As an educator, your mission is to teach your students about a wide variety of concepts, theories, subjects and cultures. In that pursuit of learning, many teachers find themselves wondering, how can I create an inclusive and well-rounded curriculum? While that can mean teaching about lesser-known historical events or unique grammatical nuances, it can also be as simple as teaching students about diversity, inclusion and acceptance of perspectives and cultures that are different from theirs.
Unfortunately, these are not universally taught concepts, so teachers don’t have as many resources at their disposal. To help you get started, here is our quick guide to teaching diversity in the classroom.
To define diversity in the classroom, it helps to understand what diversity is in and of itself. Simply put, diversity is everything that makes people different from each other, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability or religious belief.
When it comes to education, diversity in the classroom is a phrase that refers to “a broad range of ideas and initiatives to create learning environments that are safe, inclusive and equitable for as many identities as possible. Recognizing, fostering and developing sensitivity to the needs of people in various identity categories are primary aims of educational diversity.”
The benefits of teaching diversity are statistically proven to improve a number of student outcomes. The following are just a few results from years of research and study into the value of including diversity teachings in the classroom.
1. According to research conducted by Queens University of Charlotte, when lesson plans reflect the students and their varied backgrounds, they develop a deeper knowledge of a subject as they explore it from varying perspectives.
2. Studies have shown that having diverse classrooms helps develop tolerance and a greater sense of security when in environments with other foreign cultures present. It also helps students learn about other languages and cultures, encouraging them to be interculturally sensitive.
3. When working and learning with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, students gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
4. Diversity among students in education directly impacts their performance. Studies show that students work better in a diverse environment, enabling them to concentrate and push themselves further when there are people of other backgrounds working alongside them.
5. Teaching diversity in the classroom promotes creativity, as well as better education, as those with differing viewpoints are able to collaborate to create solutions.
Use our handy 3-page Classroom Management Template to create a plan for everything that goes into successfully operating a classroom.
There are a handful of reputable online resources for educators looking to teach diversity in their classrooms in some form or fashion. Some of these resources come from nonprofits dedicated to diversity initiatives while others are from education-focused websites and organizations.
Teaching diversity and inclusion can feel like an abstract concept. However, there are professional development programs that have courses dedicated to teaching these concepts across all grade levels. At the University of San Diego Division of Professional and Continuing Education, we proudly offer our Teaching for Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity in the Classroom series. This collection of courses focuses on giving educators the skills and strategies needed to create a culturally inclusive classroom, while also helping them to value inclusion and promote cultural respect and tolerance within their daily lives.
Diversity in the classroom is a phrase that refers to “a broad range of ideas and initiatives to create learning environments that are safe, inclusive and equitable for as many identities as possible. Recognizing, fostering and developing sensitivity to the needs of people in various identity categories are primary aims of educational diversity.”
There are a number of studies that show the many benefits of teaching diversity, some of which include: students have been proven to perform better, they learn tolerance and cultural sensitivity, and students work and learn better in a diverse environment.
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