Cultural Inclusion in the American College Classroom.
Translate this page from English Print Page Change Text Size: T T T Diversity: Making Sense of It Through Critical Thinking Within any given group of students, one can expect to find differences along all, or most, of the following parameters: To put this another way, each and every student who comes to us is unique, and, what is more, unique in a variety of ways.
We are living in an age where calls for an emphasis on diversity have become the norm. Political pressures on teachers to bear in mind this or that diversity issue has never been greater.
In one sense, it seems apparent that we should take into account individual differences of students, and that we should consider those differences when designing instruction.
Yet, in another sense, given the multiplicity of differences within and among students, it seems obviously impossible to simultaneously teach to all of those differences. No teacher is capable of taking into account or teaching to every form of diversity.
At the very essence of teaching lies the dilemma of what to teach and what to leave out, what issues to place in the foreground and what issues to place in the background. As teachers, for example, we must choose between extensive coverage and deep learning. In like manner, we cannot at one and the same time focus on gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and culture.
If we place special focus on developing the musical and artistic talents of students, we cannot simultaneously place special emphasis on logical-mathematical reasoning and the development of communication skills.
If we place special focus on fostering social abilities and ethical traits, we cannot also place special focus on teaching to the multiple learning preferences of students. If we put special focus on academic content biology, geography, arithmetic, reading skills, writing skills, speaking skills, spelling, grammar In short, we cannot have it all in education.
We cannot possibly place special emphasis on every dimension of diversity. What can be done about this dilemma? The solution, I shall argue, is critical thinking. If we teach students to reason well through any issue, and, through this emphasis, help students become life-long learners, then, of necessity, students will acquire the tools of mind they need to deal with issues of diversity.
When students become skilled and insightful evaluators of their thinking and thereby take command of their learning, they can judge how and when to take into account the variety of issues encompassed under the term "diversity.
But before I do, I must first dispel a few common myths about critical thinking. The most common myth is that most teachers have a good understanding of critical thinking, that they think critically themselves, and that they know how to teach for it.
Yet in a study of 38 public universities and 28 private colleges in California conducted for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialingit was found that prospective teachers were neither being taught how to think critically nor how to cultivate critical thinking in their students.
The study revealed that most professors of education: The study concluded that most teachers today share misconceptions about critical thinking similar to those of their professors. There is no simple, short-term method for displacing these misconceptions.
The solution I am suggesting requires long-term committed staff development, and hence is no quick-fix panacea. All of us face a world that is becoming increasingly more complex, a world in which the decisions we make can well have significant long-term implications both for ourselves and for those who follow us.
If we can successfully prepare students for that world, we will, by implication, prepare them for the diversities intrinsic to it.
How can we do this? How can we teach in such a way that students learn to reason well through issues embodied in change, complexity, interdependence, and "diversity? We must shift our paradigm of education to these key foundations: All content must be "reasoned through" to be learned.
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All reasoning involves predictable parts or elements. All elements of high quality reasoning presuppose universal intellectual standards. The primary barrier to good reasoning is our native egocentrism.Classroom Diversity: An Introduction to Student Differences This revision of the Teaching and Learning in New Mexico: Considerations for Diverse Student Populations Module offers a broad overview of how diversity (i.e., culture, language, exceptionality, and socioeconomic status) affects learning and how teachers can better meet the needs of all their students in their classes (est.
completion. Connecting Students To Learning Through Explicit Teaching. Christine Edwards-Groves. Building a culture of learning within today’s classrooms requires teachers and students to jointly engage in teaching and learning that is purposeful, relevant and clearly defined. Learning About Other Cultures Through Food.
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