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This group advances tolerance and the understanding that diverse classrooms are a window into the real world. Join the group now to post your comments and questions.
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A Picture Walk (The Language-Rich Classroom)
Heidi_Dock, 3 years ago| FlagAs a substitute in 6 school districts throughout Lancaster county I have definitely seen a wide range of classrooms with little diversity and others with large amounts of diversity. It has been a great learning experience since I grew up in a small town where there was not much diversity. The district where I attended school currently has a total of about 30 students in the ESL program. As a student, I was never given books to read in school that would have been considered multicultural. ( I did have an advantage to have some multicultural books at home because my dad is a Spanish teacher! ) In the schools I have substituted in with little diversity, I have noticed the same deal with books. There are few opportunities for students to read multicultural books. As a future teacher, I have been building my classroom library with multicultural books for all grade levels of students but I have found that it is difficult to come across these types of books in bookstores. There are only a small section of them. This is very disappointing because, if there is diversity or not, students should be able to reach for multicultural books in their classroom or the library. This would be one suggestion to open students eyes to the world outside of their town. There is so much to learn and experience in other cultures...books would at least be a start! Any other suggestions to introduce diversity to a school with a small diverse population?
Valerie_Kohler, 3 years ago| FlagI think that having a multicultural classroom is an extremely important aspect in order for students to develop into well rounded students and citizens. It is very important for students to realize that there are other students in their class and all over the world who live a different culture and life style than themselves. Students should learn at an early eage of these differences and similarities. If students do not see this difference in the classroom, then they will live a more sheltered and one sided life than if they would become aware of the many cultures. We do students a diservice by pointing out the differences in the cultures, but never the similarities. If we are to show students about the different ethnicities and cultures in the world, than it is imperative that as teachers, we show how all people are alike as well so they can make personal connections with all types of cultures. One example I have it during a student teaching placement. I went into a school in Philadelphia for a field experience two years ago and all of the students were African American. The only white people in the class were myself and the classroom teacher. This led to the feeling that white people in general demanded more respect because they are in charge. In all reality, the majority of the teachers in the school were white and the majority of the students were black. This definitely led the students to think that because they are black and we are white and the roles that are in place currently in the school, that the white people think they are superior. If there would have been a mix of students in the classroom, then their feelings may have been altered because they could see someone else of a different race in their shoes, which would help them to make the connection. Unfortunately, many students continue this line of thinking for the rest of their lives because they are not informed of the reality earlier in life. The earlier students learn about the different races and cultures, the more likely that they will except them. I think that all teachers need to realize the importance of the mutlicultural classroom and take their knowledge to professionals who can advocate for the advancement of multicultural classes. What are some ways that students who are in an undergraduate program, but are very passionate about multicutural education can have their voices heard and make a change?
Jennifer_Lind, 3 years ago| FlagI really like the description of what the Multicultural Education Group stands for...advancing tolerance and understanding that diverse classrooms are a window into the real world. I think that so many people who become teachers (myself included) were really sheltered as students when it comes to the "real world". I went to a suburban school with little to no diversity. The "city" was an unheard of place and where all of the "bad things" seemed to happen. We did not have insight into what the "real world" was like! I never expected to be working in a school with much diversity, but I really glad I am. I now see that not everyone goes home to a loving mother and father that help them with their homework, take them to soccer practice and tuck them in with a kiss goodnight. How lucky was I to have this growing up? That is not the real world. The sad situations my students go home to is the reality for a lot of students. Even though my experiences were different, with empathy and understanding we are growing close as a class and exploring all of the diversity that our school has to offer. Just as I am teaching my students important lessons, they are teaching me about the "real world" and I'm loving every second of it.