Generally, diversity can be best described as the similarities and differences amongst human beings. It is primarily about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them similar or different.
What does diversity look like in the classroom? From experience, I would say it present itself in many ways. Such as; different races, cultures, religions, various learning styles, distinctive personalities, various capabilities, disabilities, abilities, socio-economic status, gender and ethnicity.
Who is responsible for ensuring diverse is embraced to full capacity in the classroom? The teacher of course is responsible for this huge and complex task, which is not easy to implement; however, it is fundamental.
Research have shown that, in order for all children to have outstanding academic experiences that embrace equality and diversity, the teacher have to take the time to understand each child has an individual and not just as a group. Tecahers have to remove all stereotypical thinking and practices to embrace diversity to full capacity. Adopting this mindset is the first step to establishing a diverse classroom.
Why is diversity paramount in the classroom? When I look at my classroom, I see individuals who bless my classroom with a range of unique qualities, personalities, experiences, view, upbringing, like and dislikes, etc. As a teacher it is my duty to embraces all this beautiful distinctiveness that they bring into my classroom. I have to ensure these humans are proud of who they are regardless of their similarities or differences. This ensures that student learning process is maximised to enable them to achieve their full potential. Consequently, it is important for students to feel a sense of belonging and valued in the classroom.
While it is almost impossible to treat all children the same, due to their various abilities, capabilities and disabilities. Teachers have to rethink how they perceive the notion diversity. Various research carried out in the UK shows that children who feel excluded or not belonging to the classroom; there is a noticeable decreased in those children’s participation, engagement, behaviour and self-esteem. Therefore, creating an inclusive classroom environment is paramount to children’s learning and development.
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My name is Jahseen Foster