Paper Example on Celebrating Diversity in the Classroom

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1789 Words
Date:  2022-09-17


In the teaching profession, matters regarding diversity are critical since students come from different cultural backgrounds, gender, socioeconomic statuses, and religions among other discriminative elements. As learners interact, it is very likely that they will recognize their differences from others. In such a case, the classroom environment needs to ensure that they associate freely without discrimination. Indeed, such a scenario is an accurate illustration of what diversity entails. In a culturally diverse setting, learners feel appreciated and comfortable to associate freely. Consequently, results improve and they can learn different subject matters from others. In connection to that point, a learning community that celebrates diversity is unique in composition, enhances fairness, respects individual differences, and has set policies that prevent discrimination.

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Uniqueness in Composition

Learners come from different backgrounds and are sensitive to the treatments they get from different social environments. Indeed, when dealing with the ones in preschool ages and kindergarten, it is no doubt that they are highly emotional to the way others treat them. In agreement with Underwood and Rosen (2013), children at school-going age are at a critical period where all the developmental aspects start showing up. A crucial part of the same is their social well-being: if they are in a setting when they feel accommodated, they are likely to develop as expected with minimal psychological issues. One way of doing so is ensuring that they mix with others freely.

A learning community with unique composition ensures that different ages, genders, and cultures among other differential aspects are accommodated. This way, irrespective of where someone comes from and his/her gender and culture, he/she can find others of different backgrounds but with the same objectives. At this point, the main observation is that discriminative elements aren't a consideration during enrolment, the grouping of the students, or setting them up for an assignment to mention a few activities. If stated differently, it is a place where there are different faces of people and in various categories.

Enhancing Fairness

A learning environment that promotes diversity should be fair in all aspects. Considering that students' origins are profoundly diverse, the teachers need to ensure that everything that takes place promotes fairness (Bondy & Ross, 2005). A perfect example is privileging. In the classroom or school setup, some positions and responsibilities emerge where the teacher requires appointing some students to lead others. In such situations, they must reflect on the students' differences and try doing it in a way that considers equal representation.

Apart from privileges, matters regarding awards, day to day appreciations, and punishment procedures should be equal too. This point implies that there shouldn't be any favors irrespective of the background, race, and gender of the learners among other factors. When fairness becomes a principle, it is possible to promote self-esteem among students since they feel that their differential aspects do not determine the choices the teachers make. In such settings, the link between teachers and the students is somewhat closer. Importantly, due to the feeling of appreciation, recognition, and the lack of fear to feel discriminated, the students can consult when they require particular help.

Respecting Individual Differences

In the learning environment, there are two dimensions of diversity: internal and external. The inner aspect has all to do with the unchangeable features of diversity. Indeed, they characterize the differences that educators must be sensitive about and respect at all times. The first case involves physical and mental abilities. For instance, some students are differently capacitated like the case of the disabled or the ones suffering from chronic illnesses. If someone is dealing with such categories, he/she should come up with ways that prevent segregation along ability lines. Undoubtedly, it is a sensitive matter that can cause division within and external to the classroom. However, with proper management of situations, it is possible to minimize the potential adverse impacts.

The other features of the internal dimension whose differences need a lot of respect include age, skin color, nationality, and sexual orientation. In developed and developing nations as well, it is rare to come across a learning environment where people's features are the same. Accordingly, differences in migration backgrounds are inevitable, and issues to do with ethnic and gender differences are part of the process. The case is mainly high in areas where international students are many. Even in normal school setups, students are highly diverse in matters to do with their abilities. Accordingly, a learning environment that celebrates diversity gives the necessary setting for all the differences to thrive.

The external dimension of the differences includes the relatively changeable features. Some of the critical issues herein involve geographical location of the students, socio-economic setting, personal habits, hobbies, and attitudes. To a significant extent, these factors should never be allowed to define how the learners socialize. In spite of that, the educators need to be aware of their influence and come up with strategies to ensure that students do not group themselves according to their geographical backgrounds or socio-economic groupings.

