Working with diverse student populations in a classroom can be both rewarding and challenging. One the one hand, it requires additional effort from the teacher, and on the other hand, the diversity of the classroom provides genuinely unique experiences. This brief paper will deal with several challenges and opportunities of working with diverse student populations.
One of the main challenges of multiracial environment in the classroom is the additional requirement of being culturally sensitive and finding the right knowledgeable approach to different students. This involves not only being aware of the students’ country of origin, race or religion, but also other intrinsic intangible factors such as study ethics, motivation and values. Students of different backgrounds can vary not only in levels of diligence or study success but also in the feelings surrounding daily classroom activities. Therefore, diverse student populations require both cultural knowledge and sensitivity which are often challenging to acquire and put into practice.
Nevertheless, being sensitive to students’ backgrounds is not exclusively required in the conditions of the diverse classroom. Moreover, while acknowledging the possibility of different behaviours, it is important to remember that one “cannot assume that all students who share a cultural background will have the same experience in school, or the same motivational processes” (Urdan & Bruchmann, 2018). In this light, knowing the students from different races or cultures requires the same approach as in being acknowledgeable of any students’ peculiarities.
For any teacher, working with students is a learning experience which becomes richer when working with diverse student populations. It allows the teacher to become more knowledgeable about possible differences in learning habits and compare observations with the theory.
Urdan, T., & Bruchmann, K. (2018). Examining the academic motivation of a diverse student population: A consideration of methodology. Educational Psychologist, 53(2), 114–130. Web.