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Jake has autism; he does things a little differently. Jake not only taught me that he was
not different but he also taught me how to do school work in a better way. He was my first lesson
in diversity in a classroom. If it was not for that diverse classroom the way I see the world would
be completely different because Jake would not have been in my class. Jake affected my
classroom but what about other different type of diversities in a classroom. This led to my
question; does diversity affect a classroom especially when looking at racial differences,
disabilities and learning differences? Understanding how diversity affects a classroom can then
go to the question, how can teachers use diversity to benefit a classroom and also get other
students to accept diversity? To have diverse classroom teachers need to understand problems
that are created, how to deal with those problems and what a diverse classroom will look like.
Understanding the history of education really impacts how things are today especially
because schools are becoming more and more diverse. Public schools started in 1790 in
Pennsylvania (Applied Research Center, 2012). Public schools were started first to teach children
to read the bible, with this in the 1800s slaves were not allow to go to school or even read. Then
in 1905 the U.S. Supreme Court required that California extend public education to children of
Chinese immigrants (Applied Research Center, 2012). This is one of the first times where
schools became more diverse. Then in 1954 it was said that separate was not equal in the Brown
v. Board of Education court case (Applied Research Center, 2012). During this court case it
desegregated school, whites and African Americans now could go to school together.
What are the problems that do not help create a diverse classroom?

There are many things that make a classroom diverse. Cultural background, race,
religion, disabilities, learning difference and many more, each one important part of how a child
learning and how others interact with them. Problems that can range from racial slurs that do not
get reprehended or how where we live limits the amount of diversity we see.
Looking at my high school, we had a lot of white, African American and Mexican
Americas. We were unknowly segregation ourselves. Phrase like its because Im black, or go
jump a fence could be heard every day. Even our classes were separated, more of the high level
classes were had mostly white- Americans and African American. On the other hand everyone
succeeded in sports. This is very similar to research done by James Moody, where he states that
academic tracking creates a status differential between students and that extracurricular activities
mix students (Moody, 2001). Schools are integrated but still are racially divided (Moody, 2001).
Since schools are racially divided we cannot really access the knowledge or thoughts that could
come out of these groups of students connecting together. This is hard to do because schools are
built in areas and the closest population goes to that school. For example, rich areas and also
poorer areas go to schools near where they live limiting the outside influence of different socio-
economic backgrounds.
Similarly ideas can come into learning difference and disabilities. Another issue is how
students interact with other students with disabilities. This can cause problems just because they
do not understand what could cause the other person to become upset. Also now there are laws
that protect anyone with any disability that can affect their learning. One law is the IDEA law,
which was created to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity public education,
just like other children but to also allow them to have the resources that allow them understand
the lessons (IDEAthe Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2012). This law allowed

student to be part of a classroom, but aslo making them part of the classroom community is what
the teacher needs to do. How a teacher handles students with any disability can make the
difference between how students learn and react with other students that have special needs.
How can teachers show that she values and respects diversity in the classroom?
There are many ways to show that a teacher values and respects diversity. One way is to
not look at skin color and treat everyone equally. For example, Moody talks about trying being
race blind, which means that students do not look at race (Moody, 2001). Like the Brown v.
Board of Education states that schools cannot be separate but equal (Brown v. Board of
Education). Maybe we should not race blind but understand and learn more about others, more
than African history month and Hispanic history month. Racial diversity is important like any
other type of diversity; we live in a very international world. We can connect to places miles
away from where we are. Teachers can teach about racial diversity, explaining what and how
people do things from all around the world.
If a student is from a different place, she or he can allow that student or their parent to
talk to the class. This would allow students understand that people may do something differently
but it is not something that should be looked down at but something to learn and understand
about. When racial slurs are being said, teachers need to explain that saying those things are
untrue and hurt those other peoples feelings.
There are many ways that a teacher or school could help create a more positive learning
environment. Something that my high school did was the Down with the R word campaign.
Saying retarded finally became uncool. Disabilities can range from physical handicaps like being
in a wheel chair or being Deaf to autism. These students need help to reach school and
educationally goals but they can also teach others a simpler way to do something.

