Why Diversity in the Classroom Matters

eMediaVA Ambassador Janel Kelly explores the numerous benefits of a diverse classroom and curriculum.

How would you like to have better, well-rounded discussions in your classroom? Diversity can increase the quality of classroom discussions as well as cultural literacy, awareness, and acceptance.

A lack of diversity in classrooms and schools can lead to increased stress among students, increased bullying, and student isolation. Classrooms with diversity tend to have more student participation, higher academic performance, higher attendance, and healthier relationships.

6 Types of Diversity

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Language
  • Religion
  • Economics

Incorporating diversity into the classroom can be done in a variety of ways. For starters, representing a wide range of voices in the curriculum teaches literature from different authors of race, gender, and ethnicity. An example would be discussing the Civil Rights Movement and how it intersects with immigration, gender inequality, and Hispanic and Native American cultures.  Students learning different languages would be another great way to incorporate diversity. They could learn how to sing a song in another language or recite a poem using a different language.  Teachers could work along with the community to promote homelessness awareness by making fliers and hosting a homelessness awareness gathering with food, games, and entertainment.

6 Reasons for Diversity Inclusion

  • Self-acceptance and confidence
  • Empathy
  • Reducing prejudices
  • Preparing students for the real world
  • Collaboration and respect
  • Social, cognitive, and academic benefit

Emphasizing diversity in the classroom has numerous academic and social benefits.  Using different teaching strategies such as differentiated instruction, blended learning, and project-based learning are great ways to encourage diversity within the classroom. Diversity is all around us. We just have to start acknowledging it and bring it to the surface.  Every individual is unique and we should promote diversity to help improve critical thinking skills, build empathy, and encourage students to think differently.

Janel Kelly is an eMediaVA Ambassador and a 6th-grade science teacher at Park View Middle School in Mecklenberg County Public Schools. Janel is also the head softball and volleyball coach and the assistant coach for girls basketball at her school, as well as the sponsor of Beta Club.

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