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Student Diversity - Essay Example

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Diversity exists in different forms around us. Schools are certainly no exception, with parents from different nationalities, economic background and races trying to ascertain best education for their children. Economic liberalization has resulted in people migrating from one continent to another in search of jobs, which in turn reflects in the composition of schools where students from different countries trying to adjust with each other…
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Student Diversity
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Download file to see previous pages Lowe and Cook (2003) contend that the shift from controlled environment of home to school or from school to university where the student is expected to accept personal responsibility for education as well as social aspects often creates anxiety and stress. Diversity is bound to increase as we see freer movement of people across the boundaries. Meacham et al (2003) have found out that increase in the racial and ethnic diversity in the USA was maximum in the 1980s. If we trace the timeline of globalization, we realize that it was during this decade that the phenomenon picked up in a big way. This fact is further strengthened by Meacham et al (2003) when they state, "In the 1990s, people of color, women, and immigrants constituted approximately 85% of the entrants into the workforce." This diversity is workforce was bound to be reflected amongst the student population.
President Barak Obama is one of the finest example of how deep the impact of diversity has been in our society. Some years ago it would be impossible to imagine that a non-white, having roots outside USA believing in a different faith that Christianity could make it to the White House. But, true to the spirit of Marshal McLuhan's global village concept, this is a reality today. One of the leading democracies of the world preferred a non-white over a native white, to lend credence to the belief that American indeed respects diversity is all walks of life. Education is certainly no exception. The motto of Samuel S. Fels Cluster, the small school district in Philadelphia is, "We respect the culture in you". It is interesting to note that this school district is home to more than 80 ethnicities and 40-plus languages among the 9000 students of its eight schools (Blassingame, 2000).
As the society become more diverse, it also affects our lifestyle and education with inputs coming up from all over and a well accepted amalgamations reaching out to different sections of the recipients in society. Colleges and university campuses not only help in providing the intended education, but the campuses also provide a platform for students to learn more about other's cultures, beliefs and way of life. In a study carried out by McClellan et al (2003) to analyze the impact of diversity prevailing in schools, about 18 percent of the students took note of the minority students in their classrooms, indicating that this segment of students did realize the importance of diversity in their classes. It has also been emphasized in the study that since the percentage of students realizing the importance of diversity was not much, it required sensitization efforts on the part of the school administration, NGOs or government authorities.
The National Conference on Community and Justice is one such platform which has been providing training and assistance to the students about the importance of diversity and need to respect it. This type of training handles issues 'surrounding cultures, religions, class, gender, physical and mental abilities, size and age' and the student community is trained to handle the situation without resorting to bullying or violent behavior (Burroughs, 2007). It is worth mentioning here that such efforts seem to have borne fruit, if we look at the statistics of violent crimes in US schools over last decade. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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