The Skillful Teacher: Teaching in Diverse Classroom

diversity1

By Marwa Kotb.

Brookfield started chapter eight with the fact that colleges and universities have become, in recent years, increasingly diverse institutions. Diversity is not any more centered on race and ethnicity. Even “homogenous classrooms” (2015, p.98) are diverse in terms of personality attributes, and learning styles. To teach effectively in an environment of diverse learners we must start first by knowing who our students are. Some instructors rely on well known models including Myer-Briggs type indicators and Kolb/McCarthy learning cycle to classify student learning styles, however these instrument have their implications thus the author suggests using informal tests, response systems or even the Critical Incident Questionnaire to gauge diversity through students’ responses.

“Having a color-blind classroom is probably neither possible nor a good idea” (Center for Excellence in Teaching, n.d.), thus the author presented some approaches that help educators develop a more inclusive teaching style. In my opinion his suggestion to address diversity through team teaching is most brilliant. Team teaching sometimes referred to as co-teaching, cooperative, or collabrative teaching is defined as ” two or more professionals delivering substantive Instruction to a diverse, or blended, group of students in a single physical space.” (Cook & Friend, 1995). The model demands more time and effort as educators work mutually on course content, but the key benefit is that it expands the possiblity of “connecting to wider range of students” (Brookfield, 2015, p.102). I think the most significant drawback of the model is that it could lead to further students’ confusion and frusteration if educators have conflicting opinions on same topic.

“Educators need to orchestrate the material in a multi-faceted way across the range of student learning styles” (Montgomery, 1998), Brookfield called it “mixing modalities” (2015, p.105). They must strive to provide a variety of learning experiences satisfying both extroverts and introverts, combining individual and group work, challenging intuitive and logical learners, and preparing multiple examples to reflect different cultures, experiences, sexual orientations, genders, etc.

Despite our intentions and efforts to include everyone. Realistically no educator is capable of accommodating all learning styles preferences at all times nor capable of developing a way of teaching for each individual student, thus must must realize that no matter the approach utilized to address diversity “it will be only partially successful” (Brookfield, 2015, p.109) and “we will always fall short” (Brookfield, 2015, p.108).

References:

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the classroom (3rd ed.) .San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Center for Excellence in Teaching. (n.d.). Teaching in a Diverse Classroom. University of South Carolina. Retrieved from http://cet.usc.edu/resources/teaching_learning/docs/teaching_nuggets_docs/2.8_Teaching_in_a_Diverse_Classroom.pdf

Cook, L., & M. Friend. 1995. Co-teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children 28(3): 1-16. Retrieved from http://plaza.ufl.edu/mrichner/Readings/Cook%20&%20Friend%20(1995).pdf

Montgomery, M. S. (1998). Student Learning Styles and their Implications for teaching. CRLT Occasional Papers : University of Michigan(10). Retrieved from http://www.crlt.umich.edu/sites/default/files/resource_files/CRLT_no10.pdf

 

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