1.1 Defining Diversity

What is Diversity?

To better understand the term diversity, watch the following video.

Merriam-Webster defines diversity as:
1: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: VARIETY especially: the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization
2: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities : an instance of being diverse

As we learn more about diversity in this course, we will focus on cultural diversity. Culture is term that can encompass many factors. For the sake of this course we will consider culture to be the combination of values, beliefs, and traditions of a group of people.

Examples of Diversity

First, read the following scenarios. Then, based on your previous knowledge and what you have learned about diversity, determine which two scenarios are examples of diversity and which is not.

Scenario 1

You are a teacher in a rural community. The majority of your students were born and raised in said community. You did not grow up in this particular community but you did grow up in a community similar to the one you now teach in. You find that many of the school traditions are similar to those you grew up with. You have come to learn that many of your students enjoy hunting, fishing, riding ATVs, and snowmobiling. When they turn 16, most of your students get their learner's permit and an inexpensive, used car. There is a sense of school spirit. Sporting events, art shows, musical performances, and other extracurricular activities are celebrated and highlighted.

Scenario 2

You are a volunteer teacher at an inner city after-school program for middle school. Your students are in different grade levels and each has a different reason for participating in the after-school program. Some students are too young to be home alone and their parents/guardians work long hours. Other students struggle academically and receive the additional support they need to be academically successful. Some students are new to the school and use the after-school program as a way to make connections with their peers. You have learned that one student and his family are refugees from Nigeria. Another student has grown up in the city but lives with their grandparents who immigrated from Cuba. The students get along well with one another and love to share stories with one another and with you.

Scenario 3

You recently moved to a new state and began teaching at a private school. This private school is located in a more suburban area. Your school holds many events for teachers, students, and their families throughout the school year. One of these events is designed to explore and celebrate food from around the world. Teachers make an effort to teach students about different cultures and foods that are common in different countries. Students are encouraged to gain inspiration from their families and they make a dish to share at the event. Students also explain what there dish is, why they chose to make it, and where it originated. Throughout the event you see dishes from countries like Spain, Cambodia, China, Germany, Kenya, Poland, and Malaysia. You learn that many students have relatives from these different countries and that some students have even resided in these countries for a time.

Once you have read all three scenarios, please follow the link below to a short quiz: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdUYGfVkBM6oKi8WoosjhsBhXYKmbsZbvBs64pWtF-J1bEgpg/viewform?usp=sf_link

Moving On

Proceed to next lesson: 1.2 Measuring Level of Diversity

Heading Back

Return to Course Overview Page: Creating Safe and Healthy Classroom Environments that Respect Diversity

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