Teachers and students need to work together to create a classroom environment that is inclusive within the context of increasing cultural diversity in schools. Students must feel supported and be able to express their views and concerns. This article describes helpful strategies to deal with diversity in the classroom.
Identifying One's Own Attitudes Towards Diversity
To deal with diversity in the classroom, teachers must first identify their own attitudes. This begins with increasing awareness of their assumptions about people who are different from them. This will help teachers to be more sensitive and thoughtful towards students who are different.Moreover, there is the need to broaden their horizons.
A good start is to get to know the students in their class. The students in any classroom are usually diverse and teachers can learn from them. Additionally, teachers need to build relationships in the classroom - students need to know that teachers care about their welfare despite the existing differences.
Recognise student’s diversity
It is important that teachers recognise diversity in the classroom. Indeed, various forms of diversity exist in classrooms including ethnic, gender, cultural diversity, differences in abilities and leaning styles. Of course, teachers serve as role models for students to appreciate diversity among their peers.
Teachers need to recognise that students have different learning styles and thus, they must use varied methods and activities to better serve them. When various teaching techniques are incorporated in lessons, this allows teachers to address a wide spectrum of learners.
Promote a Respectful Learning Environment
Promoting a respectful learning environment begins with seeing each student as an individual. Each student is respected for who she/he is. Teachers, therefore, promote communication. They talk to their students respectfully and encourage them to participate in class.
Activities that Promote Learning for All Students
Various strategies may be employed within the classroom to promote learning for diverse groups of students. One such techniques is grouping students for learning. This improves the interpersonal relationships among students. Students also learn from each other, and this can be a way of teaching diversity.
All students should be encouraged to participate in classroom discussions. However, there is a need to respect their differences. For example, some students feel more comfortable listening. Furthermore, guest speakers from particular groups could make presentations to the class. This could broaden and enrich students' learning and foster diversity in class.
An environment that is comfortable and non-threatening facilitates diversity in the classroom. This gives students a sense of belonging, even where there are differences, and promotes learning.