Diversity… but how?

Posted: October 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Diversity in the classroom is ever present and hard to ignore. Like Brookfield mentions, there are different cultural, gender, personality, and learning elements involved. He has some great tools to ensure that instructors are “mixing modalities”, team teaching or diversifying the student groups.

Yet one tool had me very confused. He states “One common exercise is to ask students to name themselves by describing the racial or ethnic groups they see themselves belonging to, and to announce how they wish to be addressed”. Whhhhhat?! Would students in today’s classroom in Vancouver, Canada want to participate in this? What does this achieve? How does this benefit the learning environment?

Another tool is the “circle of objects exercise in which each student brings in an object she feels says something about her culture and family history and then talks about its meaning in her life”. Again, this had me shaking my head. A cultural show and tell? There are very few times I can see this as appropriate in an academic setting.

I am in agreement that there are ways to work with the diversity in the classroom, but I think Brookfield’s ideas are a little misguided. What are your thoughts?


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