August 11, 2018
Debra LynchCollaborative Learning
Sixty-two years ago, Brown v. Board of Education law stated that separate schools for black and white students are inherently unequal. More than fifty years ago, the evidence in the congressionally authorized Coleman Report put a whole new twist on Brown, it suggested that socioeconomic school integration could increase academic achievement more than any other school strategy. After racial desegregation was pursued in the early 1970s, the implementation was way too clumsy. At that time, a federal judge ordered that black school children had to walk across town just to attend school. The families became enraged after finding out they had no say so in the matter or many others that happened in that time. And so, for years, we have been stuck with a tragic paradox: building on Coleman’s findings, a growing body of research produced a social science consensus that school integration—by race and by socioeconomic status—is good for children. (Jackson, 2005). Today, however, school integration—using new, and more legally and politically palatable approaches—is getting a second look as an educational reform strategy. Presently, many things have changed in our school systems. There is not just one race that are allowed in the classrooms but many races. Today, there are many culturally integrated classrooms all over the United States.
Cultural diversity in the classroom is good because it brings together people with different backgrounds, skills, and creativity. Having diversity in the classroom is very important because it teaches students how to connect with others and helps them to understand the lifestyle and background of other cultures. Cultural diversity occurs when an organization, a community or a group of people draws from different backgrounds including races, nationalities, religions, ages and gender. K-12 teachers should implement their own teaching strategies by creating activities that can help the students to become more excited about learning. (Cole, Gay, S). Students being around other students with different backgrounds gives insight into the lives of other students, which gives a whole new meaning of cultural enrichment.
A pro of cultural diversity in the classroom is that it brings together people with many different skills. Not only can students learn something new from their peers, but teachers can learn new skills from students also. For example, teachers can talk to their students to find new and fun strategies to teach the learning material. Students should have a voice in the classroom because it is important for them to feel like they belong. Teachers appreciate and accommodate the similarities and differences among the students’ cultures. To be effective in culturally integrated classrooms, teachers must learn to incorporate more cultural induced themes for their students (Graham, 2007).
In a culturally diverse classroom it brings more creativity to the classroom. Everyone sharing their ideas and opinions about learning activities can create a more positive environment. Teachers can invite students to do different projects, such as All about me, where the students can share information about their families and about themselves to their peers. Creative classrooms don’t just look different, they feel different. The purpose of this is to create a positive and healthy environment where students are more likely to express their ideas, to be able to think outside of the box, challenge problems that have innovative solutions (Robinson, Clardy, 2011).
Now, that more classrooms are becoming more culturally diverse, it is time that more teachers engage in more training courses to ensure that more students become successful. The goal is to make the students as comfortable in the classroom as possible. Also, make sure there are resources available and ready to help the families that may not speak fluent English and not comprehend how the system works. There are so many cons to having a cultural diverse classroom setting. It is very important that teachers are aware of what is going on in their classrooms always. Checking on the students is very important because some students may not feel comfortable with communication or could feel embarrassed about not being on the same level as the other students. Unfortunately, not all teachers are going to be motivated and make the students feel comfortable in their classrooms. This is not fair to any students that will have to deal with this and these types of teachers should be reported, immediately.
Jackson, J. P. (2005). Science for segregation: race, law, and the case against Brown volume Board of Education. New York: New York University Press, 2005.
Cole, M., Gay, J., Glick, J. and Sharp, D. M. (2017) The Cultural Context of Learning and Thinking: An exploration in experimental anthropology. New York, Basic Books.
Graham, J., ;. (2007). The influence of classroom ethnic composition on same- and other-ethnicity peer nominations in middle school. Social Development, 16(4), 720-740.
Robinson, C. C., ; Clardy, P. (2011). IT AIN’T WHAT YOU SAY, IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT: LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN THE CLASSROOM. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 18(3), 101-110.