In what ways might you experience diversity in a classroom? What strategies might you use to help provide equal learning outcomes for all? Diversity occurs in many forms within the classroom environment and necessitates the knowledge of the whole child, testing the skills and insight of the teacher. Children do not differ solely in their academic aptitude but in their behavioural, motivational and emotional needs as well.
The inefficiencies in any of these areas can be the result of a great variety of reasons and therefore overcoming or resolving these issues relies on knowing the individual and their needs explicitly in addition to comprehensive awareness of the alternative strategies that can be used. Successful teaching encompasses three main components, the teaching, the students and the teacher. Effectiveness requires thorough understanding of all three.
The teaching involves the content being taught and the pedagogy used to convey that content. Nonetheless, before strategic planning begins, part two of the puzzle must be understood, the children. How do they learn? What are their strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly, their needs? This must be approached with the overall class and each individual in mind. Knowing the child starts primarily by examining the backgrounds of students especially by considering and respecting differing family values and beliefs.
According to Groundwater-Smith et al. (2003) teachers must diagnose and continually monitor their students’ learning to identify needs and abilities. As Nieto argues, students are often treated differently because of the way their differences are perceived rather than because of these differences per se. (Nieto, 2002, as quoted in Groundwater-Smith et al, 2003, p. 4). Any differences or disabilities require particular attention with considerations to individual needs.
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