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Since, I have come to United States and started my program, I’ve been interacting with diverse classmates who are different than me in culture, gender, color, religion, language, ability, life experience, education skills, etc. This is a completely new experience for me! I realize how America is a diverse place that is different than where I come from. Which make me understand what diversity means and how important to be cautious about communicating with different people.
From my experience, I find diversity makes us smarter since being in a group of diverse students allows us to produce better work, exchange different ideas, opinions, thoughts, even learn new languages. On the other hand, inclusion is active, intentional and ongoing engagement with these diversity in the curriculum and community. Diversity and inclusion are hot topics especially in an education setting. I understand how enhancing diversity and making the classroom inclusive is difficult.
I’ve read an article written by Florian and Black-Hawkins, its title is “Exploring Inclusive Pedagogy”, the authors examining teachers’ knowledge of their practice of “inclusion” in terms of what they do, why and how. According to Florian and Black-Hawkins (2011), there are three distinguishing terms that used under the umbrella of inclusive which are: inclusive pedagogy, inclusive education and inclusive practice. Inclusive pedagogy is a focus on “the act of teaching and its attendant discourse”. Inclusive Education is “a process of increasing participation and decreasing exclusion from the culture, community and curricula of mainstream schools”. Inclusive Practice is the thing that people do to give meaning to the concept of inclusion. Let’s concentrate on inclusive pedagogy that requires teachers to shift in teaching and learning from an approach that works for most students to one that provides rich learning opportunities that are made for everyone, so every student who is eager to learn is able to participate in classroom life (Florian & Black-Hawkins, 2011).
There are many good techniques that teachers can follow to make a classroom more inclusive. I remember one strategy that may consider as an example of classroom inclusion. Our professor in Design for learning class, asked us to fill out an online survey in the beginning of the semester focusing on our educational background, experience with instructional design, next career goals, our reasons to take this course, what would we like to have achieved in this course, who are we as learners, what are our strengths and challenges, how we do like to learn, how we do NOT like to learn, and other questions. I think this a good strategy to find out students’ competence beforehand to plan carefully for the class.
Florian, L., & Black‐Hawkins, K. (2011). Exploring inclusive pedagogy. British Educational Research Journal, 37(5), 813–828.