Teaching to Diversity Cover. (Accessed 2014). Uploaded to Amazon; Portage& Main Press.
Available online at: http://www.amazon.ca/Teaching-Diversity-Three-Block-Universal-Learning/dp/1553793536
This chapter starts us off by looking at the concept of diversity and what it looks like in the classroom. A quick Google search defines diversity as:
"Diversity is neurological. Diversity is societal. Diversity is human.
Teaching to diversity requires that teachers create a learning climate
in the classroom and devise activities that allow all children to feel
safe, respected, and valued for what they have to contribute."
- Page 3
Diversity & Social and Emotional Learning
- Shift towards inclusive education of the past few years
- Classroom climates need to be built upon compassion, community, and understanding
- At the same time, curriculum requirements are growing
- Students enter the classroom with various levels of social-emotional states and
we must be prepared to teach and nurture that aspect of their lives, in addition to
the academic curriculum
Social Inclusion & Social Exclusion
- Inclusion = all students have opportunities to learn, grow, and belong
- Aboriginal schools typically receive less funding
- Students with disabilities often spend time outside of the classroom
- Laidlaw Foundation 5 Criteria for Successful Social Inclusion
1 ) Valued Recognition
- Giving credit where credit is due
2 ) Human Development
- Supporting specific talents & interests of others to recognize
that they can make a positive difference in the world around them
3 ) Involvement & Engagement
- Being involved, and having a voice in, decisions occurring around them
4 ) Proximity
- Sharing of social spaces
5 ) Material Well-Being
- Available material resources for full participation
- On page 7, it mentions that, "...working on a modified program in a regular classroom
... is not real inclusion." This part confuses me because I have two students in my
Grade 8 room that are on a modified program (approx. Kindergarten level) and I feel
like they are included in what we do... what would true inclusion look like for them if
this is not it?
Diversity & Academic Complexity
- Meeting the academic needs of all of our students at the same time can be challenging
- In the past (and sometimes still):
- Lower-level learners spend most of their time on rote-worksheet activities
with an EA rather than more time with a qualified teacher
- Higher-level learners are fast-tracked or placed in enrichment programs that
are intellectually stimulating but socially isolating
- How come we tend to place our low-level students with an EA when our high-level
students can often grasp content without a lot of teacher support (they don't need us!)
Academic Inclusion & Academic Exclusion
- Inclusion = all students are enrolled in close schools, are responsibility of the classroom
teacher, and are all provided with an opportunity, regardless of outside factors
- Exclusion = enrolment denial, tailored academic exposure, time away from specific
staff, time away from peers
- How do you teach a math class where some students are factoring trinomials and others
are learning to recognize their numbers from 0-100?
I WANT TO KNOW:
What is the biggest diversity challenge you have to overcome in your classroom?
What does true inclusion look like when students cognitive ability places them 8 grades lower than their peer group?
Please leave your thoughts below :)