Diversity in the Classroom

Incorporating diverse perspectives in my teaching

My classroom

My physical environment, whether it be my bedroom or my classroom, is often a reflection of my internal state. Currently, my classroom walls are rather blank because I'm ambivalent as to what images I want on my walls. The atmosphere I'd like to create is one of a home environment, where students see pictures of themselves. Due to the diverse Richmond populace, this naturally depicts students of different ethnic backgrounds. Next semester, however, I can change the walls to depict a more diverse intention.
-I can post pictures of ideals to which we can aspire.
-I can post more sayings that reflect diversity, currently, I have a sign that says "Today is awesome", but I can be more intentional with my messages.
-I can post student work that reflects open thinking, instead of just pretty images.
Big image

Curriculum

In English, it is rather simple to incorporate diverse perspectives- I make sure I vary the the authors of the materials distributed. Every time I make a unit plan, I include a chart of the perspectives represented in the pieces I give. This has been an effective method for me, for instance, during my short story until I realized my perspectives were very old-white-man driven, so I cut and varied the author's of my stories.

More importantly, our daily discussions are where I can ensure we maintain diverse ideals. I draw attention to most statements that are sexist and racist in nature. One instance came in a discussion about an article by David Sedaris who is gay, and I drew that fact to the class's attention. One student instantly said, "well that ruins the whole story for me!" I said, "Why?" He replied with, "I don't know, I actually have four gay friends who I like. I guess this is fine." This totally threw me, It seemed that being anti-gay was automatic, but a simple reflective questions redirected him. I don't think it will be that easy again, but it reminds me to keep asking students to question their automatic bigotry.

Student culture

To me this is the most important component of teaching and where I'm failing the most. I the culture is one of diverse economic statuses and I've recently realized that I've never been exposed to certain points on the spectrum. I still don't understand where many of my students' animosities come from. Behaviors of the culture that I need to work more to understand:
-Aggression as a defense
-Sense of hopelessness about the future
-Distrust of authority.