Teachers must be constantly aware of the diversity found within their schools and classrooms in order to develop a richer understanding of the needs and abilities of each individual student. Diversity of socio-economic
status, diversity based on gender, and diversity based on abilities and talents can all be found within a single classroom. Teachers must be alert to these diversities and make adjustments to their teaching style to create a teaching method that is fitting to every student. It is a task everyday that the teacher must conquer. Everyday he or she must acknowledge what is working and what is not for the students. With minor tweaking and consideration a teacher can administer his or hers lesson plans in the most affective way.
Diversity of socio-economic status has increased due to immigration, which is widening the gap among the demographics of families. Students are coming from families that range in their educational levels, types of occupations and income. Also, family connections, residential living area and recreational choices are considered socio-economic factors. Consequently, when comparing two students who have an extreme difference in their family’s socio-economic status, the teacher may have the reevaluate using the same methods for each student.
The students who come from well-off families may be able to afford more educational activities outside the classroom. Also, these families are typically made up of parents with a higher educational level and can offer their child help in advancing their knowledge, while students with uneducated parents, who are living in a poorer residential area may be at a disadvantage. They may not be provided with resources that can expand their knowledge. This is evident in the book Among School Children, written by Tracy Kidder. One student named Clarence lived in the Flats, which is the low-income part of Holyoke, MA. Clarence struggled throughout school and Mrs. Zajac was constantly trying to readjust and try new methods in reaching out to her student. However, in this instance Clarence transfers to a school that is better suited for his difficulties in learning and behaving. Nonetheless, Mrs. Zajac’s efforts are noted because she was aware of her student’s diversity and made consistent efforts to reevaluate her methods of teaching.
Even within homogenous groups of students diversity can be found. The diversity here is usually based on abilities, talents and interests. In towns that are typically made up of families with the same socio-economic status, children enter school on the same level. No child seems to be at an extreme disadvantage from another. However, certain students will be interested in specific subjects while other students will be talented in different areas. If the teacher is alert to these diversities he or she can change their lesson plans accordingly and help to develop the abilities of the students who struggle in catching on to certain subject areas. Classrooms are often made up of students who are gifted and talented, and teachers must also strive to push and expand the knowledge of those students, rather than just allowing them to maintain on the same level of the other children. Moreover, teachers must expand their talented student’s knowledge, while not putting down their average or disadvantaged students.
Teachers must be conscious of the many diversities within their classrooms. Diversity based on gender is often something teachers do not consciously acknowledge. However, it has been proven that the experience of girls is much different from that of boys in the classroom. In most cases, girls are not called upon as often as boys. Teachers consistently do not encourage girls to expand upon their ideas as much as boys. Therefore, they are not pushed to think further on certain subjects. It is also noted that girls are not as good in Math and Science. Because of the fact that girls are not expected to achieve to the level of boys, it limits them, and does not push them into advancement. Despite all this, it is the boys who are in more remedial and special education classes. Also, more boys have behavioral problems. Moreover, teachers should be aware of this prejudice and vow to promote equal learning levels among both boys and girls.
How is it possible for teachers to be completely aware of the diversity within their classroom? Well, this is not an easy task. On occasion, teachers can make assumptions from first impressions; however, these are not always accurate. By asking students questions regarding their families and their homes they can get a better understanding of where the child comes from. Also, parent- teacher conferences can help the teacher understand the parents of each child and see whether they are promoting their child’s education. This research can be helpful to get background information. However, throughout the course of the year, it is vital that the teacher continues to adjust and configure the best methods for each child. Every day is a learning day for the teacher as well as the student.
Diversity within classrooms can become less of a factor with the full effort of the teachers. If teachers alert themselves to diversity of socio-economic status, gender and abilities, they can adapt ways to ensure each child is being pushed to their full potential. However, teachers must accept that some students may have higher potential than others, and those students should be allowed to reach further, rather than staying on the same level and the same ordered curriculum. Teachers withhold the power to better each individual student that enters their classroom, no matter what diversities they may struggle with.