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In an educational setting, the term diversity is used to encompass differences in race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economics, religion, nationality, values, learning styles, sexual orientation, abilities/disabilities, political views, and language background among the learners, teachers, and/or staff. Numerous studies have been conducted on the topic of student diversity in the classroom. Ladson-Billings (1995) also reiterates the notion that students’ identities need to affirmed and that teachers should teach students to appreciate others’ differences. Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (pp.197-224). The essays in this volume include, among others: Faculty and TAs exploring issues in diversity in teaching and learning may be interested in the following programs, initiatives and centers at Vanderbilt.They range from service units offering direct assistance to those who are teaching at Vanderbilt, to research and outreach projects that present more indirect links to-but with important implications for–the Vanderbilt classroom.Other research indicates that student diversity in the classroom is not without challenges to both teachers and students.
In particular, research on cultural diversity in the classroom has indicated that this form of diversity enhances students’ awareness, promotes higher academic achievement, and broadens students’ perspective on different socio-cultural issues.
What teachers perceive they are aware of about the field may be based upon vague information stemming from popular culture of the media (Gay, 2002).
Many researchers also emphasize the importance of creating a classroom culture that promotes an appreciation of learner differences. Beverly Daniel Tatum (2007) proposes that teachers should affirm students’ identities, build a community atmosphere in the classroom, and cultivate leadership.
An additional key issue when accommodating for cultural diversity in the classroom is the inaccurate idea that classroom subjects, such as math and science, are incompatible with cultural diversity.
Gay (2002) proposes that there is actually a position for cultural diversity in every subject. Multi-ethnic education: Theory and practice (3rd ed.).
Michal Kurlaender and John Yun (2002) conducted a survey-based research study on students at Harvard University, where only 31 percent of the student population is Caucasian and the remaining 69 percent is of various ethnic and national backgrounds.