There are many classes of diversity existing in today’s schools where students come from very different and varied backgrounds. Instead pf covering all the aspects of the different classes of diversity, we chose ethnicity, race, color, religion and socio economic characteristics to have a better understanding of the phenomenon. Ethnicity Ethnicity is characterized by a group of people who differ from the majority of the population in race, color, religion or cultural origin. The different identity of an ethnic minority may be visible in their peculiar lifestyle, customs, language, values, dress or believes (Chaiklin, 2008).
One of the main characteristics of ethnicity is that it does not follow the local lifestyle of the Native American but maintain that of their own Another one of the ethnic characteristic is that it is usually escorted by prejudice and discrimination, reason being that they differ from the practiced norms in most of the situations. The most significant aspect that can provoke prejudice is the skin color, for instance, some of the minorities are easily identifiable from their tan complexion. The degree of similarity to the major population is important in determining how the ethnics are treated.
Acceptance of this minority group is also facilitated by the economics resources that they possess to achieve their goals, especially in the United States, as economic success defines different classes is largely defined by economic success. This also includes having the economic resources to obtain education (Chaiklin, 2008). The presence of many ethnic minorities, made USA adopt the idea of multiculturalism which emphasizes the importance of integrating the different cultures but on the other extreme it may also promote individual identity of the minority by maintaining their uniqueness.
This concept of multiculturism, initiated formal programs for bringing respect for diversity in pubic schools by providing bilingual education to immigrant children. This acted as a cornerstone for laying foundation of a friendlier environment for the ethnic minority. Later similar actions were also adopted by colleges and universities because of pressures from the minority groups but such steps were met with criticism (Chaiklin, 2008).
Patterns of ethnic differences have shown that in primary schools, the ethnic minority performed at a lower level than other pupils but by the time of secondary education, this pattern was vice versa, controlling for socio -economic differences (Dekkers et al, 2000). Thus, if observed over a period of time, ethnicity does not affect the academic achievements of the diverse students. Gender The two genders are not similar; they differ not only in their biological characteristics but also in their psychological characteristics and behaviors.
The genders bring with them diversity wherever they go. In the context of schools, there is evidence of growing disparity in academic evaluation of both genders. The gender differences also have an impact on performance in difference subjects for instance it has been observed that girls’ excel boys in reading and writing during primary school, but later these differences disappear. On the other hand, boys perform better than girls in mathematics and science, but this difference doesn’t goes away with time and instead keeps on increasing.
The difference is evident in the choice of examination subjects where girls were more interested and took up art and language subjects whereas boys took more technical and science subjects (Dekkers et al, 2000). Other studies on the basis of periodic achievement assessments demonstrate gender differences related to achievements in science subjects. In most countries (12 out of 15), by the age of 17, boys exceed girls by much higher scale especially in mathematics and science. As a result of choosing subject other than math and science, the careers of girls stay limited to a certain pay and status.
One of the major problems that schools face is the behavior of boys which often implicates wider social context of male violence (Heward, 2000). The more complex issues in schools are: Disruption, mostly by boys, is one of the most intransigent issues in the day-to-day management of classrooms and schools; it is part of the gender characteristic of power relations. disruption can be kept under control by getting the boys involved in various activities of different types that may be constructive (Heward, 2000)
Literacy is another issue which is of particular importance with respect to boys because of the gap in test results of both the genders. Even before entering school, young boys believe learning to be a domain of girls. If given moral training of reading emotions, boys consider it a direct challenge to their masculinities and resist it (Heward, 2000) Teachers should focus on building constructive relationship with boys, promote friendliness among them and try to erase the various misconceptions regarding masculinity and femininity.