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The Role of Parents/Guardians in Helping Islamic Schools Instill Confidence in Students

One of the main ways in which parents/guardians can instill confidence in their student is by supporting school initiatives. Parents/guardians can participate through advocacy, fundraisers, and volunteering. In addition, they can attend school sponsored events aimed at respecting and promoting diverse ethnic identities. By becoming oriented with the school’s goals and organization, parents/guardians can implement the same institutional atmosphere of respect of diversity in the home.

Moreover, parents/guardians can actively engage in campus wide efforts by becoming part of the institution’s decision-making process. Parents/guardians can provide resources and innovative ideas to further support the goal of instilling confidence in their child’s religious identity. By viewing institutional goals from an outsider’s perspective, parents/guardians can examine and critique current initiatives to better fit the needs of their students and the community at large.

De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

For educators, administrators, and parents to reach practical solutions and strategies to address the challenges faced by Muslim American youth, and to instill confidence in students, we must first be able to respect and value opposing points of view. In order to form more holistic solutions and strategies, we must move away from habitual thinking styles. Using de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, educators, administrators, and parents/guardians are able to tackle complex challenges by formulating strategies through multiple perspectives (Walker & Tyler-Mackey, 2012). Using simple mental metaphors, this practical thinking tool provides a framework for decision makers to thoroughly evaluate and explore different issues and alternate solutions during meetings, workshops, or sessions. The mental metaphors include six different colored hats that an individual can “put on” or “take off.” Each hat represents a different style of thinking, thus, when a hat is put on or taken off, an individual changes their way of thinking. The hats include a white, red, black, yellow, green, and blue hat (Walker & Tyler-Mackey, 2012).

The white hat represents objective thinking and utilizes facts and data. The red hat represents intuition, emotional thinking, and “gut” feelings. The black hat represents cautious thinking in which risks are evaluated and defensive insights are utilized. When using the black

hat, an individual tries to decipher what may not work and spot potential flaws or risks of a decision. The yellow hat can be seen as the opposite of the black hat. The yellow hat represents positive and optimistic thinking in which an individual explores benefits of a decision. The green hat allows for one to think creatively and generate alternate and innovative solutions. The blue hat is used by the individual facilitating the meeting. The blue hat represents metacognition, or thinking about thinking, and creates a structure for using the other hats. The blue hat enables an individual to regulate the thinking that is necessary about a subject, and can be used at the beginning of a meeting to set an agenda or at the end of a meeting to summarize decisions (Walker & Tyler-Mackey, 2012).

Educators can utilize this decision making strategy in the classroom or department meetings. Administrators can use de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats in meetings with fellow administrators, staff, or parents. De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is an effective decision making strategy that increases creativity and productivity and allows for parallel thinking, while permitting the opportunity for decision makers to evaluate situations from different points of views. Through using the Six Thinking Hats, Islamic schools can ensure they are effectively evaluating all possible solutions to address the issue of a lack of confidence students might possess in their religious identity.


“Education is...a golden door of opportunity that enables people to transcend social, physical, economic, or cultural barriers to pursue their dreams. Increasingly diverse classrooms provide a venue for children to learn to embrace cultural differences and eliminate the barriers of racism...and prejudice” (Moore & Hansen, 2012, p. 26). Muslim youth need support to build

their confidence which will enhance life-long learning and creativity. Teachers, administrators, and parents/guardians should instill students with diverse values, crucial skills, and critical information about the unique cultural and religious beliefs and traditions to ensure they are ready for their postsecondary education and the job market. It is essential that administrators implement effective leadership and ensure that educators receive professional preparation and support, and that families are engaged in school decision making. In a time where misconceptions and a lack of understanding of diversity exist, minority students and young Muslim students need to develop confidence and positive self-esteem in order to promote inclusion and ethnic and cultural appreciation throughout their postsecondary education and in the workforce.


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