As this school year comes to an end, teachers around the country take a brief break from the classroom.  This summer is a perfect time to reflect on the school year. What went well? What could you do better? How did your students do – did they meet your expectations academically?

You know that the diversity in American schools and classrooms is rapidly increasing each year. Think about how you can further incorporate diversity into your lessons. What can you do to reach your students where they are, and help them to master the necessary academic concepts for advancement? What can you do to facilitate awareness and understanding between cultures? 

Below is a checklist for creating classrooms that embrace diversity, and therefore, a school that strives for the success of all its students.

Classroom Diversity Checklist:

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 red-check Do you discuss many different cultures throughout the school year?For example: social studies might cover countries or wars; language arts might cover literature by cultural authors or read works about differing cultures; art or music classes might cover cultural songs or painting styles; etc.
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 red-check Do you use instruction that includes a wide variety of techniques intended to appeal to a wide variety of student learning styles?Are you using Multiple Intelligences (Harvard professor Howard Gardner’s theory suggesting a much more comprehensive method of identifying intelligence and learning styles of people)?Do you gear lessons toward visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners? Do you offer activities that foster collaboration and cooperation amongst students?

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 red-check Do you construct your lessons around Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Thinking?This method, created by Benjamin Bloom, focuses on the development of higher level thinking skills in students. It utilizes hands-on experiences to teach mastery at progressively more challenging levels of thinking. Use the tiered method to develop the critical and creative thinking skills of all your students.Follow these links to learn more about Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Thinking:

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 red-check Do you build technology use into your lessons?Teachers should be utilizing technology in instructional techniques as much as they should be creating activities for students to use technology.
 red-check Do you use hands-on activities in your lessons?Hands-on allows students to experience new things – new cultures, new artifacts, new stories, new cuisine, new dances. Experience builds understanding.
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 red-check Do you assess your students using unbiased and balanced methods?For example: tests should include a variety of cultures in questions. Students should also be assessed in multiple ways, never simply one.
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 red-check Do you offer choices for students, in projects or assignments?Giving options to students promotes ownership and understanding. Students are able to choose something more relatable to their own background.
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 red-check Do you encourage group work?Students who work in groups learn more effectively about backgrounds and cultures from their peers and in less formal environments. Group work builds understanding and empathy.
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 red-check Do you use a variety of communication styles in your teaching arsenal?A wider array of communication will reach a larger number of students and will allow them to reach mastery of skills more effectively.
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 red-check Does your school openly value diversity?Do they celebrate accomplishments of prominent cultural figures? Are there school-wide events that celebrate multiculturalism?
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 red-check Does your school have faculty members from a wide variety of backgrounds?Visit the link below for fantastic information on diversity in education, as well as another checklist for teachers and schools:
http://education.washington.edu/cme/DiversityUnity.pdf