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Respect for Cultural Diversity Needs to Begin at School

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Diversity is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating differences among people concerning age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical, and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice, and public assistance status.

The notion of diversity integrates awareness of, and respect for, differences into the way people communicate and interact. Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves but how they perceive others. Respecting сultural diversity begins at school.

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Diversity is about learning from others who are not the same, about dignity and respect for all, and about creating environments and practices that encourage learning from others and capture the advantage of diverse perspectives.

Throughout the previous years, we have noticed a huge shift in the formulation of campus populations in terms of race, gender, religion, etc… Having a diverse composition of students on campus creates many important values. Students who are only familiar with a homogeneous composition become more open to becoming exposed to people who are different or have a different point of view than themselves. Those who are familiar with living in a heterogeneous society, become more open to studying new options and giving them a shot. Diversity helps universities become more responsive to the ever-changing demands of the global workplace by capitalizing on the cultures, talents, and ideas of a broader group of people.

Benefits of Diversity on Campuses:

Increasing Self-Awareness

Diversity enhances students’ self-awareness. Learning about others’ experiences helps students develop their self-insight and self-development because they learn to compare their experiences to others’ experiences. They thus become better and analyzing any situation they go through and assessing the right decision to make. Students learn how to step out of their comfort zone and urge them to start thinking out of the box. They are no longer imprisoned to the traditional thoughts and stereotypes.

Creating Worldliness

Diversity also creates worldliness. On the cultural level, diversity creates a colorful society of different cultures on campus. Students studying alongside foreign classmates are usually more open to learning or reading a foreign language and are more interested in the music, art, history, and literature of other cultures. It gives them an overview of the world without having them leave. It promotes a new level of cultural awareness and confronts students with new cross-cultural experiences, like celebrating new holidays, trying different cuisines, or even visiting new countries. When you put several students from different backgrounds in one classroom, you make it easier to expose them to other cultural perspectives than having an entire classroom from the same background. This opens several doors for students who choose to have an adventurous career path. It might encourage them to travel abroad looking for new opportunities where they could excel.

Creating Social Bonds and Promoting Social Development

Diversity promotes personal growth and social development. Students become more open-minded and ready to reconsider their political and religious points of view and thus making them more likely to avoid stereotypes. Students start to form friendships and interactions with each other and expand the circle of relationships surrounding them which makes them more enthusiastic. Imagine how boring it would be if you had to have the same conversation with the same people who originally have the same background as yours. This creates healthy communities where members are chosen based on their characters and their contributions. Most importantly, this creates great bonds between students and allows them to develop so many connections all over the world.

Improving Academic Tools and Techniques

Diversity among students from different cultures together in one classroom will create a very productive learning experience, one that will illustrate an idea of the world they’re about to graduate to and increase the cultural adaptability of everyone at the university. Diversity is also important because it helps in developing academic tools on campuses. Students coming from different backgrounds pitch in new ideas and diverse resources from their home country that create a breakthrough in the scientific and technical research fields. Thus, students encourage their teachers to bring out new techniques of instruction that are different than previous consistent ways.

Demonstrating A Diverse Global Workplace

One of the most important traits of being a good leader is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your followers. Diversity is also important for students who want to have a successful future career. Students who understand their colleagues who share different ideas or come from a different cultural backgrounds tend to be more successful in a diverse workplace because they can relate to others which makes them more tentative about becoming good leaders one day. Diversity prepares students for working in a global workplace or society. Students who have already worked with people from different backgrounds and societies find it easier to engage in a global workplace. First, because they are already familiar with the idea of accepting others around them, and second because they have built many strong public relations from around the world which facilitate their lives abroad.

Universities take the students who have outstanding criteria and who seem to have the most promising future and invest in them. They bring along with them international perspectives and stories from their own experience in the classroom and thus contribute to exposing students to the global market. Those themselves become a great added value to the university and its reputation. The happier international students are on campus, the better word of mouth this campus receives. This diversity promotes creativity in the classroom and often brings successful results.

Diversity and Inclusion:

Diversity is the idea of being born different. Whether you were born with it or not, whatever makes you unique is part of being diverse. As for inclusion, it’s all about taking this uniqueness and bringing the best out of it. Inclusion is all about bringing together all the unique resources to create something beneficial to the society or environment. Diversity and inclusion together could bring out something amazing in US classrooms.

The more the student population changes, the more US campuses should too. Universities should set promoting diversity as a priority in building a successful academic institution. Instructors should work on getting out of a diverse classroom something extremely positive.

Here are some ways to promote diversity in the US classrooms:

1) Self-awareness:

Promoting diversity in the classroom begins with focusing on self-awareness. Instructors should realize the importance of having cultural intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion and the impact they have on the classroom. Students should realize that they are privileged by being part of a diverse classroom and learn how to listen actively to others who have had different life experiences because they belong to different social groups.

2) Class Norms:

Promoting diversity in classrooms also depends on setting class norms that focus on inclusion and openness. Instructors should create a friendly environment in the classroom, one that teaches students how to listen wisely to one another and be open about sharing opinions and values. Students should learn how to respect each other especially when they disagree. Instructors need to create class flexible norms that could be amended when needed, and that could challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.

3) Culturally Relevant Teaching:

In culturally relevant teaching, the focus is elevated on social justice and activism. Instructors should emphasize academic excellence and cultural competence in the classroom. Because respecting сultural diversity begins at school. They should teach the students the importance of tolerance and shed important light on the idea that diversity is not just about having different races but having different thoughts, ideas, and points of view. These thoughts and ideas allow introduce students to a deeper meaning of diversity and expose them to different cultural intersections. 

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