6 Ways to Promote Diversity in Education and Schools.

diversity in education and schools

Picture this:

There are scores of diverse schools in your area. Real schools that teach the three R’s—reading, writing, and arithmetic. And the culture of these schools strictly believes the major reason children go to school is to learn the three R’s.

On the flip side, there is an increasingly fragmented society. A diverse society—where the skill to connect, work, and live with unique individuals is integral. A society where critical thinking, empathy, and unique thinking reign supreme.

Then, re-picture—this time around, with your school in mind.

Does your school’s culture promote diversity education? Is your teaching addressing and embracing the reality of living and working in diverse schools, communities, and counties? More importantly, are you releasing society-ready individuals to the community?

Tough questions to address, right?

You’re not alone, though. One of the most frequently asked questions by educators and school districts is: How can I promote diversity in my school?

To answer that question with a clear action plan, let’s start from the basis.

What Is Diversity in Education?

Diversity is anything that differentiates people from each other. It entails factors like:

  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Social-economic status
  • Religious beliefs
  • Political convictions
  • Age

Diversity in the classroom is the understanding that each student brings unique experiences, ideas, and strengths to the school.

Why Is Diversity in Education so Important?

Multicultural learning has shown research-backed benefits on learning outcomes. For instance, diversity education has proved to:

Encourage More Tolerance

Both non-formal and formal interracial interactions encourage cross-ethnic friendship. As a result, interethnic anxiety lowers, developing respect and positive attitudes among students.

Build Better Thinkers

Exposure to diverse backgrounds and perspectives improves student’s thinking skills. Science says that people tend to think harder when talking to someone different from them.

What’s more, it’s evident that socially diverse groups show students to appreciate different perspectives and draw stronger conclusions.

Even more, diversity challenges educators to incorporate different perspectives in lesson plans that teach students how to interact with their peers on social levels and equip them with skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

Build Stronger Communities

A diverse classroom setting develops individuals who have a greater sense of civic engagement. And schools that implement multicultural education provide exposure that prepares students to become better citizens in their communities.

6 Ways to Promote Diversity in Schools

A diverse classroom environment has positive outcomes both socially and academically. However, what does diversity in the classroom look like in action? How can you promote differences in cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, and beliefs to create a feeling of inclusion?

1. Revisit Your Teaching Material and Incorporate Diversity Education

Your first step to integrating diversity into your school is employing a culturally responsive teaching strategy. This entails recognizing the importance of including student’s cultural references in your teaching materials.

For example, many humanity or social-science lessons are often limited to Western, white, males, and middle-class narratives. The curriculum doesn’t always address different backgrounds or show understanding of a wide range of voices.

Work with your teachers to formulate culturally responsive lessons. If it’s literature, you can teach from an author of color. When it’s history time, you can examine which voices are missing for inclusion of all backgrounds.

If you teach or administer a middle school, introduce new lessons like learning about homelessness or second language practice.

More importantly, you can use your leadership position in the school district to influence change of the whole-school model.

2. Know Your Students

All students in your school are unique, and that fact alone is enough to encourage diversity in school cultures. However, you need an understanding of their backgrounds.

Take your time, and start learning. Learn:

  • Where do they come from?
  • What’s their social-economic situation?
  • Are they meeting study achievement standards? Are they struggling?
  • Do your students get along with other peers? Or do they lack an understanding of their differences?

With every task at hand, it might be difficult to find time to build relationships with students—especially if you’re new to the leadership position or school. You can use other means like:

  • Scheduling time to walk through halls and visit classrooms
  • Communicating your goals and vision for the school to your teachers
  • Participating in school events

Knowing and understanding your students’ strengths and weaknesses lets you devise an approach to encourage diversity in a classroom setting.

3. Be Prepared to Address Inequality

Addressing inequality is an excellent way to support diversity.

Create an environment where students and educators share how discrimination issues affect them on a personal, classroom, and school-wide level. The more students and teachers talk about diversity; the less they’ll hesitate to address it.

Use your position as a school leader to lead a conversation and inspire others to follow. Don’t limit the conversation to words. Take practical steps when you encounter inequality such as:

  • Shutting down discrimination whenever it arises
  • Responding to inappropriate comments or action
  • Removing existing markers of inequality in your school

However, fairness shouldn’t mean sameness—instead, it should ensure every student has everything they need to succeed personally and academically.

4. Connect With Parents and Community

Schools are integral to the community.

Communicate your goal for diversity with parents and stakeholders in the community. Ask and listen to their concerns. Then, invite parents to identify areas in your school’s culture that could benefit from more focus on diversity.

Next, reach out to the leaders in the community that can offer different perspectives either as experts in the field, professionals, community workers, or activists.

You can then ask your teacher to develop a service planning project to connect classroom studies with the community’s initiative. During the project, your students will meet community members and draw out life lessons from how people from different backgrounds interact and succeed in their field, inspiring others to think differently about their future.

You can also connect with parents and the community by:

  • Hosting a community food drive
  • Starting a paper or email newsletter
  • Hosting a parent night

#5. Meet Diverse Learning Styles and Need

A diverse classroom cannot use uniform standards, especially for students with different learning needs. You’ll need multiple learning styles.

For example, you can:

  • Introduce Adaptive Technologies, which gives students with physical or learning disabilities the support they need to enter the lesson alongside their peers. It might entail speech-to-text software, talking calculators for students with dyscalculia, or modified computer accessories for persons with physical disabilities.

  • Encourage teachers to use different teaching strategies like project-based learning, differentiated instruction, and blended learning to the classroom culture to meet the needs of different students.

6. Hire Diversely

Federal data says that 81% of teachers are white while 6.8% are black. In contrast, 47% of students are white, and 16% are black. And according to a recent study, having a teacher of color increases the academic performance of students of color.

You can directly impact the diversity of your teaching staff through hiring and recruitment efforts as the school leader. A staff that reflects diversity in class will expose your student to different ideas and teaching styles.

However, only hire the best candidate for the position regardless of their background.

Implement Diverse Education Using Positive Action

Diversity is here with us to stay. In fact, 10 years from now, American classes will be more diverse than they are now.

That begs the need to develop a more inclusive curriculum. A complete, evidence-based multicultural curriculum for either preschool, elementary school, public schools, or high school students with tangible outcomes like:

  • 46% reduction in bullying behaviors (that usually stem from students misunderstanding their differences)
  • 18% increase in social bonding (because of improved tolerance)
  • 17% increase in respect (as the school will nature the culture of inclusion)
  • 75% decrease in violent behaviors (since teaching diversity encourages empathy)
  • 14% decrease in the destruction of things belonging to others (because the diversity policies prepare the school to deal with inequalities)

Positive Action gives all the above outcomes. Hear straight from schools that have got tangible results.

What does your school get from the Positive Action Multicultural Education Curriculum?

  • Content integration (making teacher include the history, concepts, and values of different cultures in their education system)
  • Knowledge construction (get educators to reevaluate their perspective and construct new bias-free alternatives)
  • Equity pedagogy (providing every student in different group with resources they need to produce an equal outcome)
  • Bias reduction (helping students become more accepting of people different from them)
  • School culture empowerment (intertwines diversity with the school’s guiding believe and value)

Enroll in the training program today because even the US Department of Education found the program exemplary and promising. Schedule a webinar with us by clicking the banner below.