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A Guide To Diversity In The Classroom


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- Educating children at a young age the importance of diversity will help them grow into more successful and accepting adults. It teaches understanding, promotes growth, and prepares for future careers. This guide will help educators as well as substitute/first-year teachers to incorporate these strategies and activities into their teaching habits.

Published in: Education
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A Guide To Diversity In The Classroom

  1. 1. A Guide To Diversity In The Classroom Defining Diversity In The Classroom Simply put, “diversity” refers to the fact that everyone in a classroom is unique. Students may come from different cultural backgrounds, their families may face varying economic circumstances, or they may have different religious beliefs. Even with similar backgrounds, however, individual students may read at different levels or be more athletic than others. No matter how much common ground students share, each one has a unique personality. The challenge for the classroom teacher: Recognize these differences and create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to learn while also respecting one another. Even in a classroom of students from similar cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, teachers must be aware of diversity. Not only must they incorporate their students’ different backgrounds and needs into their lesson plans, but they also should demonstrate for students the value and importance of being respectful to those who are different. Tips for Encouraging Diversity Presented here are some strategies for teaching students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles: • Answer students’ questions about diversity. • Model the respectful behaviors that students are to demonstrate in the classroom. • Get to know students’ families to better understand their home lives and cultural backgrounds. • Teach students to think critically and ask questions about what they experience. • Learn students’ interests and backgrounds to better incorporate ideas that are relevant to them into lesson plans. • Encourage respectful behavior in the classroom and discourage bullying or teasing. • Encourage activities that get students to work with others with whom they ordinarily might not socialize. • Assign group activities that draw upon the individual strengths of each student, as this will emphasize the value of teamwork and diversity. • Bring in guest speakers from diverse backgrounds for students to identify with as role models. Activity Idea For Discovering Diversity Encouraging students to take part in group activities with peers they otherwise would not socialize with is an effective strategy for helping them understand diversity. Here is a protocol teachers can use to develop important listening skills by having students engage in academic conversations with diverse partners: Step 1: • Students stand up. Step 2: Step 3: • Students find their new partner quietly and quickly. • Set a timer and if the process is not quiet, have them try it again. • Students gather their tools for the academic conversation (i.e., text/pencil or pen/clipboard or whiteboard). • Before they move to find a new friend, set parameters. (For example, “You may not partner with someone at your table or your best friends.”) • Students put one hand up in the air and find a partner (not a person at their table or their best friends). Teachers need to monitor the student choices.