Sunday, April 9, 2023

Dealing with Classroom Diversity

Classroom diversity has become quite a buzz word lately. Somehow because your classroom is full if diverse learning styles, you need to change the way you teach. The truth is, good teaching is still good teaching.

You create different lessons and assignments to accommodate every student. If you do, you will indeed succeed at doing nothing. You, as the teacher, need to devise lesson plans to reach all students at the same time. We underestimate our students quite a bit. Your students are adaptable. Your students can learn. Your students can also see right through you. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Real life is not about accommodations that put a divide between us.

Real life is learning to adapt, follow rules, and get ahead in spite of obstacles. The only guidelines should be to make your lesson plans grade, subject, and age appropriate.

Respect. The number one issue. If you respect all students in your classroom, you will watch what you say and how you say it. As a teacher, you cannot be demeaning to anyone at anytime. You cannot, as a teacher, comment aloud about a students race, clothes, make-up, etc. (This does not include school dress code violations.) Do not talk to girls differently than you talk to boys. Do not call on boys more. Do not speak differently to a student of a different race. They know what you're doing. They'll think you are talking that way because of their racial make-up. Teachers should treat each and every student with respect. Isn't it funny how this is opposite of what you have heard? How teachers need to treat students differently? Your classroom needs to be transparent. Do not have favorite students.

 Do not change assignments for different students. If you change, change for all. An example would be writing reports. If it is important for you to have students write about George Washington, then they all should write about George Washington. It has been deemed important. However, if possible, the assignment should be changed to writing about any historical figure from the Revolutionary War.

This isn't about changing for different students, this is about changing to good teaching. Writing a report on the historical figure of their choice is much better teaching and learning. But at the same time, you cannot discount that learning about George Washington is valuable.

Almost all things you have been taught to do or not do to certain students is already something that you should do or not do for all students anyway! Examples I have heard: Some students like more hands-on. But you should already be giving ALL students more hands on! Some students learn by movement. But you should already be doing more movement! Some students need written instructions. All students should have clear written instructions!

Many examples that college professors come up with to accommodate certain students is actually beneficial for all students. That is the point of this article.

Every teacher early on in the school year, needs to get to know their students. Your classroom is your classroom. It is not your college professor's classroom. It is not the teacher next door's classroom. You and you alone should be the sole judge as to what works and doesn't work in your classroom. You have a set curriculum. Teach it in a way that is comfortable for you and your students. Somehow politics has mixed up what a teacher is supposed to do. Yes. There are rare, and we mean rare, instances when specific things for specific students need to be addressed. The bottom line again, for teachers, is that good teaching is good teaching, no matter what kinds of students you have.

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