Posted BY: Karla Diaz
Classrooms today are more diverse than ever (whether its race, ethnicity, or gender diversity), and as educators we should be prepared to work effectively with the broad range of learners within our classrooms. I usually teach Latinos because it is the population I feel the most comfortable with, but recently my students have been more diverse. This has made me think more about my effectiveness in delivering knowledge and information to diverse groups. I seek to improve my skills on a daily bases and recently I found a book that was very helpful in helping me analyze who I am in the classroom and what I should be doing to help all learners feel welcomed and validated (ideally).
The book is called Tools of Teaching by Gross Davis.
This book provides strategies to help educators become better teachers in diverse classrooms. The strategies are the following:
• Recognize any biases or stereotypes you may have absorbed.
• Treat each student as an individual, and respect each student for whom he or she is.
• Rectify any language patterns or case examples that exclude or demean any groups.
• Do your best to be sensitive to terminology (stay updated on terminology).
• Get a sense of how students feel about the cultural climate in your classroom.
• Introduce discussions of diversity at department meetings.
The book also provides a list of things educators should do to improve the effectiveness of lessons in diverse classrooms. The list that was most beneficial to my professional growth was the “classroom discussion list” which provides guidelines to improve classroom discussions in diverse classrooms. The guidelines are:
• Emphasize the importance of considering different approaches and viewpoints.
• Make it clear that you value all comments.
• Encourage all students to participate in class discussion.
• Monitor your own behavior in responding to students.
• Reevaluate your pedagogical methods for teaching in a diverse setting.
• Speak up promptly if a student makes a distasteful remark even jokingly.
• Avoid singling out students as spokespersons (it is unfair to have a person talk about his or her entire race, culture, or nationality).
These strategies and guidelines were helpful in helping me to conduct myself better in the classroom. Some things that I try to do when I am in a diverse classroom are:
- Gather information about how diverse the classroom is and do some research about them before beginning the class.
- Be attentive to what students needs during the lesson.
- Provide resources that are in the person’s language or tailored to the person culture.
- Offer extra help to students who have doubts about material
And in the classroom:
- Give everyone an equal opportunity to participate while acknowledging the people who raise their hand.
- Listen to the students and use their examples to explain concepts or ideas.
- Use the students name or nickname if this is proffered by the student.
- Encourage the students to critically analyze the lesson material.
- Give the students sufficient time to process information and ask questions.
- Giving feedback that goes along with the discussion.
I would like to know what other educators do to be effective educators in diverse classrooms. Please share your experiences or your thoughts.
Davis, B. G. (2009). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Post by: Karla Diaz