Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/In Today's Schools Table of Contents/Diversity

Observations and Reflections from Today's Classrooms

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I attended a predominately white, Catholic school as an adolescent and upon entering high school I began going to public school where I quickly became the minority. I remember feeling out of place at times. I observed kindergarten and fourth grade and noticed many differences in regards to diversity in the classroom. In kindergarten I noticed more children played with each other of different diversities than in the fourth grade class I observed. When I observed fourth grade I found many of the girls had their own "cliques" and hung more with their familiarities than all the children in the kindergarten class. However, when the children were working in a group or with the classroom tables most of the children got along with all their classmates. Lwill031 (talk) 18:24, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I have not yet completed my 30 hour observation, so I will write about my experiences with diversity in the classroom during my school years. During my school career, I do not feel that diversity was appropriately addressed in the classroom. Cultural differences were not as accepted as they are today, and cultural interaction patterns were not accommodated. Teachers tried the best they could to address diversity, however, most were biased to students who grew up in the same culture as they did.

These days, I feel that diversity is more appropriately addressed in the classroom. Diversity comes in many forms: cultural, gender, sexual identity, language, ability and intelligence. Most teachers accept and value cultural differences and express an interest in their students' culture and background. Teachers will accommodate cultural interaction patterns and they will build on students' backgrounds. Most teachers will try to connect with the local community, provide opportunities for success for all students, and actively challenge social injustice. To do this, it is necessary these days for teachers to acknowledge personal fears, barriers and ignorance, and to develop ideas for overcoming them. Respect is shown to all students, and uniqueness is celebrated. I plan to use these methods in my future classroom to celebrate diversity with all students. Afett001 (talk) 23:16, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Diversity in the classroom is an issue that is often overlooked. While many equate diversity with ethnicity, it also refers to gender, language, and overall ability. Many teachers focus only on what they see on the outside and fail to address intrinsic differences. As educators, we must look at the "total student" and be sensitive to their needs. Make an effort to understand your students and celebrate diversity in your classroom.

My observations were done in a school, were I floated around many different science classes. Do to the diversity of the different classes and the grade levels I was able to observe several different types diversity. The freshman mandatory biology class (which was the class I observed daily the others were a random variety) was the most diverse, as far as learning styles, levels of learning, and ethnicity. Although there were a few cliquey moments for the most part the class act and were treated as one group. This class was one of that showed to me how effective teachers run their class. Mlipl001 (talk) 01:10, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

The 1st grade teacher that I observed did a fabulous job addressing the diverse cultures and languages found in her classroom. Out of 15 students, 5 were Hispanic and spoke little English. Those students received services once a week from the ESL teacher. However, each day the teacher managed to incorporate Spanish into her calendar time. During this time students review concepts including months, days of the week, date, numbers, letters, colors, weather, etc. When the initial review is complete, calendar time is repeated in Spanish. What a great way to teach a second language to the class while making the other children feel welcome in this learning environment. It is definitely an idea I will use if I am in a primary classroom. Acrow005 (talk) 00:44, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I had many experiences with diversity in classroom settings. For my observation I was with a younger group of students and I do not find that there are many diversity problems. I do feel though that this is an important time to introduce these young students to a variety of cultures and people and hopefully form an appreciation for all people. I believe this early base will have a lot of benefits for the future in grade level and further on in their life.

During the class I observed there was a large number of diversity but I did not witness and problems within the classroom. I think the teacher or the students have done a great job in adapting to their surroundings and accepting the class for who they all are. I have been in an experience where there were cultural problems and this is where the teacher would step in and form groups for them to work together team tasks. It was great to see the growth and changes that were occurring. Sston008 (talk) 17:05, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I don’t think diversity was addressed very much while I was growing up in school. And I don’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I find myself feeling awkward, nervous, and generally more offended when I see the sweeping generalizations we categorize as “cultural sensitivity”, or whatever other absurd label we’ve slapped on stereotyping these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love culture, and I think everyone should respect cultural backgrounds and limitations. But for the love of God, someone tell the very enlightened white people that the color of your skin or the region you hail from does not define you as a person or dictate your actions. Let me give an example from this class. Did anyone look at that diversity PowerPoint? Did anyone not burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter? Because I know I did. It was very much the PC way of saying, “ all(insert color or ethnicity) are (insert stereotype).” I just think that very often these programs seem to have the opposite of their intended effect. Don’t get it twisted, I love not being white in this country, for one thing I don’t get sun burned. For another, I have access to strange smelling and wonderful foods. But for the love of God when will white people stop reminding me that I’m hard working, good at math, stoic and humble? Do people really not realize how racist it is? It’s pleasantly racist sure, but if I’m all those things it stands to reason I’m the stereotypical opposites as well. While those attributes are what I’m given on the page everyone is surely rattling off the other greatest hits smelly, slant eyed and poorly endowed. BitterAsianMan (talk) 15:34, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I feel compelled to post my response under the "BitterAsianMan" :-) I thought the PowerPoint was funny as well. I actually told my husband about it. He teaches fire department stuff for the state of VA. He said that he was told it was PC to never call the white board a "white board", nor a black board a "black board". Silly stuff! Are we really that sensitive?? So anyway, when I was in school until I was well into my high school years I didn't have any black or Asian kids in any of my classes. I got all of my diversity from Sesame Street, and I turned out ok. Ldomm002 (talk) 02:01, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I have not completed my observation, but as a student that is a minority I would like to voice my opinion on this matter. I feel that diversity in the classroom is great and it helps the students develop social skills, inclusiveness, and understanding of people who are culturally and/or racially different. I think that if teachers could take this issue a little bit more seriously it would be a better learning atmosphere for all. Ehern004 (talk) 17:28, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

In the future I plan on teaching Spanish, so I feel that this topic was one of the most important for me to observe because it is mostly the reason why I want to teach. I observed three different Spanish level classes at Princess Ann High School and they were all diverse. From Spanish speaking children to children from other races to Causian and African American students in the class, they all showed to get along. Diversity was everywhere I looked in the school.

In class I observed that many students looked for guidance from the Spanish speaking students. During one of the classes I had the opportunity to talk to the students and ask them why they wanted to learn Spanish. Some said they just needed the credit, but others said that they would like to know the language because it is interesting to them, and also that they would be able to travel to Spanish speaking countries and not have that language barrier. There was a student in particular who his grandparents were native from Spain and they only spoke Spanish. He wanted to learn the language to be able to communicate with his grandparents. As a future foreign language teacher I am motivated by most of these reasons why a student would want lo learn another language. I think that the world is becoming more diverse everyday. I think that as humans we should want to learn from other cultures and probably embrace things from it. Diversity is important in every setting, it can be dangerous and complicated but if we all make an effort to respect and learn from other cultures, I think that we will be better off in the long run. Bpenn005 (talk) 02:52, 3 August 2009 (UTC)