By Ritkimwa Istifanus
Diversity refers to the range of identities or differences that exist in a group of people. Diversity in education represents a broad range of ideas and initiatives to create learning opportunities that are safe for as many identities or different individuals from various cultural groups. Diversity in and out of classroom will continue to grow, so it is essential that we prepare students to adapt to an evolving world and embrace these differences among themselves.
There are several ways teachers and administrators such as Principals and Coaches can ensure that both the classroom environment and curriculum are responsive to the increasing cultural diversity of our society. These strategies will encourage all student’s cultural awareness and enhance each student’s sense of identity. They are as follows:
Get to know your students
Ensuring that cultural awareness is promoted in the classroom starts with the teacher having an understanding of his/her students. Take time to learn about each student’s cultural background, hobbies, learning styles, and what makes them unique. So doing will help establish trust and allow you to strike a bond with them so they feel valued.
When the students feel appreciated and comfortable with the teacher, there is a better chance they will feel comfortable with their peers in their class and it creates room for effective communication.
Maintain Consistent Communication
Asides from getting to know your students, the teacher should also continue to maintain an ongoing communication throughout the school year. Scheduling one on one meetings or mentoring class with the students to check in, where students can talk about whether they felt included in the classroom culture. This can help identify issues or ways to improve based on their individual need as a student.
Practice cultural sensitivity
It is important to make sure you are being sensitive to everyone’s culture, beliefs and language concerns. Take the time to understand each student’s cultural backgrounds, then provide learners with appropriate and relevant resources that will help them to improve in various subjects for example, English Comprehension skills.
BENEFITS OF DIVERSITY IN THE CLASSROOM
Diversity and cultural awareness are so crucial in the classroom and has benefits on the students now and in the long term. Teaching diversity exposes students to various cultural and social groups, preparing students to become better citizens in their communities.
Students become more empathetic. Promoting awareness and creating a personal connection with diverse cultures in the classroom allows them to empathize with people different from themselves. Students gain a better understanding when working with people from variety of background and cultures present in the classroom.
It teaches students how to use their own strength and point of view to contribute in diverse working environment.
Students become more open minded. Naturally by exposing students to a diverse thought and cultural background, you are encouraging them to be open minded later in life, this will make them open to new ideas and be able to attain a greater comprehension.
Appreciating diversity prepares students to become better. If students are exposed to it and learn cultural awareness in the classroom, it set them up to flourish in the workforce.
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