Policies that Prevent Discrimination

Up to this point, the meaning of a diverse learning environment is explicit. It has all to do with a scenario where learners from the majority and minority groups can learn together without their differences affecting them. It is also a scenario where different ages, abilities, genders, and cultural groups can freely associate while focusing on one objective: to learn (Clauss-Ehlers, 2006). However, since the students are at a sensitive age where exploration is also high, they usually recognize their differences and fail to realize that they are multicultural. In regard, it is essential to come up with a policy that prevents discrimination.

In such a setting, policies are profoundly elaborate on what the students should observe at all times. This point implies that behaviors at different circumstances are explicitly defined such that there is a limit in the way learners associate with others. More so, the policies define the consequences of not following the stated procedures. For instance, they can be extremely punishing the ones who abuse others along race, gender, and cultural lines. In other words, schools that strive to promote diversity and equity during instruction and co-curricular activities are an accurate illustration of learning environments that celebrate and appreciate diversity.

Strategies of Promoting Diversity

As a critical consideration in the educational environment, teachers can apply several strategies to promote diversity. Before examining them, it is necessary to note that each depends on the characteristics of the learners such as age categories, the extent of diversity, and gender differences among other factors. Also, even though they range, it is also possible to use them jointly or interchangeably. Above all, it is essential to note that they are not the only ones applicable; they are only suggestions which can change with times and situations.

According to Pang (2017), one of the leading ways of promoting diversity and equity in the classroom is by fostering self-awareness. The inference, here, is that learners cannot respect each other if they cannot understand their uniqueness. As a result, educators have a role in enabling learners to understand that they are different and should interact with others to learn from them. Therefore, each person must actively engage the other, embrace the differences within a particular group, and live in the school as learners not as diverse groups. If learners can understand their orientations and how to benefit from it, the learning environment can be accommodative of all students at all times.

Apart from enhancing self-awareness, another strategy of creating an educational environment that accepts everyone is by establishing learning norms that promote inclusion and openness. In this scenario, the teacher or any other educator should develop policies that dictate the way the learning environment should encourage respect. One way of doing it is by challenging negative stereotypes. For instance, in a scenario where there are disabled students, a teacher needs to ensure that they are not segregated due to their incapacities.

Another strategy is by having a session to appreciate different cultures. Since learners come from different cultural settings, the teacher should embrace the significant activities across the various geographical locations. However, it is vital to recognize the ones that are highly exciting and would make the students reflect on their differences. In the same case, the teacher can be taking time to creatively teach about new cultures while giving the students assignments on the cultural activities of various groups in the society. When each segment is incorporated into the learning environment, every generation is likely to feel accommodated and comfortable.

In agreement with Gopalakrishnan (2005), learning materials can play a crucial role in teaching cultural artifacts; thus, it will act as a reliable way of introducing multiculturalism into the classroom. Regarding that, teachers should strive to provide different learning materials that provide a bit of familiarity with their uniqueness. Indeed, this point corresponds to Bandura's social learning theory that suggests that learning occurs through observations (Engler, 2009). As they observe how people relate in different learning materials, it is possible to make them appreciate each other's differences.

Strategies by Cooperating Teacher

It is beneficial to have a culturally diverse classroom since the experience that stems from such settings allows the creation of a tolerant class. Also, it is one way of enhancing mutual respect that the students apply in later life. As a way of fully embracing this diversity, there should be school-wide effort and effective policy that everyone must follow. Indeed, policy establishment is among the strategies that the cooperating teacher would use to celebrate diversity and incorporate multiculturalism. Thus, it is something broad that starts with understanding students' differences and coming up with a way of integrating them in the day to day practice.

Apart from hosting a culture day where pupils share their identities with others, the other observed case is through the provision of different textbooks that illustrate how different people are endowed. In such a scenario, irrespective of whether the students are disabled or differently gifted, they can realize and acknowledge that all aren't the same. In particular, they can appreciate what is unique in their colleagues while associating freely.

In summation, there is no time that the classroom will be free from diversity issues. If students are the same in matters of age, they are likely to be different when gender, ability, and backgrounds come along among other factors. Since these elements are likely to promote segregation, it is essential to come up with ways of promoting diversity. As discussed above, teachers should provide the students with learning materials that cover different cultural aspects. The other way is through establishing policies and norms that define how students should conduct themselves. Even though there are numerous ways, the ones highlighted depict that discrimination along raci...

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