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Diversity: Making Sense of It Through Critical Thinking


Within any given group of students, one can expect to find differences along all, or most, of the following parameters: preferred learning styles (including concrete vs. abstract, sequential vs. random, introverted versus extroverted, etc.), race, gender, ethnicity, intellectual skill level (including reading, writing, speaking and listening skills), culture, family history and level of functioning, emotional development, physical or mental disability, personality, intellectual characteristics, self-esteem, knowledge, motivation, creativity, social adjustment, genetic intellectual inclinations, and maturity -- to name some of the most commonly considered candidates. To put this another way, each and every student who comes to us is unique, and, what is more, unique in a variety of ways.

We are living in an age where calls for an emphasis on diversity have become the norm. Multiple interest groups have emerged demanding special consideration and/or "equality" in the classroom. Political pressures on teachers to bear in mind this or that diversity issue has never been greater.

In one sense, it seems apparent that we should take into account individual differences of students, and that we should consider those differences when designing instruction. Yet, in another sense, given the multiplicity of differences within and among students, it seems obviously impossible to simultaneously teach to all of those differences.

No teacher is capable of taking into account or teaching to.....

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