Divisions based on various traits and characteristics of individuals are deeply rooted in our society. For a long time discrimination by gender or race has not even been identified as an issue. The problems of equality and equity started to be looked into and researched several decades ago when the world’s society started to base its moral and ethical values on the way people are, but not the way they look.
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The United States of America is known to be one of the most multinational counties of the world. From the very beginning of its colonization its territory united people from various cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. The process of globalization eventually increased the rates of migrations.
As a result, the American society today is characterized for its high level of social diversity, which leads to clashes and confrontations between various communities and groups dwelling there. In order to set equality and avoid discrimination various social policies are created.
Diversity has penetrated multiple professional spheres such as medicine, marketing, politics, show business and, of course, education. The work of a contemporary educator requires a high level of flexibility and diplomacy, because working with a diverse classroom without discriminating or prioritizing anyone can be very challenging.
Ronald Takaki in his book called “A Different Mirror” noted that it is generally accepted that American citizens are white Europeans descendants (2008). The writer states that this misinterpretation is based on the fact that the majority of settlers coming to America in the very dawn of its independence were Irish people forced to leave their home and move because of poverty, oppression and famine (Takaki, 2008).
The definition and description of nation had to be present in order to establish unity, and to identify the society of the new country (Takaki, 2008). In reality, the American society never stopped to be multinational and multicultural.
The American way of living started to be defined as equality and justice based on respect to the country’s Constitution, meaning that none of the citizens of this country were to be oppressed as long as they were true to their country. Education today is responsible for the social atmosphere in the society and for the cultural future of the whole country.
This is why educators must be very professional when it comes to social division. Classroom is the first society children get to interact with, the rules and laws of the classroom are the necessary basis that will shape the students’ attitudes and perceptions in the future.
Discrimination during the learning process is occurs when a teacher’s attitude towards certain students becomes less or more favorable due to some characteristics these students possess. Such discrimination may be indirect and unintended. For example, when additional class is scheduled for Saturday, this occurs as an indirect discrimination of Jewish students.
Discrimination may also be based on lack of education and misconceptions. For example, a student with HIV may be isolated from other children due to the fear of infection.
In order to avoid discrimination, an educator has to be always aware of the diversity in schools and take into consideration all kinds of social differences such as gender, ethnicity, religion, health condition, sexual orientation. Only the cases of indirect discrimination caused by imperfect policies and regulations can be legally justified.
Contemporary educators need to employ various programs and means of education that take into consideration cultural and social diversity in the classroom, connect the knowledge gained at school with the personal experiences of the students, teach tolerance, tact and respect. In order to become the educator a diverse society needs one must first master all the qualities they intend to educated their students about.
Takaki, R. (2008). A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.