The modern classroom is the future—a future where young learners prepare to make a difference as leaders, innovators, difference makers and overall contributing members of society. These learners are ethnically, culturally, linguistically, religiously and intellectually diverse. They are differentiated by exceptionalities, special needs and socioeconomic status. All students, whether they’re a part of a minority group or come from a low-income community, deserve equal access to educational opportunities. Preparation for the future begins in the 21st-century classroom, which mirrors our increasingly diverse local and global communities. Square pegs don’t always fit into the round holes—and this is something to embrace and celebrate.
The Value of Diversity Cultivating
A diverse student population that offers new experiences and different perspectives encourages everyone (including teachers) to learn more about the world around them and challenge the status quo, says “Educating Everybody’s Children: Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Leaners” on ASCD.org. By nurturing classroom diversity, students grow into individuals who can offer new discoveries, groundbreaking inventions and fresh ideas.
How to Meet a Broad Range of Needs
• Focus on the Whole Person: Promote well-rounded learning and growing beyond strictly academics. Many factors affect a student’s ability to attain success, which range from social development and non-English speaking to home environments and ethnic backgrounds. Seek to identify strengths and weaknesses, understand home cultures, tap into backgrounds, dispel stereotypes and adapt lessons to fully develop a young person.
• Teacher Expectations: Set high expectations for all students; students need to learn from challenging curriculum and interesting activities. Instill skills, knowledge, confidence, self-esteem and motivation through inclusivity. To be a champion in education means believing achievement is possible for all.
• Communicate & Collaborate: Engage with parents to get to know the student and their needs better. By building a relationship, parents and teachers become a team who shares the common goal of helping their student succeed. Collaboration among teachers, parents, school administrators and community members can bring various perspectives and voices to the table to elevate education together.
• Continuing Education: The field of education is fast-changing. Teaching methods evolve. Trends are always on the rise. Teachers who choose to become lifelong learners through continuing education and professional development will be better equipped to effectively deliver education that meets modern classroom needs. For example: The state of Nevada requires teachers to complete the course Influences of Family and Community in order to obtain or maintain their license. This course explores how issues related to family relationships and community environments interplay to influence classroom dynamics.
“The EDU-505 course is designed to help the pre-service or current teacher to understand the importance of engaging with his or her community. Teaching in a public, charter or private school in 2018 is vastly different than even a decade ago. The role the family plays in the classroom dynamic cannot be unstated. This course helps the student to develop strategies to engage in an equal partnership with the parents and community leaders. These relationships benefit all parties involved: the parents, the community, the teachers, and most importantly, the students.” – Jeffrey H. Martin, EdD, Assistant Professor in College of Education at Grand Canyon University
• Cultural Competence: The National Education Association defines cultural competence as developing cultural awareness and sensitivities. It means to understand varying cultural knowledge and adopting cross-cultural teaching skills accordingly. Implementing culturally responsive instructional techniques can support cultural competence. Navigating the modern classroom is a challenge. Teachers who find real meaning in their vocation and are committed to truly making a difference see this challenge as exciting. It starts with addressing individual needs and acknowledging that achievement comes not from an inability to learn, but from the type of instruction they receive. Demographics, teaching practices and curriculum are evolving in the classroom. These shifts in education are opportunities for today’s teachers to embrace their power to turn students into trailblazers of the future.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at gcu.edu/disclosures. Please note, not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment. Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (800-621-7440; http://hlcommission.org/). Important policy information is available in the University Policy Handbook at https://www.gcu.edu/academics/academic-policies.php. GCU, while reserving its lawful rights in light of its Christian mission, is committed to maintaining an academic environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. Further detail on GCU’s Non-Discrimination policies can be found at gcu.edu/titleIX. The information printed in this material is accurate as of OCTOBER 2018. For the most up-to-date information about admission requirements, tuition, scholarships and more, visit gcu.edu. ©2018 Grand Canyon University
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