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In the state of Idaho, diversity in education has for long been the issue of major educational concern. Whether in high schools, in colleges, or universities – diversity remains a problem due to the whole set of obstacles that education professionals face on their way to developing and implementing effective cultural strategies. It appears that on the one hand, it is not easy to develop a cultural strategy that would effectively work in the long run. On the other hand, businesses are not prepared to accept and hire diverse populations that have just been students and learned to promote diversity as an essential component of individual and societal culture. Diversity begins with effective quality education, and whenever we will seek to create multifaceted cultural strategies in schools, they will be readily reflected in business and market environments, for these are also shaped by those who graduate from schools and who are actively involved in various types of cultural initiatives that are closely aligned with the major goals in education.
Objectively, and contrary to someone’s expectations, businesses need to be more attentive to what globalization tells them about diversity. The liberalization of commercial exchange and commodification of culture about which Kamensky (2008, 14) writes are nothing else than the major drivers of cultural diversification, which is equally important for business and education. Moreover, multiculturalism in education is the necessary prerequisite of major successes in other fields of human performance. That is why to promote these changes, there is a growing need to change curriculum and to integrate traditional curriculum disciplines with multicultural studies. In a multicultural society, and as a result, in the atmosphere of multicultural education, children are given better chances and opportunities to become educated about the multiple strands of the past that have created webs of the present. In many instances, multicultural education is the means to teach children to look through the prism of multiple multicultural experiences and to catch up with the rapid cultural changes that are characteristic of present-day societies. To be respectful and ethnic toward people from other ethnic and cultural groups is impossible without creating an effective system of multicultural education that will take various forms and will be closely aligned with the major operations at school. Teachers at school should know and be able to explain historical and cultural questions from different cultural perspectives. Moreover, the cultural knowledge of pupils with various backgrounds can be successfully used by teachers to broaden the scope of classroom education and learning and to give other pupils a chance to review their cultural attitudes toward their classmates. Finally, diversity can be used as the instrument to involve children in various types of cultural extracurricular activities, which in their turn will produce significant positive impacts on children’s interaction in class.
Hudson and Fradd (1998, 16) made the conclusion that the greatest difficulties people face while exploring diversity are related to culture. In fact people had a big difficulty in agreeing what perception of culture should become the dominant one. The other research implication is that people are introduced to hundreds of definitions for culture. Under the circumstances like these people might find it difficult to find the common thread that ties each of the various definitions together. This threat lies in the idea that culture is connected to a human-made part of the environment. When connected together, these parts represent different aspects of nature.
Cushner (2003) is known for having identified 12 sources of cultural identity. These can be divided in the following manner: race, ethnicity, nationality, social class, sex/gender, health, age, geographic region, sexuality, religion, social status, language, ability/disability. According to Bourdieu (32), education culture has a strong influence on teaching and learning. When combined together, these things are universal to the present-day culture. The same thing can be told about cultural knowledge. These things are usually filtered or transmitted to the individuals through the help of numerous socializing agents. These include family, school, church, community. In reality, the major features of cultural strategies in the U.S. include direct orientation on actions and huge investments into cultural programs that do not always produce anticipated results. Dixon & Fraser (272) state that American commitment to cultural strategies is an increasingly positive cultural feature, it is difficult to deny these commitments and interventions are effective only at the initial stage of their implementation, whereas the future is unlikely to become a favorable environment for the development of such policies.
The Idaho state authorities introduce different programs and initiatives in order to level racial and national differences in education. Involving students into observation and discussion is just another means to review the major benefits and drawbacks of the current cultural programs. Teachers should be prepared to deal with different students, different cultures, and different personalities. Simultaneously, students should know that they can always address their teachers for assistance and that their teachers are primarily there for cultural education and cultural understanding (Idaho State Education System 2009). Teachers are responsible for practicing consideration, and for developing multicultural strategies that would help students learn in one and the same way. Teachers should also discover the multiple ways of leaning that would help particular students fit into specific cultural environments. Teaching multiculturalism is important for the aims of monitoring student progress and increasing the effectiveness of student input and output in learning. Finally, even with these boundaries and criteria of cultural learning delineated, teachers should feel free to make reasonable choice on the way students have to be taught. According to the research, several elements of diversity have been reviewed and studied in the recent research (Idaho State Education System 2009). Researchers seemed to probe many important things. First of all, the research into the issue helped the people to preserve a number of important things. The first and foremost thing is preserving teachers’ attitudes and dispositions towards diversity. The final effect is based on the effect of required multicultural courses (Torres, n/a).
This urgency nationwide is used with the aim to create awareness of cultural diversity. The idea was based on the fact that there is the increasing number of minority students who abide at different places. The above mentioned behaviours help the people to reinforce numerous feelings in the people. Usually these feelings help the students to better perceive their own sense of alienation. This process helps to hinder students’ personal, academic, and professional development (Banks and Banks 65). Some recommendations have been made regards to improving the students’ overall awareness of classroom environment. The measure has been taken with the aim to instil in students the value of diversity in teaching and learning included.
The main objectives to be reached in the cause of the study were divided according to the following principle:
- Being aware of stereotypes. Instructors should took much time and patience to assume that women students show the tendency to shun projects that quantitative work. Usually people are fully aware of their own biases. This fact helps people to deal to promote a number of important things. One of these is promoting a sense of fairness and equality in the classroom.
