Implementing Diversity in the Classroom

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Running Header: Culturally Inclusive Classroom

Final Reflection on Personal Growth and
My Plan for a Culturally Inclusive Classroom

Anna Novak
July 27, 2009
EDUC 5173.01
Dr. Gina Anderson
Texas Woman’s University

Final Reflection on Personal Growth and
My Plan for a Culturally Inclusive Classroom

When I first began this semester I thought I had a clear definition of what diversity was and what areas it encompassed. I believed that the term diversity corresponded with issues of race, religion and ethnicity. However, the discussion board assignments and the detailed chapter readings assigned throughout the semester soon broadened my understanding and notion of exactly what encompasses the term diversity. The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. This is one of the fundamental concepts I learned from participating in this course. When I first began my journey in this class I had no idea the impact it would have on me and shaping my philosophy as a teacher. I initially considered this a “breeze” through course, believing that I had a firm understanding of diversity, and how to address it within the classroom. However, I soon learned that there was much I did not know about the levels of diversity, and how hard it would be to create an effective and practical diversity rich classroom. When I began this course and realized that several of my classmates were actual teachers or had some form of teaching experience, I immediately felt as though I was at a sort of disadvantage. I have personally never conducted a classroom, and have no practical experience. However, I soon realized that what I lacked in practical experience, I made up for with personal life experiences. I learned that being a child of military parents and the different locations I had lived throughout my life had given me a unique ability to see view points and issues from completely different perspectives. In fact, I think having never taught a class before presented its own advantages. One of the major ones was that I had the ability to process and assess all of the various ideas and theories that were discussed in depth in this course and apply them to my ever growing "teaching philosophy." I feel that this course, more so than any of my practical based courses, has allowed me to not only grow professionally, but as an individual as well. I am a better person because of this course, and I think its impact will be extremely beneficial to my future students.

Before I discuss how I plan to conduct my own culturally inclusive classroom I feel that there is an important initial step that I as a future educator, and all educators need to take. Through all of our discussions and assigned readings I learned that there are a multitude of different variables involved in creating a cultural classroom and that it is rather easy to get sidetracked or bogged down in subject matter. However, one of the most important aspects I took away from all the readings, and one that I am sure many of us overlook, is the need for self reflection and evaluation, especially in the area concerning our own personal prejudices and beliefs. It is impossible to expect cultural understanding and respect from our students, if we as teachers and role models allow our own limitations are constantly undermining the process ( that whole "do as I say not as I do" philosophy will not cut it in the classroom). Teachers should...
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