Cultural Diversity In Public Schools: Closing The Gap

1421 words - 6 pages

Introduction
As a native of Miami, Florida, I have witnessed the many cultural changes that have taken place over the years. As an educator teaching within the nation’s fifth largest public school district for the past 25 years, I have had a great amount of exposure to the cultural diversity that makes up the public school, and I have become very familiar with challenges, family issues, and cultural differences that can influence the educational performance of my students. I have developed an understanding that in order to provide the most successful learning environment for culturally diverse student’s, teachers must be able to provide classroom instruction that is free of personal bias and which addresses the diversified cultural learning needs of every student. Too many schools are not set up to give students an education that teaches them to love learning and takes their individual needs into account (Castleman & Littky, 2007).
Growing diversity within the public school has policymakers, curriculum specialists, administrators, and teachers seeking ways to reduce the achievement gap that plaques learners from culturally different backgrounds while continually working to provide multicultural curriculum and activities that promotes social acceptance, reduces racism, and cultural differences. Schools should recognize that they can serve as a significant force in countering discrimination and the various “-isms” that affect people from culturally diverse backgrounds, women, and the disabled (Manning & Baruth, 2009). The purpose of this paper is to discuss ways in which teachers can collaborate with administrators to revise the instructional approach to address the diversified cultural learning needs of the class. Furthermore, I will share some problems that a teacher and administrator may encounter when seeking board approval for a more diversified curriculum, and offer recommendations for overcoming these problems.
Approaching Administration to Address Diverse Cultural Learning
When taking a culturally responsive approach, teachers must first be sure they have the support of administrators and other faculty. This school-wide participation is necessary in order to effectively respond to the diverse needs of each learner. Furthermore, teachers and administration must have the knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to promote social justice in every subject area and school activity throughout the entire school year. Schools that teach for social justice must have a committed, highly skilled, and self-reflective teaching staff, must be small in size, and must have a democratically run administration (Kraft, 2007).
As mentioned, the middle school where I teach is very diversely populated. The staff is very diverse. Funding is always an issue with updating material; however, curriculum specialists are available to offer various ideas for including culturally responsive instructional strategies. Culturally responsive teaching...

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