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Classroom practices for teaching diversity: an example from Washington State (United States)

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Abstract:

It is difficult to identify classroom practices for teaching cultural diversity that could be applicable across national and cultural contexts. So much weight in research on ethnic and cultural diversity is given to the environmental, sociological and historical influences which mitigate learning that "universal" strategies are almost unthinkable. The author proposes that teacher education programmes focus on principles to guide classroom practices rather than specific practices themselves. Prospective teachers can be taught how to translate these principles into effective strategies for their particular classroom settings. Four principles are discussed: (i) how beliefs about diversity shape instructional behaviours; (ii) using multiple perspectives in learning about diversity; (iii) multiple techniques to achieve common learning outcomes; and (iv) developing skills to cross borders between different cultural systems. Specific examples are provided to illustrate what these principles look like in actual instructional practice, but the emphasis is on encouraging teachers to develop their own.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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