Teaching Diversity in the Classroom
What's It All About?
Teaching diversity in the classroom covers such a broad spectrum when you think about the various concepts related to teaching diverse students.
This page touches on a few areas that I focused on when I taught and mentored to new and inexperienced teachers.
One is implementing diverse instructional skills using various teaching strategies to engage your students and shaping instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners. I have already written about the three basic types of learners that you may have in your class - visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
Of course, you have to keep that in mind in when planning and then teaching your lessons as well as when you are having a class, group or even individual discussions.
It seems like a lot you have to consider and keep in mind. However, after a while, you will know your students and their capabilities, can plan accordingly and then it will become second nature to you.
I do discuss these different learning styles in more detail on several of my pages, so please check them out because they are part of teaching diversity in the classroom.
Have you ever thought about changing your instructional methods when teaching your lessons? I have observed many teachers who teach standing in front of the classroom (lecture style). After a while the students just look right through you , lose interest and become inattentive.
Remember, you are not glued to the floor - circulate, move around the room as you are teaching/talking. Your legs/feet don't become numb and you won't get pins and needles in your feet. Watch your students' eyes as they follow you around the room and listen to you speak.
Try varying the tone of your voice to maintain student interest which is also quite effective with
Continuing to plan for differentiated instruction also enhances your teaching diversity in the classroom.
I have already mentioned the lecture style of teaching. But, be creative - teaching the same way ALL the time becomes boring, children lose interest and you can get into a rut and then all your hard work of planning, organizing and teaching your lessons is wasted.
Create group activities (4, no more than 5 in a group)- make sure everyone is assigned a job and co-operates and participates (misbehaviour will arise). You should create the groups - you have control and know who works well with who.
Partner activities is another way to go depending on what concept you're teaching.
Centers are great (terrific for Science experiments) - even have students lead an activity or lesson.
Also don't forget the use of technology - powerpoint, document camera, elmo, smartboard, you tube, and on and on ..
When teaching diversity in the classroom, culturally responsive teaching always comes into play. This means respecting the various cultures and experiences of different groups and then using these as resources for your teaching and students' learning (through learning of their celebrations, holidays and traditions).
Culturally responsive teaching closes the gap between school and home and the community at large. It implements a range of instructional techniques which connect to different learning styles and the needs of the students. It calls for the respect and addresses the individuality of all learners (cultural heritage, gender, special needs, religion,etc.)
Accommodations (enrichment and/or support) and modifications are also a part of teaching diversity in the classroom. When you are planning your daily lessons, quizzes, tests, projects, etc., you must prepare for accommodations/modifications for your diverse learners.
For example, you are teaching a math lesson and there are 25 questions to complete for homework, certain students should do only 17 of those questions. If you have ESL students, perhaps you can create an activity sheet related to the topic taught (sometimes that is not possible). On the other hand, you can create enrichment activities for those students who finish quickly or for those who love a new challenge.
To top it off, as you create, enforce and maintain all these new and unique methods of teaching diversity in the classroom, you ALWAYS have to keep in mind, classroom management, behaviour and discipline.
Having you students engaged and keeping their interest at the same time, having them maintain appropriate behaviour individually or in small and large groups is also a challenge, but I know you are up to it.
After you have read and digested this page, I hope you have gained valuable insight into the diverse and significant requirements expected of you as a teacher and can implement many of the components when teaching diversity in the classroom.
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