Diversity in the classroom may encompass age, learning styles, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ethnic background. Educators seek to create an inclusive classroom atmosphere that celebrates diversity and helps students to take the concept beyond the classroom. Approaches to promoting diversity can be tailored to elementary, middle school, high school and college classrooms as deemed appropriate.
Promote Diversity at the Elementary School Level
Brainstorm with the class a list of classroom privileges , such as line leader or class monitor. These will vary according to the grade level and particular behavior patterns of the classroom.
Read "The Sneetches" by Dr. Seuss to students to introduce the concept of discrimination.
Divide the class in two; attach a green star to each individual of one group of students.
Allow the green starred group some or all of the privileges.
Reverse the “privileged students” after an appropriate time frame, which will be determined by the grade level.
Discuss the experience with the class as it related to the book and their own feelings about being different from other classmates or how they treat students who are different.
Promoting Diversity at the Middle School Level
Assign students to research their ethnic backgrounds.
Display a map. Have students pinpoint their family's country of origin.
Divide students into pairs. Make sure that each pair includes two students with diverse backgrounds.
Assign students to interview each other and collaborate on a presentation for the class.
Expand the interview process by using the Internet to find and communicate with classrooms in other countries or with students of other nationalities.
Promoting Diversity through Cooperative Groups at the College Level
Get to know your students. Assign a brief autobiography that is relevant to course content.
Familiarize yourself with all cultural or racial backgrounds that are submitted to you.
Create a classroom climate that allows students a forum for discussion and interaction.
Group students into cooperative groups for in-class or out-of-class projects. Group the students heterogeneously to allow for interaction of all students.
Remind students of strengths that individuals who are different from them may bring to the project. Be prepared to intervene if problems arise. Create class time to address issues, if necessary.
Things You Will Need
- Copy of "The Sneetches"
- Stick stars
- World map
- Internet access
- spinning globe on white background image by Matthew Antonino from Fotolia.com