I grew up in a multicultural, mixed race home. My mother is Korean and African American, my biological father was African American and Native American Indian, and my step-father is Caucasian. For as long as I can remember, I have heard the word “diverse” used to describe my family as if it was special or out of the ordinary, but never quite understood why some thought it was unusual. That is my family; that is all that I knew so it was normal for me. My mother is a social worker and quite often exposed my siblings and me to the different diversities of the people she encountered. She worked in several group homes where the tenants were homosexual, transgender, or bisexual. I sometimes went with her to the homes on visits and met many of the people she helped. I have also met many United States veterans that she has helped. Some of them had physical handicaps, mental illnesses, or were homeless. I believe that it is because of these experiences that I have come to have what I consider to be, a clear understanding of diversity.
Impact of Coursework and Fieldwork
In regards to the classroom, I am always aware of the diversities of colleagues and students. I recognize the differences between others and myself and always attempt to understand and respect those differences. Perhaps the most significant things that EDUC 5173 has helped me do are learn how to address diversity in the classroom and create a culturally sensitive environment for students. The coursework was presented in diverse ways such as learning logs, Socrates Cafés, and Wikis, and all of the assignments addressed and catered to different learning styles. I had to diversify how I completed each assignment and had to think differently for each assignment than the assignment before. By doing so, I was able to come up with new ideas and new perspectives that I may not otherwise have had. One of the most challenging but helpful assignments was the Socrates Cafes. They allowed me to express my thoughts, learn new ideas from others, and help others as well as myself develop a deeper understanding of the topic. One of the things that I think made the Socrates Cafes successful was that we used Socratic questioning to respond to peers. Rather than responding with an opinion, we as students asked questions to help clarify statements or ideas that we may not have fully understood. Having someone ask questions about my opinions helped me to learn how to be clearer when expressing my ideas. The Socrates Cafes also helped me to keep an open mind about the beliefs of others and I think that when facing diversity, there is no better way to gain understanding than if you are willing to listen to someone else.
This course required that I complete 15 hours of observation. I am fortunate to be able to be student teaching while taking this course, so I was and still am able to take what I am learning in the course and put in to practice in the classroom. I am student teaching for a high...