- Staying away from protecting any group can be regarded as rather complicated process. The procedure is comprised of numerous processes. When properly handled the procedure helps people to avoid a number of important stereotypes.
- Under the circumstances like these many instructors are facing numerous challenges. Many of these challenges are caused by the difficulty that might be met by the different groups of people who are trying to avoid preferential treatment for minorities. Just the same thing can be told about foreign students. Many of these people are characterized by having a strong belief in the system they live in.
- Many of the people may face the need for extra help. The need is caused by the language difficulty. The above mentioned fact may lead to lowering standards of people’s life. The other important consideration is that the children may be left less prepared. This fact gives children an opportunity to feel that they are not fairly treated. One more interesting thing is that the instructor considers minority children to be a group of less prepared people. This fact gives students a chance to feel that they are not fairly treated. The other important benefit of this kind of treatment option is the fact that it helps people to undermine their self-esteem. This thing provides people with rather different view on their abilities and competence (Hall & Sandler, 1982).
- Sensitivity to students’ geographical or societal backgrounds is one more thing that matters. This thing helps students to perceive the fact that there is a number of very important things that matter. Hispanic students are the group of people that show the tendency to be different from the other groups of people. The major research implication is that the Hispanic group of people should be more carefully studied than any other group that has ever been engaged in the research.
- The use of politically correct terminology is also very important thing. This thing helps people to become politically correct citizens. The idea is based on the use of the modern terminology that is frequently applied in the classroom. This thing helps to keep in mind the fact that the classroom can be regarded as a laboratory for the students’ workplace.
- Instructors are the people who set an example for future graduates. This example is used in reference to different groups of people. There are many ways in which students can be accepted in human society (Idaho State Education System 2009).
In many cases these people show the tendency to avoid the use of the work “black”, thus preferring to use African American name. The same thing can be told in reference to Native Americans or American Indians. These people also represent the group of national minorities.
The state initiatives are characterized by many important things. One of these things is flexibility issue. In many cases this things is caused by a combination of a number of factors. One of these factors is a growing realization of the desirability of flexibility and diversity. In the majority of cases, the problem is caused by the need to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ mentality in education. The same thing can be told about a vision of development that is closely related to human thinking. One interesting implication has been once made by Rogers (1999). According to the researcher, the human existence is characterized by the presence of three main development discourses. The combination of these discourses helps to influence every field of human education. The first discourse was known to be based on the idea of deficit. As for the second one, this kind of discourse dealt with disadvantages that are posed on the humanity by diversity (Idaho State Education System 2009).
Effective Educational Initiatives
Effective Educational Practices have been drawn on the basis of extensive research. In general, the main objective of the research is to provide effective instruction for teachers in the context of cultural diversity. According to the recent research, effective instruction is able to reach many important objectives. One of these objectives is warranting careful research. The main implication of the research is that minimal attention has been paid to school- and district-level factors. The combination of these things is able to meet many important goals. One of these goals is facilitating effective instruction in prekindergarten programs. The programs are subjected towards the groups of ethnic and language-minority children. The Idaho programs are subjected to meet the following objectives:
- Creating the conditions for early work
- Creating an appropriate models aimed at teacher training. The combination of these models is aimed at promoting the experimental approach to instruction. Usually, the process is signified by the term “reflective practitioner”.
- The other important objective is incorporating parents in the future research. Usually the parents are involved in incorporating people in the young children’s early school experiences. The combination of these experiences is able to warrant the needs of the people.
- Understanding of parents’ perspectives is also important for the further development of minority children interests (Idaho State Education System 2009).
The value of the discourse of ‘diversity’ in Idaho education when people will realize the development strategies should be people-centric. The recent time have been characterized by the tendency when people started to look for the ‘solutions’ rather than ‘problems’. As a response to forces of globalization, people have to look not only for the solutions but for the problems too. The need for diversity in education is justified by the need to maintain similar diversity trends in broader social contexts. Given that education is the critical element of one’s career growth, it is in business that we seek to diversify our approaches to business forms and solutions and create a favorable picture of minority participation. Those having accents and well-expressed minority background features are unlikely to become a part of one’s business staff. That is why students should primarily given a chance to learn of the existing cultural programs, practice keen observation when evaluating these programs, as well as looking deeper into the ways these programs can be transformed to fit into existing cultural frameworks and to satisfy the basic cultural needs. True learning is impossible without people; thus, true cultural learning is also impossible without involving multicultural ethnic minority students into discussion.
Banks, James A., and Cherry Banks. Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. 2nd edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1998
Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.
Dixon, G.T. & Fraser, S. “Teaching Preschoolers in a Multilingual Classroom” CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, 62, (2005), 272-275.
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Hudson, P., & Fradd, S. Cooperative planning for learners with limited English proficiency. Teaching Exceptional Children, 23(1998), 16-21.
Idaho State Education System. 2009. Web.
Kamensk, A. Facing the Challenge of Cultural Diversity. 2008. Web.
Torres, Rosa Maria, “Acknowledging Diversity and the Need for Context-Specific and Culture-Sensitive Responses”, 1999.