What Teachers Can Do to Promote Diversity in Class?

by Ella Wilson
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The diversifying population in countries is a fresh breath of air. People now have access and an option to travel with ease and study in their desired institutes. Students from developing countries are traveling to benefit from tech-forward colleges and universities that has resulted in miscellaneous environment in classrooms. As opposed to traditional classrooms, colleges now have classrooms that are diverse in terms of culture, color, race, talents, skill level, and whatnots. It is a pleasant change, but this sudden shift has teachers all balled up.

For centuries, teachers have been trained to teach by the book. The same old lectures, theoretical assessments, tests, and exams dominated the education scene. Surprisingly, they worked well for everyone. However, their methods are now turning out to be futile as students don’t find their instructions to be necessarily helpful.

Students who come from different cultures don’t feel a sense of familiarity which plays a key role in learning. The connection between teacher and students is barely there, resulting in decreased class participation. It is evident that old methods may need some alterations so that diversification can be promoted and rejoiced. Apart from being more welcoming towards diverse students, teachers may want to focus on their own practices in order to accommodate a diverse class, efficiently.

Learning a New Language

Continuous learning is a part of a teacher’s development that is considered extremely necessary. A good teacher knows that there is always a space to learn and improve and that it is never a bad idea to expand one’s area of expertise. Experts recommend that professionals in any field of work should have a command over more than two languages. Teaching is a field where it is all about communication. With changing culture, there are all types of students in the class who speak different languages. Not being able to communicate fluently can act as a hurdle in smooth learning. To add a touch of diversity in class, teachers should consider using a new language apart from English.

Expanding Cultural Knowledge

Another way to make a class more welcoming and warm towards new enrollments is by making them feel at home. The culture gap is a very important thing that puts a lot of difference between two parties to an extent where information gets lost somewhere in between. To remove this gap, a teacher may want to educate himself about various cultures. It is also recommended because many things that are deemed normal in one culture are considered offensive in another. Teachers should be cognizant of small cultural details and be more perceptive towards student emotions. Moreover, promoting stereotypes is never a good idea, therefore, a little insight into various cultures will help the teacher dispel any stereotypes attached to a certain culture.

Doing an Internship

Internships are also a part of continuous learning where teachers are recommended to learn in new environments rather than going for long courses. Teachers can choose a diversity program that is run by diverse groups or leaders that are pro-diversity. This way teachers will be spending their off the campus time in a more productive environment that will also educate them about various cultures.

Keep an Open Mind

Some teachers often form assumptions and biases towards people belonging from minority cultures. These assumptions are not always negative, teachers sometimes treat minorities differently in the fear of offending them or hurting their feelings. To promote diversity in class it is extremely necessary to treat every student in the same manner and to see the students beyond the blur of biases. Students should be judged for their academic performances and nothing more.

It is important for teachers to be educated about the cultures to put assumptions aside and do their jobs without a prejudice. When you are teaching a class that is miscellaneous in nature, you will come across people who may not stand the same ground as you on different subjects. A teacher should keep his mind open to new concepts and beliefs and should be able to accept ideas that may go against his own.

Explore Different forms of Media

In the 21st century, a large number of people learn languages through media. Many people believe that watching movies is one of the easiest ways to familiarize themselves with a new language. Teachers who are not a fan of taking up large courses can use the power of media. Listening to foreign music, watching movies, and exploring different cultures online is a great of familiarizing oneself with new cultures. Even social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can help educators get a basic idea about different cultures from the comfort of their couch.

Research by IAO showed that student performance was highly impacted by the class environment and teacher attitude towards them. It is extremely important that students in a diverse class feel comfortable asking their questions. Many students hesitate from participating in class activities because they feel unwelcome by their peers and teachers. It becomes an urgent responsibility of the educator to promote a diverse environment in a class by expanding own knowledge about miscellaneous cultures.

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