Education

The Challenges of Diversity in the Classroom – How to Overcome It?

A diverse classroom benefits students immensely. It makes them more cognizant of their own culture and increases their participation and ability to feel happier overall. Providing such an environment ensures that students come to class ready to learn, which is a beautiful sight to behold. However, this optimism can be dented by teachers who don’t adopt inclusive strategies.

Good teachers are the driving force behind inclusive learning spaces. Creating a holistic and tolerant environment in any classroom model is only a matter of planning. Teachers should develop their cultural sensitivity and remove any barriers that may prevent their students from learning.

It all begins with the simple act of asking questions. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to your students and help them feel welcomed as they journey through their academic life. Even simple, intentional contact can make a positive difference. If you run into a dead-end, don’t worry, as here are some simple steps you can take to overcome barriers to diversity in your classroom:

1. Create Diverse Lesson Plans

The best way to foster cultural awareness is through diverse lesson plans. It would help if you tried broadening the subject material you cover, such as exploring World history instead of US history alone. Widening the material encourages students to research and share concepts from their own cultures. It helps them feel represented and gives everyone in the class the benefit from learning novel viewpoints. While some teachers can do this instinctively, others need a little help.

You can create a diverse syllabus by pursuing a degree in curriculum design. Technology has made it easier to create curriculums aligned with new inclusivity norms. You can easily learn how to improve your curriculum design and instructional skills by enrolling in an online masters in Curriculum and Instruction program. A master’s degree in this field can help you become an asset to your students and ensure that they feel comfortable in your classes.

Diverse lesson planning will also help your students become more aware of society’s shortcomings. They will also gain a better understanding of the world beyond school. Through Your dedication, you will contribute to the creation of a new generation of tolerant people.

2. Learn About Your Students

Introductions are a pleasant way to bring warmth to the classroom. Since you’ll be working with your students for a while, why not get to know them better? Your interest will help you cultivate a better and more diverse learning environment that is more useful to students than generic techniques.

Dialoguing is the best way to build a bond with your students. Don’t let communication be a one-way street. While they talk about themselves, share pieces of yourself to put them at ease as well. You can ask about their hobbies, learning styles, and upbringing. If a student is comfortable sharing more, let them. The act of sharing and learning is helpful for you and your students to develop insight and helps you take care of them properly.

Students feel appreciated when they feel heard. You will notice that not only will they respond to your class lessons but actively participate in projects. It may also be easier for them to make friends and enjoy spending time with them because you encouraged them to talk. You can also create special lectures that incorporate their hobbies into the curriculum, which will make you their favorite in no time.

3. Establish Transparent Communication

Communication is the core of successful teaching. Since you want more inclusivity within classrooms, make yourself comfortable with open dialogue. Your students will need you to be reliably there for them. Whether they wish to discuss sensitive issues like bullying or show appreciation for your techniques, always be ready for the conversation.

When you talk to students in a group or individually, you also know what you may lack or benefit them while learning. It will also determine if your students react positively to a unique classroom environment, as well as your understanding of diversity. Thus, consider these talks as a form of self-assessment.

More transparency will also help you take care of students better. You get an opportunity to help them find careers, work on their grades and even integrate more robust anti-bullying policies in school. When students know a teacher stands with them, they feel relaxed and confident enough to work on their future instead of trying to blend in skittishly. So, don’t worry if you think you’re talking too much – all you’re doing is paving a better environment.

4. Become Culturally Sensitive

Sometimes, you may come across as offensive in the attempt to become diverse, but that’s easily redeemable. When you become culturally sensitive, you understand where to draw boundaries and not overdo the process. Your students are your best guide. They can inform you what terms they’re not comfortable with, making you more inclusive. Students may also take cues from this behavior and become more sensitive in their interactions with their peers.

Cultural sensitivity is also an excellent way to get involved with your lesson plans. It will help select appropriate topics and resources that can make learning more diverse. The inclusive environment will boost student morale and help them see you as the teacher they need, not the one they’re obliged to listen to.

5. Give Students Breathing Room

It’s okay to give your students room to digest what you’re teaching and make mistakes. As a teacher, you shouldn’t micromanage to create a perfect environment; it will stress you and make learning hard.

Students who have the freedom to explore a topic and subject do better; the key is to give them an opportunity. Allow them to bring their material, use their resources and create projects that help them highlight what diversity means for them. You can encourage and mediate healthy debates without making students feel cornered about sharing work.

Different approaches also encourage students to think when they’re working in groups and come up with informed solutions to various school projects and assignments. Your trust and faith in your students will help them flourish, grow and find their learning curve. So, save yourself the stress and let your students take the reigns from time to time.

Final Thoughts

The world is becoming incredibly diverse, and schools should follow suit. While traditional methods were helpful for a period, the world has since shifted. As a teacher, you play a pivotal role in shaping a diverse and inclusive environment.

All efforts you put into making your classroom more diverse will bear fruit, from learning about your students to giving them space to work out their grievances. All it takes is a little understanding and guidance on your part, and you will have a welcoming and wholesome classroom. 

Also Read: Ways you can Diversify your Business

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