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Diversity Inside the Classroom

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Student: Mary Hawkins

THIS FORM MUST BE COMPLETELY FILLED IN | | <Course ID Number> | <Instructor> | ECE5005-8 | MICHELE HERRERA | <Course Title> | <Assignment Number or Title> | CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN A DIVERST SOCIETY | 3 | | | <Add student comments here>

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“The most diverse group in the United States is our youngest children, and they will make the nation more diverse as they age. Almost 9 million young people age 5 to 17 speak language other than English in their home and 2.6 million of the have difficult speaking English” (Sarvavia-Sore, 2008). We as educators today have to learn to accept and embrace today’s new changing society and population as it continues to grow. Welcoming diversity inside of the classroom comes with changing a lot of old modern day rules and regulations. However in order for all students to succeed every education system has to design and creates ways to embrace diversity. As a Head Start teacher I found it very challenging when I encountered my first Hispanic student. It was very difficult to get her to learn and interact on the same level as the other student. However thru many different strategies and solutions I was able to see progress and growth within her. Diversity is accepted when educators adjust their curriculum, set high expectation for all students, develop the appropriate physical environment and materials as well as establish support from administrators, families and the community. English language learners inside of the classroom most of the times need at least three years to be able to overcome and master their social skills. Some students will catch on and learn faster than others through social play. However some may need to be taught directly how to properly communicate in a social environment. Research has discovered that students who have a very strong literacy skill in their native language tends to learn English faster. Some of the present implications regarding the academic and social development of students for whom English is not their first or primary language includes the following: * Produce survival vocabulary such as the words for water or bathroom * Follow simple step directions that are accompanied by gestures such as “point to the door” or “ walk to the chair” * Engage in one to one social conversation using gestures * Answer low- level questions such as “is an elephant large or small” or “what color is the chair” * Participate effectively in hands on classed such as art and physical education * Produce simple drawing charts and graphs * Play uncomplicated games, particularly games that they play well in their native language such as checkers, chess, or backgammon (Haynes,2007)
As I started my second year as a Head start teacher, I was able to face my first experience with a diverse student inside of my classroom. One of the hardest challenge I faced with this particular student was getting her to understand and follow simple step directions in English. After meeting with her mom the first day of school I notice that her mom could understand English very well. I didn’t face any problem explaining to her and communicating to her the rules and regulations of the Head Start program. Therefore I assumed I wouldn’t have any problems communicating to her daughter at all. However many times I found myself calling her name several times before I could get her attention. When we would have classroom discussion I would say simple things like “what color is this” or “go get your jacket and line up?” but instead of following directions as she was instructed, I found myself getting frustrated because I had to constantly repeat the same instruction to her over and over again. This made me become upset at times and I often tried to avoid calling upon her and instead watch and see how she began to follow the lead of the students better than my instructions. Another challenge I faced while working with diverse students was not having enough proper classroom materials for diverse students that is in their home language. As Jennifer teacher I felt that it was my responsibility while she was inside of my classroom to provide her with the same privileges and opportunities as the other students. However, I failed Jennifer as her educator because it was not enough resource in the classroom surrounding to help her feel that she was welcomed and accepted. Because of the increase of diversity, in most classroom each culture should be able to visually see the mixtures of cultures inside of the classroom. I begin to request for labels in Spanish not only for Jennifer knowledge but for my own personal help as well. Especially at times when she didn’t understand my simple direction in English. Once Spanish labels were placed I could try to translate to her in Spanish what I could not get her to understand in English.
There are several different strategies that can help educators develop solutions to the many challenges when faced with diversity. One of several strategy to help me overcome my challenge inside of my classroom includes, using a curriculum that is diverse and emphasizes the strength and accommodates all children of different ethnics as well as those with disability. According to the National Association for the education of young children they listed the following characteristic as appropriate early childhood curriculum. * Is based on sound theoretical principles of how children learn and develop * Is designed to achieve long-range social, emotional, cognitive and physical goal. * Includes realistic and achievable expectations that allow children of vary abilities to work at different levels on different activities. * Reflects the needs and interest of individual children and incorporates a wide variety of learning experiences. * Build upon what children already know * Engage children actively * Supports individual cultural, and liquistic diversity, providing a balance between the dominant culture and the minority culture. * Emphasizes the value of social interaction
When educators begin to teach with a diverse perspective this helps encourage children to learn to understand and respect others. Many multicultural experiences inside of the classroom includes art work, cooking, music and story-telling of other cultures. A second strategy would be to have high expectations for all students. “Schools that establish high expectation for all students— and provide the support necessary to achieve those expectations, have high rates of academic success” (Bernard, 2008). When teaching inside of the classroom you have to make sure that each individual child feels accepted and welcomed. In order to create this you have to make sure your setting high expectations for all students. Many tools to help accomplish this goal of setting high expectations includes, establish positive pet names for each student. All children love to be funny and silly at times therefore when creating silly names for each student that relates to their positive attitudes brings fun and excitement inside of the classroom.
Another way to establish high expectations is to always brag on your students for all of the things that they do and to never accept excuses. Even though sometimes you may be faced with a tough student always try to remember the good and positive things they may do and brag about it as much as possible. “Brag on students who don’t give up. Brag on students who ask questions during class…. If you’re going to create that personal relationship that is the key to creating a classroom of high expectations” (bell, 2007). Creating a classroom of high expectations also require teachers to accept no excuse from students and parents as well. We as educators have to take a stand and never accept excuses, because when we accept excuses such as I can’t or I don’t understand we then become enablers.
Thirdly another strategy would be to develop an appropriate physical environment and materials that is diverse. The goal of an early childhood educator should always be to make sure that the classroom environment is appropriate and diverse. Because early childhood children learn best in an environment that is similar to the real world their physical environment should include appropriate size furniture, accessible sinks and bathrooms, puzzles, manipulatives and many other materials that is accessible and to their eye level. Therefore to help make the classroom diverse “images should accurately reflect the major racial and ethnic groups in the community and in the U.S society in a variety of different work and recreational situations” (Rodriquez, 1998). When we begin to provide students with the proper material for a diverse classroom environment this will begin to help them boost their self-esteem and also allow them to begin to accept diversity. Classroom material such as the music students may listen to throughout the day and books that are stored in the library center should reflect a variety of each student culture and language. Every student culture and tradition should always be represented inside of the classroom.
“Teachers cannot do the job alone. Instead schools can provide support through collaboration with other professionals, instructional teaming within the classroom, and assistance from aides and librarians” (Rodriquez, 1998). This leads to my fourth strategy which is collaboration and Instructional Teaming. When everyone works together and professionals create and develop strategies and work closely together as a team to help students such and those who speak English as a second language, this alone help educators inside of the classroom achieve their goals of making sure the environment is diverse and developmentally appropriate. This collaboration team should include counselors, special education teachers, speech and language pathologist and librarians. Together everyone can help design a diverse program to help teachers and students achieve their educational goal.
“Vocabulary provides the basis for spoken and written communication; thus, it is unfortunate that many school curricula place little emphasis on vocabulary acquisition. (Beck, McKewon and Kucan 2002). This is a struggle most times not only for diverse students but those who speak English as their first language as well. Teachers must learn to focus more on teaching vocabulary words. This should be done in most lessons throughout the day inside of the classroom. When introducing vocabulary words to students leads them to reflect on the meaning of the word and doing it repeatedly they begin to store it in their memory. According to researchers “When English word is similar to a word in the first language, students can use this background knowledge to improve their English skills” (Anthony, 2008).
The last but most important strategy is Professional Development training. Each early childhood program requires that teachers have so many hours of training before beginning each school year. Administrators must always make sure that they are developing a self-awareness of culture. Professional development is the opportunity where teachers can exchange ideas and also develop more knowledge and skills that is related to keeping their classroom diverse. This professional training should include * Formal training in child development * Language acquisition * Appropriate instructional & assessment technique * Curricular development * Parent Involvement * Cultural Sensitivity

