Article first published as Diversity And Children Series – Part 4 on Technorati.
This is a series of four posts. Part one is a general explanation of diversity in the classroom. Part two is the role of the parents in teaching their children diversity, Part three the role of the school, and Part four the role of the teachers.
Teachers need to be aware of differences within minority groups without generalizing, different ethnic groups and attitudes. They also need to believe that all students can succeed regardless of diversity and they need to show this belief to the students.
Teachers tend to have low expectations for cultural minorities which are related directly to the generally lower socioeconomic status of these minorities. Socioeconomic status (which will be discussed in the future in a separate post) has a significant impact on the learning process.
They are also responsible for helping members of cultural minorities to adapt and integrate within the dominant culture (not to assimilate) without causing the minority to lose their cultural identity, and the ability to comfortably function in both cultures. The reason so many teachers don’t know much about diversity is that the diversity training programs are optional and not obligatory, and most of the teachers are mono-lingual almost never been subjected to any other cultures
In the future, there will be more and more diversity in the school system and it is up to the teacher to make sure that high expectations are relayed to all students no matter what ethnicity and culture, so that no matter the general stereotypes, students know that they have the opportunity for success.
Children grow up to be the future of any country; they will become what we taught them in their childhood either at home or at school. It is a great idea to teach our kids our native languages, core beliefs, values and our identity, make them understand, cherish, and be proud of their roots and who they are; but we also need to allow them and show them how to mix with others that are different from them, so they can develop an affinity for diversity. Let them learn how to interact and understand the outside world through their own eyes, their children’s eyes and out of their comfort zone.
Teaching acceptance and tolerance of different cultures is not forcing our ways and views on the children, and is not sending them mixed messages about diversity either; it is simply giving them an opportunity and a choice to grow in a more diverse world where they can choose later on, based on their own personal experiences, how to deal with the world around them.
We will harvest what we sowed; as today’s children are tomorrow’s Presidents, Politicians, Executives, Journalists, Activists, Actors, Managers, Parents, and Teachers.
Diversity starts at home,
Sahar Consulting, LLC.