Sei sulla pagina 1di 6

A Disposition for Diversity: Teaching in the 21st century

A Disposition for Diversity: Teaching in the 21st Century


Hana Bekele
Wesleyan College
EDU 290

A Disposition for Diversity: Teaching in the 21st century

My mom always use to tell me that being different is not a bad thing, it is what
makes us unique in our own way. She said that wherever we go there will never be a
person identical to us in our features as well as our minds. We should embrace each of
these differences and accept them rather than ridicule and isolate that person. At the time
I did not know what she was talking about. I thought what she said was just her going on
about one of her stories like she does when her friends come over for tea. As I grew older
I realized that what she said to me helped me shape my opinions on all people till this
day. However that was not the case for other kids in school. Being the only Muslim kid in
my school in Florida, it was hard growing up. I was teased a lot about my scarf and the
food my mom packed for me during lunch. As well as the fact that I had a small accent
whenever I spoke English because we spoke Somali at home. But there were other kids
too such as Linda, a girl from Nicaragua who did not speak at all during the day. Shed
occasionally get in trouble for not participating. As well as Caleb, a boy from Pakistan
whod always get in trouble for fighting and yelling to everyone. All of us were similar,
we felt out of place, alone, and a stranger to what should be a place of comfort and
learning. Diversity is so common in America in the 21st century, yet we fail to
acknowledge the things people need when going to school or learning everyday things. I
believe that all teachers should be familiar with different teaching techniques and how
students are taught in other countries so they have a better understanding of diversity in
the classroom.
In the future to come, the minor ethnicities in our present day will no longer be in
the minor category. In Walking the Road: Race, Diversity, and Social Justice in Teacher

A Disposition for Diversity: Teaching in the 21st century

Education, Cochran- Smith (2004) stated that Future population growth in the United
States continues to be uneven61% of the population increases in the next 20 years will
be Hispanic and Asian, about 40% Hispanic and 20% Asian; but then, as now, 10 states
will contain 90% of the Hispanic population, 10 will contain 90% of the Asian
population, and 7 will do both. That statement alone can foreshadow the amount of
diversity this nation will have in the future so the types of learning styles that can benefit
students that have hardships with the English Language should be incorporated into the
Education Field.
When Linda came into the classroom, she would have the same routine every day.
She would come in, put her things down and sit. A blank look etched on her face. I
remember one day our teacher Ms. Lewis asked her a question, Linda looked at her and
then looked down. That really made Ms. Lewis angry, and she sent Linda to the back of
the room until she could get her act together. One must think, did Linda really mean to
ignore Ms. Lewis or did she not know what was going on. She could speak broken
English but rather stay quiet. I believed Linda did not want to speak out loud because she
was not comfortable to speak English yet. She was embarrassed and rather have people
not acknowledge her than make fun of her. If Mrs. Lewis would have noticed these signs
of what Linda was giving off then she would have known that Linda was not accustomed
to societys norms and rules. Cognitive and Behavioral uncertainty is very common to all
foreigners. What should you say? Should sit with your legs crossed or should you not?
Should you raise your hand to ask a question or wait patiently for them to help you?
These are the questions everyone has when meeting new people and trying to reduce
uncertainty.

A Disposition for Diversity: Teaching in the 21st century

Theres also the question of sexual orientation in a classroom. Being aware and
comfortable with the subject will bring more knowledge and a better understanding. As
Elizabeth Meyer stated in Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schools: An Introduction,
Students who are bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, questioning their sexuality or transgender
or have BGLQT family members learn to feel afraid and ashamed in school because these
homophobic and transphobic behaviors are tolerated and even perpetuated by school
personnel. Educators need to learn the language and skills to interrupt gendered
harassment at all ages so youth learn that these forms of bias are not acceptable. Meyer
goes on to state that Many school cultures are extremely hostile toward any form of
gender and sexual diversity: they overtly send messages that students and their families
who do not conform to the heterosexual gender norms of that community are not
welcome and may be subject to both psychological and physical violence. That
statement not only affects me but makes me think of the thousands if not millions of
children who have suffered under societys rules. We can cease all of it and prevent it by
reforming the structure of the 21st century classroom. We can make a change for the
future of our kids.
Caleb who was also in my class was born in America, but was raised in a cultured
household. Exactly like me but he was treated different. Because he was a boy instead of
a girl Caleb was teased, called names, and isolated. This emotional abuse can affect him
in the future. Being bullied can affect your self-esteem, Anxiety, and can even cause
Depression. By being there and noticing the signs we can prevent any of these things
from happening.

A Disposition for Diversity: Teaching in the 21st century

In my opinion, I believe a diverse classroom should be like a globe. Its a bit silly
when you first here about it but it can affect childrens opinions on other cultures and
societies. Have a different country every week and tell of a little information of that
country. Introduce other cultures and if you have children from different cultures use
tactics to involve those students with the rest of the classroom. As well as always paying
attention to signs and not letting small things go.
When I look back at elementary school, the same thought always runs through my
mind. What if Ms. Lewis tried harder? What if she helped us more? Would we be
different today? Better? Worse? If we can include learning styles and help foreign
students be more involved in learning and developing society skills then those questions
will all but disappear.

References

Cochran-Smith, M. (2004). Walking the road: Race, diversity, and social justice in
teacher education. New York: Teachers College Press.

A Disposition for Diversity: Teaching in the 21st century

Meyer, E. J. (2010). Gender and sexual diversity in schools: An introduction. Dordrecht:


Springer.
Rivers, I., Duncan, N., & Besag, V. E. (2009). Bullying: A handbook for educators and
parents. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education.