Cultural diversity in the classroom will help you become an effective teacher. American schools are becoming more diverse each year, making cultural diversity in the classroom an increasingly important subject matter. You may have already learned about this by talking to friends or reading about it in a book. However, do not be too surprised if you hear about this as you begin to teach in the United States. Diversity of culture and thought creates many problems in our society.
The most obvious problem that arises from this is the lack of cohesive, interesting, and critical thinking ideas that minority children get in classrooms where they are the majority. Some educators even believe that all students learn from their peers, and that some of them are lucky enough to have a large pool of peers to learn from.
Lack Of Support
While some of this is true, many minority children have trouble appreciating the work of their colleagues and cliques formed within their peer groups. This lack of support can lead some students to become unproductive, frustrated, and angry. Teachers must therefore be sensitive to this lack of support and work to rebuild the camaraderie that used to exist among minority students in elementary school classrooms.
Of course, it is also important for teachers to recognize and understand the differences among students who come from various cultures and lifestyles.The language that is spoken among different cultures can also differ greatly. These differences are just as important for educating diversity in the classroom as the differences among people. The more that teachers are willing to take these differences into consideration, the more helpful it will be for students. It can also make it easier for some of the most talented and challenging students to succeed.
Factors Of Race, Ethnicity, Or Cultural Heritage
Another important factor that teachers should consider when they are thinking about diversity in the classroom is that of race, ethnicity, or cultural heritage. Every student has an identity and a sense of who they are, and how those identities play off of one another within the larger school culture. Some students have great strengths while others have weaknesses.
Within the larger school culture, there will inevitably be students with strong academic histories, strong athletic accomplishments, and strong religious beliefs who will flourish under a teacher who is truly willing to learn about the differences among these students and teach them how to integrate all of their identities into the broader teaching practice.
Bringing Positive Reinforcement
A third way to think about how to ensure that diversity in the classroom occurs is by encouraging positive action. In every school, some students are going to have problems with any sort of gap in achievement. Some students will be lagging behind in grades and some will be getting all A’s.
What is important is that these students are able to see themselves as fully integrated members of the wider community and not viewed only as minority members. A plan can be developed in every elementary school that includes both classroom training and positive reinforcement for these students to feel that they are accepted and valued within the larger culture.
A fourth way to address inequality in our schools is to have an official policy that addresses the issue of diversity in the classroom. This policy should include what types of diversity are allowed, how they are to be expressed, how teachers will report such behavior, how the school will punish students who exhibit this behavior, and what consequences the school leader will take for such behavior.
Policies should also address how the curriculum will be written to make sure that all concepts are taught from a perspective of inclusion and empathy. The policy should also address the integration of cultures at all levels of the educational system, and should address how teachers will work to ensure that all students feel welcome and included in the process.
Encouraging Teachers To Look At Minority Perspectives
The fifth way to think about diversity in the classroom is to have an official policy that encourages teachers to look at various minority perspectives. There are many different forms of diversity in the classroom such as disability, ethnicity, cultural heritage, and poverty.
Teaching teachers should learn how to talk to different groups and identify similarities and differences so that they can teach from a place of inclusion and equity. Such discussions may begin with the introduction of literature on the topic, but they should continue throughout the semester and beyond.
Finally, a very powerful way to think about diversity in the classroom today is to start by looking at the long-term strategies for diversification. This should include both the historic and current practices of schools that promote integration and equality. For example, schools should have integrated proms and lunch clubs, sports teams that recruit players from different races and cultures, and schools should encourage parents to enroll their children in different programs. These practices should continue over the century foundation to which the United States has been built.