There are many factors that play a role in the learning process for every human being. Race, religion, language, socioeconomics, gender, family structure, and disabilities can all affect the ways in which we learn. Educators must take special measures in the delivery of classroom instruction to celebrate the learning and cultural differences of each of their students. As communities and schools continue to grow in diversity, teachers are searching for effective educational programs to accommodate the various learning styles of each student while promoting acceptance of cultural differences throughout the classroom. It no longer suffices to plan educational experiences only for middle-or upper class white learners and then expect students of other social classes and cultures to change perspectives on motivation and competition, learning styles, and attitudes and values that their homes and families have instilled in them (Manning & Baruth, 2009).
The concepts included in providing a more diverse, multicultural education are requiring teachers to review their own issues and prejudices while expanding their knowledge of the many cultures that make up the classroom. These efforts help the educator recognize the various individual and cultural differences of each student, as well as gain an understanding on how these differences impact the learning process. The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon individual and cultural difference research and why diverse students struggle to succeed in school. Furthermore, I will share some instructional approaches I could implement in the classroom to accommodate diverse students. Finally, I will discuss the responsibility of educators in addressing the issue of how our own diversity effects our actions, and how teachers can expand their knowledge of cultural differences in order to enhance diversity of instruction.
Reflection on Individual and Cultural Differences
The way in which a student is able to advance through the process of learning can be complicated by several aspects which characterize each student. Individual differences such as gender, motivation, socioeconomic status, personal beliefs, and disabilities all determine the ways in which a student will move through each stage of learning or how long it will take to master a skill. Furthermore, each student’s cognitive ability and performance can determine at which rate he or she will excel from the developmental stage of learning. Manning and Baruth (2009) suggest rather than assume that learners can succeed by trying hard or doing more homework; educators should understand that development and readiness, not effort alone, affect what students can learn.
Teachers who are able to analyze the characteristics of diverse learners, individually, have an understanding of the motivation, behavior factors, and various learning styles that play a role in the learning process. Furthermore, teachers should have knowledge of...