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 Diverse populations in classrooms

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Posts : 291
Join date : 2012-07-19
Age : 44
Location : Kanata

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PostSubject: Diverse populations in classrooms   Diverse populations in classrooms Icon_minitimeThu Jul 26, 2012 4:22 pm

In my ten plus years teaching in Korea I have taught thousands of students. During those years I have experienced classes with mixed-age groups, mixed-abilities, and some students with impaired learning abilities. Even though these classes were somewhat more challenging than ‘normal’ classes, they all shared one thing in common: an approach that fits the class and objectives of the lesson.

I think one of the initial challenges teachers encounter when striving to meet diverse needs is dealing with inappropriate teaching materials. Learners inevitably have different backgrounds, different beliefs and different life experiences. In order to confront this challenge teachers need to be flexible and, if need be, to adapt and compromise. Having materials that may not reach all learners requires teachers to look at the materials and see how they can be altered in order to make them relevant to all without losing the focus of the lesson. The adaptation of materials can be as simple as rewording a few questions or encouraging learners to seek the differences and report back on them.

A second challenge teachers inevitably encounter is the varied speeds at which learners acquire information. If teachers do not take this factor into account the consequences can be extremely counterproductive. To confront this dilemma, teachers need to be accommodating. Having activities that are somewhat more challenging for advanced learners and similar, though less taxing, activities for struggling learners can keep everyone on track to learn the basic lesson while also giving teachers more time to help students that are struggling. Another useful tool is to encourage stronger learners to mentor and encourage their slower peers. Many struggling students blossom in this environment. Finally, dedicated, passionate teachers can devote some time during recess, lunch or after school to help learners.

A final challenge teachers may encounter is a learner’s intolerance toward differences. In order to tackle this problem I strongly believe teachers’ attitudes must of necessity involve firmness and control. Students need to learn respect and tolerance. A learner who is disrespectful toward others needs to be taken aside immediately and spoken to about the negative affects the remarks can have on an individual. Teachers should also warn that any further use of inappropriate or disrespectful language again may result in a call to their parents, or a trip to the principal’s office. Finally, teachers must establish clear behavioral parameters by discussing respect on the first day of school or class.
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