What is Diversity in Classroom?
Diversity can be conceptualized in different ways depending on the context. When it comes to classrooms, diversity is conceptualized as understanding each student brings unique experiences, strengths, and ideas to classroom. These differences can be along dimensions of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status, age, ability, religious or political beliefs, or other different ideologies. Diversity is the exploration and incorporation of these differences to enrich learning and in classrooms.There has always been diversity in the classroom, but in today society it is important to embrace it and make positive use of it.Student Diversity in Classroom.
Role of Teachers
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Teachers should value diversity and they need to model this attitude to their students. When people value diversity, they recognize and respect the fact that people are different and that these differences is generally a good thing. For example, when attempting to solve a problem, it is better to assemble a diverse team with many skills and many different ways of approaching the problem than it is to assemble a team that has all their strength concentrated in one area.As educators, teachers have a responsibility to ensure that students are prepared to work in a diverse environment and collaborate with others who bring new perspectives. When teachers incorporate a variety of perspectives into teaching and offer students new ways of looking at their discipline, students are prepared for the diverse workforce.
Tips for Promoting a Diverse Classroom
- Teachers must provide students with an environment that is conducive to learning.If a student feels uncomfortable, unsafe, or not respected, then their chances of success in that class dramatically decrease.
- As our society becomes more diverse, it is important that students learn to value and use diversity to the greater good.
- Encourage the exchange of ideas and interpersonal understanding.
- Culturally responsive instruction aims to educate students that differences in viewpoint and culture are to be cherished and appreciated rather than judged and feared.
- Tailoring classroom activities and lessons toward multicultural appreciation.
- Students must be taught to respect and appreciate their own culture and heritage.
- Providing opportunities for students to investigate unique facets of their community is one effective way to help students gain a greater appreciation for their own culture.
- Educators should multi – culturalize core curricula such as math, science, reading, and writing.
How to Make the Classroom Diverse?
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- Take the time to learn about students’ background, interests, and learning style.
- This will allow you to create an environment that is conducive to each individual student.
- Allow time for the students to learn about each other and gain an appreciation for the diversity they bring to the classroom.
- Remind them how boring it would be if we were all alike and there were no differences among us to make each person unique.
- Teach students that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. When working in teams encourage students to take advantage of the strengths of the team members in order to produce the best possible results.
- Bring in different people to the class as resources that students might be able to connect with.
- Search out people that are different from yourself and that might share certain qualities with your students.
- Students need role models. Many times when they see they are connected in some way to a person they will be more apt to listen and learn from them.
- Never tolerate bullying, teasing, and other put-down behavior at any time in the classroom.
- Implement a “zero tolerance” for anything that is disrespectful, hurtful, or intolerant of diversity.
Benefits of Diverse Classrooms
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- Promotes Student Growth & Reflection – This is probably the biggest benefit of discussing or experiencing diversity in the classroom. When students learn about other groups’ struggles, perspectives, and experiences, they tend to reflect on and respond to that information. They are likely to ask themselves several questions that encourage personal growth.
- Fosters a Sense of Empathy and Awareness – Simply being aware of an issue isn’t always enough to bring about empathy. But when that “issue” is connected to names and faces of fellow students, awareness turns to empathy and a true desire to understand a new point of view. Allowing students to hear about real struggles or negative experiences dealing with race or culture will help them to understand more about the challenge some people face with diversity, or a lack thereof.
- Students Feel Safer – Students feel safer in school and in life when they are educated in a diverse setting. Students are able to learn about different cultures and backgrounds, allowing them to feel a greater sense of comfort with these differences.
- Tolerance and Acceptance – Diverse classroom, helping them become tolerant, understand and accept other students despite differences. Classroom activities often require students to work in teams or groups and, in order to successfully complete a task, students must overcome all differences and value their team.
Why are Diverse Classrooms Important?
It is important to remind ourselves why diversity and cultural awareness is so crucial in the classroom and the benefits it can have on students now and in the long-term. Teaching diversity exposes students to various cultural and social groups, preparing students to become better citizens in their communities. These culturally responsive teaching strategies will help you to promote diversity in the classroom.
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With these culturally responsive teaching strategies in mind, it’s important to remind ourselves why diversity and cultural awareness is so crucial in the classroom and the benefits it can have on students now and in the long-term.There are a variety of ways an educator can incorporate diversity into the classroom and it depends on the goals one has for students. This is not a one-step process, but, whether you are incorporating diverse perspectives into your course content or teaching students about cultural differences, you want to ensure your classroom is welcoming and you’ve created a respectful, safe environment. A primary goal of culturally responsive education is to help all students become respectful of the multitudes of cultures and people that they’ll interact with once they exit the educational setting. This can be a daunting task for the educator, given that the world at large is infinitely more complex and diverse than the microcosmic environment that the student inhabits. A diverse classroom pushes against human nature’s natural aversion to the unknown and help students become more respectful of cultures with different ideas.
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