Diversity in the school system is not changing it is here to stay. The only change that needs to be made is with and thru educators, administrators and families. Teachers has to become more aware of diversity and make sure that it showing inside of the classroom. Collaborating instructional training, developing appropriate classroom environments, set high standards for all student are some of the strategies that has been discovered to be effective and help with shaping diversity inside of the classroom.

Anthony A. Output Strategies for English-Language Learners: Theory to Practice. Reading Teacher [serial online]. March 2008; 61(6):472-482. Available from: Education Research Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 4, 2015.

Saravia-Shore, M June 2008 Educating Everybody's Children: Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition Reinventing urban education: Multiculturalism and the social context of schooling (pp. 277–302). New York: IUME Press, Teachers College, Columbia University.
Haynes, J February 2007 Getting Started with English Language Learners: How Educators Can Meet the Challenge Ch. 2. How Students Acquire Social and Academic Language ISBN-13:978-1-4166-0519-5 Bernard, B. (1995). Fostering resiliency in urban schools. In B. Williams (Ed.), closing the achievement gap: A vision to guide change in beliefs and practice. Oak Brook, IL: Research for Better Schools and North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
Rodriguez, B.M. (with Garcia, J.B.) (1998). Extending the dialogue on diversity issues in family support. Chicago, IL: Family Resource Coalition of America.
Rodriquez, V. (1997, July). Evaluation of the New York City early childhood initiative: Issue paper on integrating inclusion and bilingual education (NCREL Evaluation Studies). Oak Brook, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
Bell, L January 2007 Creating a Culture of High Expectations for All Students

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