A study done in India that looks at how teachers factor in how teachers factor in how
students accept students with disabilities. The general idea that this research questions and looks
at is that the teacher plays a vital role in facilitating positive interactions between students with
and without disabilities (David & Kuyini, 2012, p. 1). This means that teachers need to watch
what they say and do when it comes to students with disabilities, but the same ideas can be said
by treating all students equally and creating a safe place to learn and make friends. By doing this
it creates increased peer interaction; possibly create more learning opportunities and better
outcomes for students with disabilities (David & Kuyini, 2012, p. 8). This does not only
positively affect students with disabilities.
Shared experiences allow the students to stop treating someone else as a lower human
being but as someone that can teach them and that they can teach. One teacher said that if she
misunderstands the student with a hearing impairment that the students will tell her what the
other child meant, also that they help him/her with classwork (David & Kuyini, 2012, p. 8-9).
Helping students with disabilities not only allow other students to understand what challenges
that they face, but also allows them to look at material in a different way which may make it
make more sense to them.
What does a diverse classroom look like and how to create it?
A diverse classroom is what most educators want it allows students to understand what is
it is like for people all around the world or with challenges that they may not know some others
have to face. Queen Borough Community College states that the concept of diversity
encompasses acceptance and respect (Queens Borough Community College, n.d). To reach this
in a school and a classroom it means that everyone needs to respect and accept others, and not be
judgmental. Diversity is created by both individuals and groups (Queens Borough Community

College, n.d). It can be done by a teacher telling a student not to say a slur or a group of people
talking and learning a different language because a new student came from a different country.
Queens Borough Community College states that there are five practices that people can do to be
diverse and also accept diversity. The first is to understand and appreciate difference in cultures,
and humanity (Queens Borough Community College, n.d). Some others are practice mutual
respect for qualities and experiences that are not our own, know that diversity not only includes
way of being but also ways of thinking ,We need to understand what may be good for one person
may not be good for another and that alliances between differences can make diversity flourish
(Queens Borough Community College, n.d). If all of these points happen in a classroom then
students can benefit from each other.
Those benefits can range from learning a different language to learning how to do
something a different way. For example my roommate is from South Korea and she learned how
to do a math problem differently than I knew how. As she taught me this, I learned how to do
something differently that really helped. Diversity can and will strength a classroom, because
every person has their own strengths and weakness. Those allow each student to help one
another. What I image a diverse school and classroom is a school and classes that is happing in
countries all over Georgia. One example is World Language Academy in Hall County. There
they learn English, Spanish, and also Chinese, with also cultural background from all over the
world. They are learning all about the world and I think that helps make them the diverse
students that they need to be.

When teachers stop allowing differences to affect classrooms a new world opens up.
Students start to understand each other and learn from each other and that is one way that
students can learn how to do something better for themselves. Accepting diversity can be
difficult but as American is become more diverse then it was in the 1800s, diversity in a
classroom is going to happen. We need to understand and be more open to diversity, which will
benefit not only students but everyone.


Applied Reaseach Center. (2012). Historical Timeline of Public Education In the US. Factsheet.
Retrieved from
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954).
David, R., Kuyini, A. B., (2012). Social Inclusion: Teachers As Facilitators In Peer Acceptance
of Students with Disabilities in Regular Classrooms in Tamil Nadu, India. International
Journal of Special Education, 27 Retrieved from:
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2012). IDEA-the Individual with
Disabilities Education Act. Disability & Education Law. Retrieved from
Moody, J. (2001). Race, school integration, friendship segregation in America. American
Journal of Sociology.107.3. Retrieved from
Queens Borough Community College. Definition for diversity (n.d.). Retrieved from www.