The Advantages of Diversity in the Classroom

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In today's society there remain marked debates of ethnicity, race, and religion. After all, it wasn't that long ago that blacks were kept separate from the rest of society, when immigrants were treated with suspicion and women with derision. Many still are. The classroom being a natural mirror for society, it stands to reason that the same debates rage throughout our school systems. Despite the enlightened strivings toward equality that have been pursued in the last decades, there remain many groups and individuals who maintain that diversity is an inconvenient or even dangerous idea. Rarely does anyone argue the case for diversity in the classroom; people are very rarely seen on the local news station espousing the merits of diverse integration. Yet the concept of diversity is integral to the continued effectiveness of the American school system.

Many of the advantages which can be found in an atmosphere of diversity should be self-evident, yet they deserve further examination even so. Seemingly the first major advantage to be found in an ethnically or culturally diverse classroom is the opportunity to share different viewpoints and knowledge. People are born into a cultural heritage, thus it is often hard to understand the opinions and customs of others, especially as we grow older and more set in our ways. Yet within a culturally diverse class it is possible for children to garner a better education by looking at an event, or an item of artistic significance from several different vantage points. For example, from an Anglo-Saxon point of view, the colonization of the American west can be attributed to Manifest Destiny, yet to Native Americans, the same event may be seen as an invasion from the east. It is imperative that we introduce different world views on our children, before they become so accustomed to their own viewpoint that they dismiss any other out of hand. Just as a researcher will find more than one source

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