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Updated by skylar-heyward on Apr 12, 2019
Headline for Tips for Teaching Diverse Populations
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Tips for Teaching Diverse Populations

10 resources that promote an effective learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of all students.

Topic 1: What's Really Going on Behind the Scenes?- Multimedia Source

The video above covers the stories of several students who are living lives of poverty. As a teacher it is important to take into consideration that we will have students from all different backgrounds in our classrooms. Some students hide their backgrounds very well, and others wear it with pride. It's up to us as educators to keep an eye out for those students who are in need of assistance.

After watching this video, it opened my eyes to all the things we may not realize our students are going through at home. This young girl, her siblings, and her parents struggle to make ends meet, and do any little thing to make money like picking up aluminum cans on the sides of streets. A young girl like her could come to school dressed decently with a hair cut done by her mom since they can't afford to take her to a barber shop, and you'd never really know she was struggling as a teacher until you dig a little deeper. It is important as a teacher that you pay close attention to your students and their behaviors so you can assist them as needed.

The stresses these families face are much different than those of the middle class because they do not have to worry where their next meal may be coming from. When middle class children are able to get home from school and relax and watch TV, children like this are having to go find ways to help support their families after school. They don't get to really experience life as a child typically would.

As an instructor we could assist these children by providing snack packs for them to take home and supply packages in case they are in need of school supplies. If a child in need is struggling in school, we could offer free after school tutoring to them so that they can get affordable assistance they need!

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Topic 2: Teen Pregnancy- Multimedia Source

Topic 2: Teen Pregnancy- Multimedia Source

Above is a clip of our Powerpoint project that my group did on Teen Pregnancy. It included statistics, safe sex tips, how to handle being a teen student/mom, and our friends very own story!

As a teacher you never know what type of students you are going to get... this includes young moms! It's important that we are mindful to young moms and their situations but still push them to be the best they can be even when they may be getting discouraged. When they are overwhelmed it's also important to assist them in anyway you can! Teen moms drop out more often from all the stress that come with being a mom and the pressure of being a student. It's up to us as educators to encourage our young student moms that they can succeed in all they do and rise above the odds!

Topic 3: ELL's (English Language Learners)- Informational Resource

In class you may have students who are known as ELL's. Achievement gaps between ELLs and non-ELL students are very common. It is our job as educators to bridge the gap. If you check out the link above you will see that the NEA is actively addressing the complex issues that revolve around ELL's by engaging in research and advocacy and proposing strategies that we can pursue individually and collectively to help eliminate this gap.

Some strategies you may want to try in class:
-Identify appropriate ELL instructional strategies aligned and differentiated to lessons, objectives, and goals.

  • Have ELLs and Non-ELLs work together on assignments so the English speakers can help teach the ELLs English through various interactions.
Topic 4: Depression and Suicide- Informational Community/ Parent/ Teacher Source

When discussing depression and suicide in class, we also did this via group presentations like my own groups on Teen Pregnancy. Depression and suicide are very common in children and young adults. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between 10 to 24. The website above goes a bit more in depth on prevention, how to take care of yourself, how to help loved ones/ students in need, and how to pinpoint the warning signs.

Again, as a teacher you never know what truly may be going on in a student's life. Sometimes, the happiest and most outgoing students are the ones that need the most help and are severely depressed. As a teacher we must pay close attention to students who may be displaying signs of depression that could potentially lead to suicide. And of course, when necessary report everything to the proper authorities. Speaking to a student, or speaking up for a student could sometimes save a life.

A teacher is not always present, so it is very important that parents, friends, and community members also pay attention to their loved ones closely and take note of irregular behaviors that may be displayed in environments outside the classroom.

Some Warning Signs to lookout for as a Parent, Community Member, and Educator:
-Alcohol and other substance use disorders
-Loss of relationship(s)
-Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
-Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
-Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
-History of trauma or abuse

Topic 5: Immigration to America- Storybook Source

In class we read "Enrique's Journey." The story of a young boy whose mom travels to the U.S. illegally from Central America and successfully crosses the border. She leaves with hopes of making more money in the U.S. and being able to provide more for her family back home. Enrique is left behind with his sister, father, and other family members who all take care of him. Eventually, Enrique decides to leave for the United States himself to find his mom who has no returned in years. After many unsuccessful attempts to cross the U.S. border, Enrique eventually makes it and is reunited with his mother. This book displays the hardships of immigrants and just how desperate some are to make a better life for themselves which is why so many as 48,000 take the same journey as Enrique each year, risking their lives and their freedom.

