Diversity in a classroom is a complex issue that needs a thorough examination. In particular, ability, special needs, and cultural backgrounds would be considered in this paper. Diversity refers to a variety of differences that are inherited to every learner. Moreover, each of the students possesses certain expectations, predispositions, and interactions that compose their identity. In order to understand the learners’ experience, it is essential to take into account classroom diversity.
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The first factor under discussion is the cultural background. It goes without saying that plenty of ethnicities and nations might live together in the same community. As a result, learners from different origins study in the same class. Newly moved ethnicities might also experience several difficulties with language and adjustment to a new area. Groundwater-Smith, Ewing, and Le Cornu (2003) state that “Australian-born children of immigrant parents are also likely to have been raised in a culturally different environment and this might affect their ability to learn at school” (p. 57).
Family peculiarities affect students’ performance on the level of their expectations. In other words, some parents are strict and require excellent marks, while others prefer to help their children with studying. Finally, a teacher should be sensitive to the gender peculiarities of every learner avoiding generalizations.
The second factor consists of the special needs of learners. For instance, gifted and talented children have more inherited potential. However, this issue is rather controversial as some people argue that every student is talented in his or her own way. Howbeit, such students might need more psychological support to use their advanced skills and knowledge. Some of the talented learners tend to downplay their abilities or conceal them.
Students with disabilities present another group that requires a specific approach and programs. At the same time, the above issues might lead to the decreased isolation of children and the decline of their self-esteem. As a rule, children with disabilities do not have problems with mastering school material, yet the problem of communication with peers appears at the forefront of these students. Children at risk include those with temper tantrums or chronic illnesses and also compose diversity.
Abilities or learning styles are the third factors defining classroom diversity. Every student learns differently. According to Gardner’s multiple bits of intelligence, there are eight types of learning including linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, and others (Groundwater-Smith, Ewing, and Le Cornu, 2003). Consequently, learners might understand and remember information in a variety of ways that also should be considered by a teacher.
Seeing the above diversity issues, it seems appropriate to discuss a set of strategies aimed at providing equal learning outcomes for diversity classroom. McInerney and McInerney (2006) note that multicultural education is the best solution for the identified problem. In particular, bilingual education would suit to the learners’ expectations. Teachers might engage parents to contribute to the equal education as well. It might be performed by means of different meetings, conferences, and other mutual control measures.
Inclusive learning is another way to achieve the stated goal. Gargiulo and Metcalf (2013) consider that inclusive learning involves the formation of a joint education of children with disabilities or other peculiarities and their peers. As a result, all the children with special educational needs would be able to develop and learn together attending regular schools and having friends. The idea is that in order to get an equal education and psychological adaptation, children with special needs would actively interact with other children (Cheminais, 2013).
It should also be stressed that there is a need to provide indigenous children and children belonging to minorities with equal access to quality education on the same basis as other children. Efforts should be made to make sure that education is ensured with respect to their heritage (Petrovic, 2010). It is also necessary to make efforts to create opportunities for learning so that indigenous children and children belonging to minorities may be more aware of and maintain their cultural identity including significant aspects such as language and values (Skutnabb-Kangas & Heugh, 2012).
Being aware that some children are often insufficiently prepared for school, have learning difficulties, or do not get family support, the teachers should make maximum efforts to develop their learning motivation, to orient to the highest possible academic results, and support the interest and activity in the study (Shernoff, 2013). To this end, it is of great importance to actively involve diverse classroom members in project activities and academic studies starting with their primary class and associating with themes close to the students: the history of their family, local environment, or global issues.
Rapidly developing information and communication technologies should support education processes while reducing inequality in access to education (Ashman & Elkins, 2011). In particular, technology allows improving some functional tools such as glossary or thesaurus. Also, technology-based learning promotes children integration. For example, it is possible to design a digital storybook to share with others.
Ashman, A. F., & Elkins, J. (2011). Education for inclusion and diversity. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Pearson Australia.
Cheminais, R. (2013). How to create the inclusive classroom: Removing barriers to learning. London, UK: David Fulton.
Gargiulo, R. M., & Metcalf, D. J. (2013). Teaching in today’s inclusive classrooms: A universal design for learning approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
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Groundwater-Smith, S., Ewing, R. & Le Cornu, R. (2003). Teaching: Challenges and dilemmas (2nd ed.). Southbank, Victoria: Thomson.
McInerney, D. & McInerney, V. (2006). Educational psychology: constructing learning (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Pearson Education.
Petrovic, J. E. (2010). International perspectives on bilingual education: Policy, practice, and controversy. Charlotte, NC: IAP.
Shernoff, D. J. (2013). Optimal learning environments to promote student engagement. New York, NY: Springer.
Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & Heugh, K. (2012). Multilingual education and sustainable diversity work: From periphery to center. New York, NY: Routledge.