Three warning signs that your school has a problem with diversity: Taking a closer look
1. Does your classroom tell a singular story?
Sometimes what is right in front of you is the most difficult thing to see. Classrooms and hallways – even display cases – can send the wrong messages to your student body. For example, you might have hung posters of influential and inspiring people and chose important books to place on the shelves in your classroom. But look a little closer. Are they all white? Are they all male? Are the books written by a variety of multicultural authors?
If students cannot relate to material, you lose not only valuable insights, but foster a sense of isolation and separation. Being mindful about the look of your classroom and school not only helps your students engage, but also helps you as a teacher to connect and create a lively learning experience.
2. Student seating
Where students sit in class can be a telltale sign your room needs a diversity overhaul. If all of the white students sit together and all students of color sit together, they may never learn from and get comfortable talking with each other. Also, as a teacher, you might be facilitating an unconscious separation of groups which could cause students to perceive each other as “other.” For example, maybe you avoid a grouping of students because they make you uncomfortable.
3. There is a discipline disparity
As people and educators, we are shaped by our own experiences and social surroundings. We may not even realize we view one student more favorably than another based on race or gender.
Ask yourself: Are second chances handed out fairly? Are the penalties for similar actions equal for all students? Are disciplinary referrals distributed equally?
Statistics confirm there is a discipline gap that runs along racial lines. Diversity training can help you identify disparity in your classroom so you can achieve a more balanced and fair response to certain behaviors.
Educational Equity Consultants (EEC) : Just Schools
EEC specializes in diversity training that identifies and eradicates systems of oppression that damage our schools. Though not always perceivable or understood, issues with racism exist within ourselves and our institutions. By way of effective communication techniques, EEC teaches educators how to promote respect and empowerment among students and staff. As educators, it is up to us to eliminate the oppressive attitudes, behaviors and policies that sabotage a student’s right to learn. Let’s take action together to better serve ALL students.
Oppression wins when people remain silent. Share your thoughts below to move this conversation forward for all.
Join the conversation. Dismantle oppression.
- What are you doing to bring diversity into the classroom?
- What are the challenges with bringing diversity into the classroom?