures, prejudices, assumptions or stereotypical representations. Anti-racist pedagogy, or pedagogy that examines and tackles racism, should be integral in all education. We need early social conditioning.
The Together Without Racism project offers an anti-racist learning module that increases the students’ and teacher’s understanding of racism and their own privileges and prejudices. Constructive discussion of racism and identifying and tackling racism communicate that racism will not be tolerated, and that you do not need to have experience racism in order to oppose it. Anti-racist work starts with every one of us. When an anti-racist operating model takes root as part of a classroom’s shared culture, it will improve the community spirit.
The teaching module has two key components: A remote lesson to provide orientation into the process and a workshop to be held afterwards. The tasks are participatory and motivating, and they use functional, drama education and art education methods, videos, group tasks, and stories. In addition, the training offers the classroom teacher materials and tasks for dealing with the topics in the lessons. During the course, the children will examine equality and diversity, learn about racism-related topics in more depth, and identify racism in everyday situations and surrounding structures.
The project is implemented by Life Education Finland and All Our Children. In 2022, it was funded by EU, and in 2023–2024 it is funded by STEA.