I recently finished taking a composition class at Colorado State University that was focused on writing in the discipline of education. This is a required class for all English education majors and after completing the course I know why. Throughout the class I learned to conduct first-hand research and to evaluate the things that I read about what’s going on in schools today. Through my reading and my research, I realized that there seem to be a lot of issues in schooling that just get swept under the rug or that aren’t given the attention they need and deserve.
The most recent assignment that I was asked to complete was my own formal case study paper. As research for my paper I interviewed a teacher at a local high school and observed a junior high classroom throughout a semester while taking field notes to record my observations. The questions that I wanted to explore and try to answer dealt with diversity in the classroom and how we go about teaching a diverse group of kids from all kinds of different backgrounds about language. I learned so much about the different ways that teachers try to manage diversity in the classroom, but there are a few that stood out to me that I think everyone needs to be aware of, whether you are a teacher, a parent or a student.
I believe that we need to start showing patience, understanding and flexibility when it comes to diversity everywhere, but especially in the classroom. It is important to be accepting and appreciative of the different knowledge and cultures that people bring to the table. In schools we should teach our children that diversity should be embraced. It is nothing to shy away from, but on the contrary, we should make every student feel like they are welcome no matter what language they might speak or what kind of background they come from.
I also believe that teachers should attempt to manage their classrooms in such a way that they are varying their teaching strategies in order to reach every student. While you can’t possibly meet all needs of all students every day, you sure can try to meet as many as possible.
And finally, I believe that we should stress the importance of language to our kids inside and outside of the classroom. We should show kids that it is important not only to learn to read and write, but that it is important to practice these things and refine your skills. By doing this, we can provide them with a good base which will only help them in their futures.