Because of the rapidly changing demographics, teachers have to deal with a mixture of students and this poses a great challenge for them. The challenges should be used to increase co operation and understanding between the different students. All the people associated with the students like parents and administrators serve an important role in assuring a meaningful experience for the students at school, but teachers are the main source of learning and character formation as they are the ones who create the learning environment (Drake, 1993).
In order to be effective in classes with diversity, teachers must be aware of and develop sensitivity towards the same. Following are given some points that may be helpful for teachers who are willing to improve their relationship with students:
The values of people from diverse backgrounds are different from those of the dominant population, therefore, teachers dealing with diverse learners must realize that differences exist in underlying attributes or inferences about the causes of behavior and that in a certain situation the meaning of a particular behavior may differ because of different norms, values or experiences (Casbon et al, 1997) . To provide relief to students from other cultures, assessment practices should be included in literacy instruction so as to allow adeptness in language, other than Standard English.
This is important because the acceptance of dialects allow students to make better use of language (Casbon et al, 1997). Teachers should also consider get involved with community activities as this will help them to learn more about the students and their communities. They should also try working closely with parents to improve their own sensitivity towards students (Casbon et al, 1997). It is imperative for teachers to develop “sympathy toward others, an appreciation of difference, an ability to imagine one’s otherness” (cited in Casbon et al, 1997).
Teachers should learn how to be open to other cultures as this promotes excitement and enthusiasm and a feeling of connectedness among the students beyond their immediate groups and schools can act as vital cultural centers where students become aware of learn of differences between their primary culture and the dominant culture (Casbon et al, 1997). In enhancing literacy among multicultural students, teachers are required to be more caring and to affirm diversity. Caring is very important and requires three activities
Being receptive to other’s perspective Responding to the aware ness that is obtained from other’s perspective Remaining committed to the involved party and to the relationship (Casbon et al, 1997). This means that teachers should get to know about the values and cultures of the students, try making use of the attained knowledge for improvements and be willing and strive to remain committed to the students and to the improvement of teacher-student relationship. Teachers should create such an environment that value and foster cultural differences.
The difference between languages, dresses, attitudes and like should be valued as they are important to dealing with diversity in a supportive and understanding manner (Drake, 1993). Teacher’s education programs To achieve equity and excellence, reforms are being introduced in public schools of the United States (cited in Trent, Kea and Oh, 2008). Different legislations like No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004(IDEA) are on of the reasons for the continued focus on equity but even then many of the special students fail in school at higher rates than their White fellows.
The legislations like NCLB and IDEA are being adopted at a time when schools are becoming more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, language and socio economic characteristics. As compared to the increased diversity among students, the demographic characteristics of the teachers are turning out to be more in proportion of white, female, and middle class (cited in Trent, Kea and Oh, 2008).
Because of this, teacher education programs should call for measures like increasing diversity among the faculty as individuals of diverse backgrounds have a better understanding of how more diverse clients (student) make use of the environments at home and outside home (Pluviose,2007). Another measure is to provide the teachers with White pre service and in service teachets to make them culturally responsive (Trent, Kea and Oh, 2008).