During the last few years we as a school leader I have spoken and read about diversity in the classroom. I have addressed the need to become culturally sensitive to meet the various needs of my students. The term diversity can be a difficult term to define; as a matter of fact, I believe the complexity in defining the term often leads to our difficulty to recognize the various needs and perspectives of others.
In my teaching, I always tried to frame my pedagogical approach around the diverse needs of the students. Utilizing this approach as a framework has also helped me to become a more effective educational leader. As an educational leader, I constantly ask myself the following question:
- How is it possible to prepare teachers for the wide range of cultures, abilities, and talents that they will meet in any given classroom?
There is not a right or wrong answer to this question, but I like to think of three key points to describe an effective approach to this question:
- To be humble and recognize that you have much to learn form your students and their communities.
- Approach your teaching with a sense of inquiry, framing questions about your students and their needs to guide your teaching.
- Have a willingness to share your story. Other teachers need to know what you have leaned and how you have gained your wisdom.
Within these three points you can find all the necessary ingredients of inclusive pedagogy. Following these points helps you move towards a more culturally responsive instructional approach. I have further developed three questions to guide you during your career. These questions will help establish a culturally responsive approach to your teaching career:
- How will you learn from your students and their communities?
- How do you plan to approach your teaching with a sense of inquiry?How will you frame your questions about your students and their needs to guide your teaching?
- How will you share your story?