In this era of swift globalization and transborder cultural exchanges, diversity has emerged as a positive trend. All educational systems across the globe are now keen to develop diverse student communities. We need to realize further that this diversity can come in various forms.
Students can be diverse in terms of their cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic backdrops, talents, abilities, mindsets, and so on. The educator in you and your classroom can benefit a lot from such diversity. To elucidate this further, this post discusses the various effective ways to cultivate the actual merits of classroom diversity.
Talking about Australia in particular, the diversity in education is already widespread and further expanding. As cited by the Journal of Teacher Education, more than 40 percent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who is a migrant. Additionally, more than 20% of Aussies speak a language at home that differs from English. These credible statistics speak for the growing cultural and linguistic diversity in Australia’s educational scenarios.
Do you think this rapid rise in diversity is a boon or a bane? Well, it is what you make of it! But as a teacher, you need to look at the brighter side of things and utilize this diversification to enhance classroom learning. Everything has an upside and a downside, and so does multiculturalism in a STEM learning environment. You need to pick the advantages and work around them.
Let us see how you can practically utilize classroom diversity to enrich the learning experience of students.
How to use classroom diversity to enhance learning experiences
- Engage students in conducive discussions
Let diversity be on a roll in the classroom! The best way to make productive use of an assortment of identities in the school is to indulge in healthy discussions. What it will do is it will bring diverse opinions and viewpoints to the floor. In a diverse student community, different students will have different perspectives influenced by their respective backgrounds. So, when students hear each other’s viewpoints, it will promote active learning. Intriguing discussions are going to act as the perfect facilitators for such an exchange of thoughts.
Moreover, it will make students more curious to know about different cultures and topics. Diversity among students gives you a perfect opportunity to capture the curiosity of students. There is empirical evidence that kids love to interact in diverse social settings.
Research from the University of California puts forth the assertion that students feel much safer, less vulnerable to bullying, and less lonely. To add, diversity can also help students improve their grades as per this study. All that you need to do is, steer classroom diversity in the right direction. Are you game for it?
2. Brainstorm group activities
More than we learn from textbooks about life, we learn from each other. Given that, in a diverse setup, you should set your students free to learn from each other. Imagine how diversified the thought processes within a multicultural or multilingual class would be. Hence, it will be beneficial for students’ cognitive development if they learn from each other’s experiences, expressions, unique traits, and confidence. The best way to create such learning prospects is to devise engaging group activities.
When students learn cooperation and team-building among a group with varied mindsets, they will incorporate crucial life skills in their personas. In this direction, diverse classrooms can give students a broader scope for gaining exposure. This exposure will be priceless when students walk into their professional lives. To make this a functional reality, you need to develop the creativity that makes thinking outside the box a cakewalk for you!
3. Discourage discrimination in the classroom
Diversity in any sphere of life is vulnerable to discrimination, abuse, and bullying. The prospects of the same happening in a classroom environment are high as well. Students often learn from their surroundings, and if they see their peer groups exhibit discriminatory practices, they might pick the same. As a teacher, you need to make sure that your students only reap the positives of diversity.
If they instead indulge in discrimination and bullying, it may make the classroom environment toxic. This will further hamper the balance in the classroom and impact learning. Therefore, it is vital that you identify, discourage, and eliminate any form of racial abuse or inequality in the class. Simply put, to make the most of the pros of diversity, you need to mitigate the cons.
4. Cater to diverse learning needs
A heterogeneous classroom will throw some serious challenges at you. To explain, in a diverse classroom, students will have varied learning needs. As a teacher, you need to know your students well and identify their unique learning requirements. If you are successful in doing so, you will be able to create an appropriate learning environment.
Moreoverifse there is difficulty understanding a few students, you can always connect with parents. To add, you can also turn to adaptive learning techniques that will work as the ultimate tools for teaching a socially diverse classroom. Finally, you can utilize teaching approaches like project-based learning, differentiation in instructions, and so on.
To wrap up, in this modernized era, diversity reflects distinctively in the world’s ways. Talking about its influence on education, it has more merits to offer than demerits. Children must learn that nations and cultures need to work together to thrive in this new age. For that, their outlook toward diversity must be righteous. Who are they going to depend on for shaping their perception? You, teacher, are the answer!
Hence, the onus lies on you to work around classroom diversity pragmatically and smartly. You have to harvest the benefits of diversity in the classroom and make students believe in them. The subjectivity around the concept of diversity is alluring! Let us together foster a meaningful culture of co-existence and harmony. Such harmony that adds immense value to each other’s thoughts and learning will be priceless!