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Dealing With Diverse Students

Classroom diversity has become quite a buzz word lately. Somehow because your classroom is full if diverse races and learning styles, you need to change the way you teach. The truth is, good teaching is still good teaching.

Quite a few teacher education schools are teaching all different techniques to reach students of various styles. The fact is, classrooms have always been full of diverse learning styles. Think about when you were a student. There were loud students, slow students, bad students.

There were girl students, boy students, thin students, fat students, poor students, rich students, students of different races and religious beliefs. And students learned. Teachers taught.

Sadly, we have gotten away from actually concentrating on good teaching.

Now we are concentrating instead on compromising real learning for feel-good politics.

You cannot, and should not, change successful teaching. Teacher education classes are teaching new teachers that they need to accommodate any and all differences in your students' makeup.

I will not go into too much detail, but I have actually heard and read that certain racial groups cannot be put in groups of boys and girls. They must be separated because of their culture. Hogwash. If you let this nonsense poison your classroom, you will not be teaching anything.

This probably is the only place you will hear the truth. Again, I cannot emphasize enough that good teaching is always good teaching. But before judging this article, please read the rest of it.

Girls and boys are going to be interacting the rest of their lives.

Would you accept different lines in grocery stores for men and women? Does that sound silly? But do men and women shop differently?

The problem with changing your style, is that you cannot change to accommodate every student. If you do, you will indeed succeed at doing nothing except chaos. You, as the teacher, need to devise lesson plans to reach all students at the same time. We underestimate our students quite a bit. Your students are adaptable. Your students can learn. Your students can also see right through you. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Real life is not about accommodations.

Real life is learning to adapt, follow rules, and get ahead in spite of obstacles. The only guideline I would give is to make your lesson plans grade, subject, and age appropriate.

Respect. The number one issue. If you respect all students in your classroom, you will watch what you say and how you say it. As a teacher, you cannot be demeaning to anyone at anytime. You cannot, as a teacher, comment aloud about a students race, clothes, make-up, etc. (This does not include school dress code violations.) Do not talk to girls differently than you talk to boys. Do not call on boys more. Do not speak differently to a student of a different race. They know what you're doing. They'll think you are talking that way because of their racial make-up. Teachers should treat each and every student with respect. Isn't it funny how this is opposite of what you have heard? How teachers need to treat students differently? Your classroom needs to be transparent. Do not have favorite students. Do not change assignments for different students. If you change, change for all. An example would be writing reports. If it is important for you to have students write about George Washington, then they all should write about George Washington. It has been deemed important. However, if possible, the assignment should be changed to writing about any historical figure from the Revolutionary War.

This isn't about changing for different students, this is about changing to good teaching. Writing a report on the historical figure of their choice is much better teaching and learning. But at the same time, you cannot discount that learning about George Washington is valuable.

Almost all things you have been taught to do or not do to certain students is already something that you should do or not do for all students anyway! Examples I have heard: Some students like more hands-on. But you should already be giving ALL students more hands on! Some students learn by movement. But you should already be doing more movement! Some students need written instructions. All students should have clear written instructions! The list goes on. I'll say it again. Good teaching is good teaching. Many examples that college professors come up with to accommodate certain students is actually beneficial for all students. That is the point of this article.

Every teacher early on in the school year, needs to get to know their students. Your classroom is your classroom. It is not your college professor's classroom. It is not the teacher next door's classroom. You and you alone should be the sole judge as to what works and doesn't work in your classroom. You have a set curriculum. Teach it in a way that is comfortable for you and your students. Somehow politics has mixed up what a teacher is supposed to do. Yes. There are rare, and I mean rare, instances when specific things for specific students need to be addressed. The bottom line again, for teachers, is that good teaching is good teaching, no matter what kinds of students you have.



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