As a teacher, we need to be mindful that students may have a variety of backgrounds. It is not our job to pry or report students who may even be undocumented, but just to educate them to the best of our ability and to make them feel welcome. All children residing in the United States are guaranteed a right to elementary and secondary education regardless of how they got here or their document status.

(Above is a link to some more great books to read for students all ages that covers immigration.)

Topic 6: Tips for Teachers Wanting to Create an Inclusive Classroom Environment- Teacher Tip

As a teacher, it's very important that your classroom is viewed as inclusive by your students. This way students will feel welcome, be more apt to open up and answer questions, and be more comfortable in general. You want your students to leave class everyday eager to come back the next.

The following things can help in creating an inclusive classroom environment:
-Make sure materials are diverse
-Vary Gender Roles in Groups
-Have a diverse library
-Don't contribute to gender discrimination
-Answer questions directly
-Don't avoid topics of race...acknowledge differences but don't have negative judgements
-Don't call out minority students
-Stop discriminatory behavior

Topic 7: Stereotypes- Multimedia Source

Above is a link in regards to the effects of stereotypes on students.

Stereotypes are especially common in the classroom, both made by teachers and students. We do our best to avoid it at all costs, but our brains sometimes do it without the intention. Stereotypes are oversimplified ideas about groups of people. They can be based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical traits, and more. They can sometimes be positive but are mostly negative.

As a teacher we need to avoid stereotypes at all costs. We never want a student to feel uncomfortable or judged, especially for things they aren't responsible for. Generalizations are rarely good and in the classroom have the ability to ruin a student's self esteem and love of school. Do your best to shot down any stereotypes you hear from students and peers to ensure a more inclusive atmosphere.

Topic 8: Cultural Identity- Informational Source

Attached is a link on Embracing Cultural Identity in the Classroom

Cultural Identity: the identity or feeling of belonging to a group; it is part of a person's self-conception and self-perception; it's related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, social class, locality, or any kind of social group that has its own distinct culture.

As a teacher you often have students from other countries you are witnessing assimilate to the American Culture but are losing touch with their own heritage and roots over time. Although it is great to see your students assimilating, it is also important they know you as their teacher are supportive of them expressing their culture through how they dress, the languages they speak, their lunch, etc. Allowing your students to express themselves allows for more learning opportunities from peers. For example, a Muslim Student is wearing a hijab and an American boy who is Christian does not know what she is wearing, the girl could use this as an opportunity to educate a fellow classmate on her culture and how she identifies. This allows for growth in the classroom, encourage this, and teach about various cultures! Embrace your student's various cultural identities.

Topic 9: Challenging Students- Multimedia Source

In the video attached, you learn about a young girl named Danny who is now mentally handicapped because of her early life experiences. In the video we learn that Danny was not granted access to education until far later on in life and because of that and her severe mistreatment she now struggles. What happened to Danielle is in unbelievably sad, but more common than you might think.

It is up to teachers to keep on the look out for signs of neglect and abuse at home to prevent situations like this one from occurring. Teaching students like Danny would definitely be a challenge, but as you watch we see that progress is possible. We must be patient with our students, as well as persistent and encouraging to produce the best possible results!

Topic 10: Conflict and Communication in the Classroom-Informational Resource

The link above has some great strategies for how to handle conflict as an educator!

Conflict is issues you may have internally or externally with different ongoing problems in your own life, in society, or with others. Conflict occurs a lot in the classroom especially when sensitive topics are brought up such as race, sexual orientation, religion, and culture. Even disagreements about where to hang out with your friends can be seen as conflict. Conflicts are especially common when one's needs aren't being met also. Everyone sees their own opinions as right which is why it's important to have a non-biased figure such as a teacher in class to delegate when it comes to discussions on sensitive subjects.

Educators should push for face to face communication to resolve conflict and/or avoid conflicts between students. Respect should be instilled in the classroom from the first day so students know what is expected of them.We should always d our best to defuse the situation and encourage students to find solutions to the problems being addressed.