In the field of education, there are many factors that need to be considered in order to achieve a positive learning experience. Today, Faculti Media discusses how to teach Islamic learners successfully. Islam is one of the oldest religions in our history. It is believed that it started around the 7th century and has a massive following around the world.
As such, it is completely natural to find followers of the Islamic faith in a classroom setting. If you are an educator, it would be important to be aware of the ways that you may unintentionally offend or insult them. This is something that should be done for all students and not just Islamic learners. However, as Islam has stricter rules regarding decorum and other occurrences, extra attention must be paid.
Every religion has its own rules, holidays, and guidelines. The only difference is that Islam tends to truly enforce their restrictions while other religions do not. If you happen to have Muslim students in your class, it would be good to take that as an opportunity for growth. It is also a good way to show your learners how a respectful environment can only lead to positive experiences.
Here are a few reminders:
Avoid mixing genders in a single group
In the Islamic faith, certain followers may be more conservative than others. This is something that is true for all faiths, actually. When you have those who practice Islam in your classroom, it would be good to avoid mixing them in a single group for exercises or assignments.
While it is normal for them to be able to interact, that does not mean that putting them in a single group would be just as fine. Islam is a religion wherein for some gender separation is often required and enforced.
If you are uncertain how to approach the issue, give your class the opportunity to form their own groups. This will provide you a great idea on the group dynamics of your class and it will also provide you an idea on whether or not the Muslim learners in your class prefer to mingle or not. You will be able to use that for future activities and such.
Be mindful of special holidays
Ramadan is one of the biggest religious seasons for those in the Muslim community. Normally, those who practice the Muslim faith undergo fasting. When they fast, you can expect learners who are not at all energetic about the lessons or even in their class participation.
While this can be frustrating from an educator’s point of view, it is important to be respectful of their holiday. It would lead to better relationships in your classroom if you understand the reasons about the seemingly lethargic and unenthusiastic participation in your class.
If you can, keep the lessons simple, do so. If they asked to be excused, that is up to your discretion as educator but keep in mind that fasting is not easy in the least.
There is nothing worse than getting pandered to. It ultimately comes off as fake and can lead to more awkward interactions rather than positive ones. As such, when interacting with the Islamic members of your class, be sincere in your interactions.
Unless you are teaching theology, keep your lectures off it
Yes, there is a lot of negative press about those in the Islam faith. However, this is not indicative of every single one of them. Just like there are good and bad people in any religion, the same applies to Islam. Just because you may not agree on some of their rules or articles of faith, it does not mean that you are entitled to discuss this in the classroom setting.
Keep your discussions on the topic of your lecture. Sociopolitical discussions may have their merits but it is important to be mindful of the people in your class. Just as we are certain that you would not want your faith attacked in the guise of “intellectual discourse”, you should afford the same respect to others.
Avoid any politically charged discussions in your class unless it is in line with your syllabus. If it is in line, be sure to give your student fair warning and assent to progress with the lecture.
Speak out against intolerance in your classroom
It is inevitable that there will be other students who are not as respectful as you are when it comes associating with other cultures. It is important that as an educator, you should be the first line of defense for all of your students.
Do not tolerate any forms and signs of discrimination based on religion in your class. It is important to address any issues as they occur and do not allow them to take root in the class environment. If you want to address the issue privately after class, it would be important to give involved students a verbal notice.
Remember that your learners are your responsibility and every moment is a teachable one and should be taken advantage of.
Tolerance and respect are always good foundations for good relationships. When you are an educator, it is important that you are a role model for your learners. You must never be the first person to show intolerance or discrimination.
Islam is a religion and must be accorded respect. A classroom should be a place for positive growth and experiences. You can help your student achieve this by being respectful. If you spot any disrespectful actions being done toward anyone in your class, it is important to speak up and do something about it. Remember, when you do not take action at the sight of repression, you are part of the problem.
With that in mind, what ways can you show suitable respect for Muslim students in your class? What proven ways or techniques have you refined through the years? Were there any issues that arose? Share it with us so that we may share it with others!