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Quality Indicator: “The undergraduate or graduate teacher candidate understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.”
Diversity is the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization. Although some diversity within the classroom is obvious, some forms are not automatically visible. Students come from different racial, ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds as well as different learning styles, different levels of motivation, and different opinions. As an educator, I feel that it is extremely important to be able to recognize and accommodate all aspects of diversity.
While completing my observation hours for Field Experience 1, I have become very aware of the types of diversity that exists within the classroom. I am currently placed in a language arts course for juniors and seniors. There are students within the class that have developmental disabilities and a CWC teacher assists the classroom teacher in order to reach these students more effectively. Although children with special needs are greatly influenced when placed within a regular classroom, children without disabilities are also affected. While special needs students learn certain behavior norms, other students are able to recognize, appreciate, and become inspired by their peers, relationships are often formed differences aside.
In my classroom, I plan on acknowledging that diversity is in fact present at all times and is not just limited to specific months and seasons. Although I do intend to celebrate special holidays and history months, I do feel that it is important to hold more frequent discussions in relation to these topics. I also feel that it is important to raise awareness and show students that I hold a zero tolerance rule for discrimination and/or bullying of any kind. I will not allow negative comments or poor treatment to any individual in regards to skin color, dress, speech, etc. Respect is an important part of my life and I plan to encourage and endorse it within my classroom. By promoting diversity in the classroom, I will make students feel secure and involved. This behavior also shows other students that it is important to appreciate the backgrounds of their classmates.
I feel that as a teacher in today’s society, it is extremely important to be versatile and flexible. By utilizing differentiated instruction techniques, educators are able to influence and bond with more students. The majority of classrooms include students from various backgrounds as well as different learning styles. Harvard Professor Howard Gardner believed that all people have many different types of intelligences. The multiple intelligences are interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, mathematical and logical, visual and spatial, kinesthetic, musical, naturalist and spiritual and moral. By being specific and attentive I plan to incorporate all of these intelligences within my lesson plans and classroom environment. I feel that this alone will encourage students to think outside of the box, and be eager to learn unknown skills and traits. Although mathematics and language are the most common scholarly intelligences, all of the multiple intelligences are an important part of development and learning. I feel that if I am able to recognize and understand multiple intelligences within my classroom, I will be more effective in reaching my students.
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I feel that teachers can support a diverse group by recognizing strengths and weaknesses and also by encouraging students to accept each other regardless of differences. I plan to celebrate diversity through activities that fuel reflection and by holding discussions that explore unity even where differences do in fact exist. Some things that I plan on doing within my classroom to promote diversity include; establishing expectations during the first week of school, and by playing ice-breaker and team-building games. By encouraging conversation, inviting in guest speakers, and including activities that explore many different cultural viewpoints and customs, I will successfully honor diversity within my classroom. I believe that by communicating respectfully and promoting student learning both inside and outside of the classroom, differences will be rejoiced.
As a teacher, I will continue to work to improve my knowledge of diversity by actively learning about the cultures represented in the neighborhoods of my students’ and their families. I will also take part in local charities and events to create relationships with those within the community. I plan to effectively design activities and lesson plans to adapt and appeal to the diversity of the students I teach. I will continue to observe and learn from experienced educators, and seek the advice of my peers when available. Diversity is something that will be forever present in society as well as within the classroom. As an educator it is important that my students feel comfortable, safe, and accepted in order to ensure development and learning.
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