The Importance Of Diversity In Education

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In my twenty-plus years as an educator, I have seen many changes in our educational system. I have witnessed the explosion of technology in instruction and the change to more rigorous, student-centered teaching. However, the biggest change I have witnessed has been in the families of my students. Not only has the family structure changed, but the diversity of the families I serve has changed, as well. Many of the students on our campus are now coming from limited English speaking or economically disadvantaged homes. However, as an educator, I am still responsible for meeting the educational needs of these diverse populations. Immigration is changing the composition of America and thereby changing the public education system. Lapkoff and…show more content…
One way is to help teachers understand the need to focus on the strengths, not the weaknesses, of the ELL students to help them be successful in a regular U.S. educational setting. Teachers should differentiate instruction to build on the students’ assets and encourage literacy skills applicable across all subject areas (Perez & Holmes, 2010). An area of concern for all students, but especially for ELL students, is content area vocabulary. Teachers need to find multiple ways to address content vocabulary. Graphic organizers, diagrams, charts, and other models can help bridge the language gap. These strategies would scaffold diverse students thereby providing a greater likelihood of participation and success within the classroom. In addition, educators need to remember to minimize the use of idioms and complex sentence structures when working with ELL students and include visuals and gestures as much as possible (Perez & Holmes, 2010). By building these connective strategies in classrooms, teachers can help ELL students transition into content areas and provide successful educational experiences for…show more content…
In 2000, Delores Pena studied the barriers that can occur in diverse populations. She found that disadvantaged parents often see school communities as part of a parent clique. Parents, especially those who are of low income, do not feel comfortable participating in schools because they feel that only parents who are in the clique are respected by teachers (Pena, 2000). Furthermore, the low income parents may feel that these clique parents look down on them. Whether these feelings are only perceived or if they are true, they still present a barrier that is hard to overcome. I know that in my own school, I have witnessed these types of parent cliques. Many low income parents don’t have the financial resources to buy the fanciest treats for parties or other class activities. As a teacher leader, I need to make all parents feel a part of the school culture. I would like to see teachers have more training and professional development on the effects poverty has on the economically disadvantaged students. It is important for teachers to realize the vast differences that exist among the financial resources of the students. Years ago, I overheard two parents talking in a local grocery store about an at-home project that their child’s teacher had sent home. One of the parents was complaining that the teacher sent home a project every month and this month she just didn’t
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