It is essential that at all times staff are professional and promote equality and diversity in order to uphold the standards that we have in the teaching establishment. These standards are not only defined and enforced by legislation and policy but by what we do as staff and students. Behaviour such as jokes that undermine equality and diversity will have a hugely damaging impact on the culture within an organisation. Another aspect that will have a significant impact on the culture within the teaching organisation is equality and diversity bias, any form of bias relating to equality and diversity will have a pivotal impact of the culture and can be classed as discrimination. Another aspect is undermining colleagues on matters relating to equality and diversity, this will change the culture of the organisation as this colleague will no longer act in a manner that would have been positive for equality and diversity within the academic establishment. This will also spread to anyone else who was aware of this colleague being undermined and it will become the new normal.
Scenario 1: A male overseas student is very rude to a female member of staff. It is just his culture and he’ll be done in a few weeks. He pays quite a big fee too.
Students being rude to members of staff must be addressed, otherwise the member of staff will feel powerless and is likely to feel aggrieved, other students will feel it is acceptable and start doing the same, also the student is not being educated fully in line with a British education following British values.
Scenario 2: A male teacher says to a female student who is scantily dressed that she might attract a lot of unwanted attention if she dresses like that.
Comments relating to how students dress can have a negative impact on the student, potentially damaging their confidence. Often staff will discriminate in this way in an attempt to be helpful without even realising they are discriminating.
Scenario 3: A student from a traveller community answers a question wrongly in class. The female teacher says to him not to worry as she didn’t expect him to be able to answer the question, given his background.
While the teacher knows the students background, this has no impact on the level of knowledge the student has in relation to the subject area. It was unprofessional for the teacher to mention his background, even if she was attempting to be supportive.