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Student Diversity


Student Diversity

" Prejudice is a burden which confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible." Maya Angelou

Diversity is defined in many ways in United States society. The language of diversity is characterized by terms relating to culture, race, ethnicity, and minority status. These classification systems are pervasive.
Yet they are often arbitrary, ambiguous, and changeable.

Culture can be used in an inclusive way to refer to the sum of the learned characteristics of a people or an exclusive way to describe smaller, more conceptually discrete groups of people. Race is defined most often by physical characteristics, but sometimes also by ethnicity. The term ethnicity refers to membership in a group with a common cultural tradition or common national origin. Prejudice and discrimination are unpleasant and morally unacceptable facts of life that affect teachers and students in many ways. Minorities-defined in terms of number and power-most often suffer the consequences.

Traditionally, learners have been defined-both in theory and practice-in terms of their physical and psychological development, intelligence, cognitive development, moral development, and habits of mind.
Theorists and researchers in each of these areas have attempted to understand the patterns of development in learners and their effect on successful learning and growth to maturity. There is disagreement about the meaning of most of these terms, the extent to which they relate to one another, and their importance for teachers.

As teachers plan for instruction, they may think about teaching and learning from the viewpoints of immigrants, language minority or bilingual students, and males and females. Teachers also consider exceptionalities (special abilities or disabilities) and sexual orientation of students.

Educators who work with immigrants from around the world try to help them understand culture in the Unites States so they might participate successfully in society. At the same time, teachers encourage other students to learn about immigrant cultures and morals.. Given their nations of origin, languages, religions, values, and ethnic identities, immigrants add to the richness that is public education in the United States.

Learners may be characterized by their facility with the English language. If students are thought to be limited-English-proficient, they are likely to participate in a bilingual education program or to be immersed in English, depending on school resources and philosophies. Students often experience difficulty maintaining their native tongues and their family cultures.

Student gender influences teaching and learning. The likelihood of taking certain courses, speaking up in class, being classified as needing special help, and so forth, tend to characterize the sexes. Student may also be viewed from one or more perspectives of exceptionality. These include giftedness, mental retardation, hearing, visual, or orthopedic impairments, speech and language disorders, emotional behavior disorders, attention deficit disorder, and learning disabilities. Each exceptionality has implications for planning, teaching, and evaluating student success.

Increasingly, schools in metropolitan areas in particular are recognizing responsibilities to provide special services for gay and lesbian students. These may include formal instructional programs. informal educational activities, and health and social services.

Some individuals declare that the Holocaust never occurred. Overt acts of racism and sexism and homophobia are carried out daily in many communities, on college campuses, and in schools across the country. Conflicts in urban, rural, and suburban areas often pit one ethnic or religious or language group against another. Many of us are still very parochial, having little or no experience with individuals from backgrounds different from our own. We continue to depend on the stereotypes, generally negative, that emerge from the social curriculum.


Activity 1

5.1 (label your assignment with this number on it or it will not be graded!)

1. Suppose that you were explaining to a foreign student about the culture in you school. How would you describe the culture of a typical public school in our country? Include words such as diversity and cultural pluralism.


Diversity =Differences among people in regard to gender, race, age, ability, religion, ethnicity, culture, language, and socioeconomic status.

Culture-The way of life common to a group of people; includes knowledge deemed important, shared meanings, norms, values, attitudes, ideals, and view of the world.

Cultural Pluralism- The preservation of cultural differences among groups of people within one society . This view is in contrast to the melting-pot theory that says that ethnic cultures should melt into one.

Ethnic Group-Individuals within a larger culture who share a racial or cultural identity and a set of beliefs, values, and attitudes and who consider themselves members of a distinct croup or subculture



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