Understanding Diversity: Factors Leading to Diversity and Their Implications in Learning

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Factors Leading to Diversity and Their Implications in Learning

Gender

  • The layman understands gender as male and female. Gender needs to be understood in terms of social and cultural identity associated with being a boy or a girl. ‘Sex’ is a term closely related and often used interchangeably with gender.

  • Understanding gender in terms of social cultural identity involves realizing the expected social characteristics and behaviors expected from a boy or a girl. Both biological and social factors influence its formation.

  • Differences in treatment between girls and boys make them sensitive towards their expected roles in the society. One major manifestation of this is the provision separate toilets for them and special training of the human resource of the center in gender-sensitive issues.

  • The desired modification in the teaching learning process includes creating learning situations which allows equal participation of both genders.

  • Schools must ensure the girl child feels welcome and secure. In case the girl is disabled or challenged or belongs to disadvantaged or weaker section of the society, she faces double or triple discrimination. Firstly, because she is a girl, secondly due to her disability or challenge and lastly of being born in the disadvantaged or weaker community thus aggravating the situation.

Socio-Economic Status

This is one of the major factors responsible for diversity in the classroom. Those belonging to lower or higher socio-economic groups need to be given due space in the textbooks, curriculum and classroom activities.

The diversity due to socio-economic status is more apparent in those ECCE centers where children are not expected to wear a uniform, leaving them free to dress in casuals or home wear or home clothes. The diversity in the clothes worn by the children indicates a lot about the financial and social status of the family. Diversity due to socio-economic status can be utilised as teaching learning resource as each child brings with them their own experiences to the classroom which can be shared and used for teaching learning.

Physical Disabilities

  • Physical disabilities are related to impairments leading to some restrictions of the physical activities. These should not be used as an excuse for not involving the children with disabilities in teaching-learning activities along with the rest of the group. Presence of children with disability in the classroom provides an opportunity to the teachers as well as school administration to grow professionally.

  • Children with physical disabilities can be easily included in classroom activities, by slight modification in the pedagogy. For example, during rhyme time, children with hearing impairment can be included if the teacher incorporates sign language.

  • A sign language expert or special educator may also be consulted to facilitate communication.

  • While dealing with children with disabilities, our words, or how we address them matter a great deal. It is always advisable to use the word ‘child’ first followed by the type of disability. For example, instead of saying ‘autistic child’ say, ‘child with autism.’

Religious Belief

These refer to beliefs related to God, creation of humanity, rituals, festivals etc. All religions have equal rights. India is probably the only country in the world, which is home to so many religions like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism etc. For many people, religion is an important part of daily life. Religious values, beliefs and customs are shaped by the family of the child.

Religious Belief

Religious Belief

Children carry their experiences of religious practices from home and community to the classrooms.

Cognitive Style

  • This refers to the difference in the way children respond to the educational interventions and assimilate learning. Each child has a particular style of learning depending on individual personality and exposure as well as access to learning resources.

  • Variation in cognitive style adds variety to the classroom and has direct implications for the educational administrators as well as the teachers. The class teacher must adopt teaching methods to cater to all the children in the class. Teaching a concept to cater to different learning styles benefits the whole class.

  • The benefits of classroom diversity are both academic and socio emotional. Teachers must give importance to creating diverse learning opportunities for children thereby exposing them to diverse experiences. This will make a positive impact on their development and immensely impact society.

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