The United States is one of the more diverse nations in the world and according to the 2020 census the melting pot of America continues to diversify.¹ Despite this, deep rooted bias, discrimination, and stereotyping still happen in our school communities. To help combat this we’d like to provide you with strategies to promote diversity within your classroom. But first, we must answer the question: does diversity have a direct impact on the K-12 classroom?
The simple answer is yes, it’s crucial. “Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving”. ² Diversity can help students in their adult life by being exposed to perspectives that may differ from their own. “Students can learn better how to navigate adulthood in an increasingly diverse society—a skill that employers value—if they attend diverse schools”. ³ In summation, diversity within the classroom is impactful upon development, community building, problem solving and a litany of other areas. The important question then becomes how can you promote diversity and reduce prejudice within your classroom? Below we have listed a few strategies that can assist you in this journey.
- Use randomized groups for activities and assignments.
- This allows students to work together, learn from others and contribute to a shared goal.
- Use cooperative arrangements.
- This means that each member of the group is responsible for a certain task or portion of the work. The group can only share success if they work together.
- Practice, exude, and teach a “growth mindset.”
- For more information on a growth mindset, visit our previous blog post.
- Give students a chance to socialize with people outside of their typical friend group
- Motivate them to cooperate with others who may think differently from them. Exposure to this helps students to better function in and contribute to a diverse society.
The end goal for all of these strategies is to promote diversity, increase creativity, boost academic ability, and enhance your classroom’s community. Promoting diversity isn’t just morally right, but it’s the academically responsible way to educate students in a world that continues to become more diverse.
1. Bureau, U. S. C. (2022, June 10). The chance that two people chosen at random are of different race or ethnicity groups has increased since 2010. Census.gov. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/08/2020-united-states-population-more-racially-ethnically-diverse-than-2010.html
2. Phillips, K. W. (2014, October 1). How diversity makes us smarter. Scientific American. Retrieved June 10, 2022, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/
3. Wells, — A. S., Wells, A. S., Hamilton, — B. L. T., Williams, — B. C. P., Granville, — B. P., Moultrie, — B. T., & Potter, — B. H. (2020, January 28). How racially diverse schools and classrooms can benefit all students. The Century Foundation. Retrieved June 10, 2022, from https://tcf.org/content/report/how-racially-diverse-schools-and-classrooms-can-benefit-all-students/?agreed=1&session=1