Unit 2: Diversity of Classroom Environments

Level of Respect of Diversity

Watch the following video. Then, reflect upon the questions below.

How did the teacher's comment to Melissa make her feel?

How does bias affect students in school?

Reflect upon your own teaching. When it comes to diversity training, are you more conservative, liberal, or critical? How can you become more critical?

Apply critical self-reflection to your own practice. What does this look like for you?

Your Own Classroom

Now that you have gathered more information from your students, first assess how diverse your student population is. Answer the following questions:

  1. Do your students share similar interests?
  2. Do your students share similar values?
  3. Do your students celebrate the same holidays?
  4. How and with whom do your student celebrate?
  5. Do your student have similar beliefs?
  6. What differences do your students have?
  7. Are these significant differences?

Now, read about these 2 different classrooms and decide if their level of respect of diversity is appropriate or not.

Classroom 1

It is Halloween and your students are participating in various Halloween activities in class. One student approaches you and tells you that they do not celebrate Halloween and cannot participate in the activities. You allow them to read a book instead.

Classroom 2

Students read an article about the dangers presented by drug trade and drug smuggling in a Spanish-speaking country. A student remarks, "Those filthy Mexicans!" You respond by asking the student what compelled them to say that. They explain instances where their relatives said something similar and admit that they know it was not appropriate. Another student raises their hand to respond and explains why the comment was insensitive and clarifies that there are other Spanish-speaking countries besides Mexico. This opens up an honest class discussion mediated by you, the teacher.

Reflect upon any instances that have taken place in your classroom when a student broached a sensitive topic or made a culturally insensitive comment. How did you respond? What could you have done to prevent this situation? What could you have done to respond more appropriately?

Using this experience as inspiration, what can you do at the beginning of the school year to encourage student to think more critically about diversity?

Moving On

Proceed to next unit: Unit 3: Integrating Culturally Inclusive and Responsive Practices

Heading Back

Return to previous unit: Unit 1: Defining and Measuring Diversity

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

Return to User Profile Page: Libby Wideman