Recognizing diversity within my classroom, as well as teaching in a way that develops cultural competency, is very important to me as a future teacher. Whether it is within an ESL classroom or not, the following goals work towards achieving these aspects of diversity education as identified by Voltz, Sims and Nelson “(1) providing opportunities for all students to learn from other students who are different, (2) reducing ignorance that comes from lack of exposure, and (3) providing opportunities for all students to develop cross-cultural competence” (2010).
In our class we will… celebrate every student’s culture and background.
- Objective 1: Provide opportunities for students to share information with the teacher and class about their culture, whether it is their religion, family, language, holidays/celebrations, and/or other traditions and customs.
- Objective 2: Create lessons that incorporate time for the class to learn about students’ cultural celebrations and holidays as they occur throughout the school year.
Culture Show-and-Tell Activity
This could be more of a routine than a one-time activity, but the teacher could set aside the last fifteen minutes of one afternoon a week for students to do a culture-themed show and tell. Their assignment could be to bring in and share three objects that in some way describe their culture (any of the aspects listed above in Obj. 1).
In our class we will… recognize racial inequality and the injustices minorities have faced historically as well as continue to face in the present.
- Objective 1: Study race relations at an age-appropriate level by discussing historical events that have shown instances of discrimination, segregation and prejudice.
- Objective 2: Discuss and learn about social injustices in today’s society by addressing adversity that minorities face as well as any current events related to racial discrimination.
Take Home Report
Discuss the meaning of race, ethnicity, prejudice and discrimination in class and then send students home with an assignment prompt that they are to discuss with their parents. The prompt provides parents with these same definitions and asks them to share on a basic level of any event(s) of racial discrimination that they have faced, their family has faced, or they know others have faced. The student is to write a paragraph about what they talked about with their parent and come prepared to share with the class. After collecting paragraphs and reading through them yourself, allow students to share their stories within groups identifying what was prejudice or segregation, etc. as well as who discriminated against who.
In our class we will… celebrate diversity by highlighting students’ strengths and all of the special qualities that make them unique.
- Objective 1: Provide students opportunities to reflect on who they are and what has made them who they are (e.g. culture, family background, obstacles they’ve overcome, etc.) as well as taking time to encourage and affirm students personally.
- Objective 2: Create lessons that highlight each individual student’s cultural identity or personal strengths throughout the year.
Holiday Break Journal Activity
Over each of the official school breaks, ask students to write a certain number of journal entries about things they are doing or people they are spending time with over break. When they first return back to school, give them blank paper and have them write a short story with pictures that highlight their favorite part of break. After each break, have a group of students share their stories with the class. So that every student has shared by the end of the year. If possible, intentionally group students so they are sharing after a break that lines up with a holiday or family tradition that they celebrate.