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A Framework for Diversity-Responsive Teaching: Helping Teachers Organize for Action
Unformatted Document Text:  similarities. These attitudes and skills have direct application to life after school where diversity abounds in society at large. The literature is replete with specific techniques and strategies that make up diversity responsive teaching. We find, however, that for pre-service teachers especially it is sometimes this sheer number of ideas available that makes the task of selecting strategies an overwhelming one. We have developed a three faceted model for helping teachers implement DRT in a classroom setting. The first component provides a framework for ideas for creating an inclusive classroom environment - one in which all students feel welcome and accepted. Aspects of the physical environment, the social environment and the emotional environment are included. The second component provides a structure for ways to plan curriculum content that is relevant and representative of diversity while providing P-12 students with opportunities to increase their knowledge about diversity. A final consideration within this component is making sure that the content taught includes varying perspectives and is an accurate representation of all groups involved. The final component helps teachers address diversity when planning instruction. Universal interventions such as the principles of universal design, differentiated instruction, and research-based teaching strategies are part of this component and so are selected interventions, i.e., individual accommodations and modifications. The DRT model that we will present provides teachers with a way to better manage the large amount of information available on the topic of teaching diverse learners. The DRT framework is used as an organizer throughout our program. It is first introduced to students at the beginning of their program and accomplishes two goals upon its initial introduction. First, it serves as a way to help students recall, organize and name what they already know about diversity. This information comes from personal experience, general university requirements, specific courses on multicultural education and/or other sources. Second, it gives students a way to organize the acquisition of new information about diversity that they will learn in their methods courses throughout the rest of their teacher preparation program. For example, it gives them a way to focus their observations in their practica classes as they watch for examples of diversity responsive teaching. As students progress through the program, the framework serves several additional purposes. First, assignments that are made around the theme of diversity are linked directly to a framework the students already know. In addition, various components of the framework are highlighted in different courses. By the end of the program, our pre-service teachers are well versed in strategies that are effective with most learners, as well as those needed for the success of an individual or a small group. They are able to talk about various components of diversity responsive teaching and give many examples of each. Having a consistent, familiar way to think about and synthesize the information about diversity increases the probability that teachers will apply this information while they are teaching. The diversity responsive teaching framework that we will present, served as the overall college of education organizer for the diversity strand accreditation review by both the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and our state program review. The importance of our model is not that it teaches teacher candidates specific information about diversity, but rather that it helps them organize what they know and need to learn. By introducing this framework at the beginning of the program and referring to it throughout, DRT is seen as something that is simply a routine part of planning. It becomes viewed as a universal intervention designed to meet the needs of all learners, rather than an “add-on” after the fact. Continued study through the use of evaluation tools used to examine student performance in implementing diversity responsive teaching strategies (e.g., field-based observations) is needed to help refine this work in progress. AACTE CONFERENCE PROPOSAL 2 7/8/05

Authors: Price, Kay. and Nelson, Karna.
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similarities. These attitudes and skills have direct application to life after school where diversity
abounds in society at large.
The literature is replete with specific techniques and strategies that make up diversity
responsive teaching. We find, however, that for pre-service teachers especially it is sometimes
this sheer number of ideas available that makes the task of selecting strategies an
overwhelming one. We have developed a three faceted model for helping teachers implement
DRT in a classroom setting. The first component provides a framework for ideas for creating an
inclusive classroom environment - one in which all students feel welcome and accepted.
Aspects of the physical environment, the social environment and the emotional environment are
included. The second component provides a structure for ways to plan curriculum content that
is relevant and representative of diversity while providing P-12 students with opportunities to
increase their knowledge about diversity. A final consideration within this component is making
sure that the content taught includes varying perspectives and is an accurate representation of
all groups involved. The final component helps teachers address diversity when planning
instruction. Universal interventions such as the principles of universal design, differentiated
instruction, and research-based teaching strategies are part of this component and so are
selected interventions, i.e., individual accommodations and modifications. The DRT model that
we will present provides teachers with a way to better manage the large amount of information
available on the topic of teaching diverse learners.
The DRT framework is used as an organizer throughout our program. It is first introduced to
students at the beginning of their program and accomplishes two goals upon its initial
introduction. First, it serves as a way to help students recall, organize and name what they
already know about diversity. This information comes from personal experience, general
university requirements, specific courses on multicultural education and/or other sources.
Second, it gives students a way to organize the acquisition of new information about diversity
that they will learn in their methods courses throughout the rest of their teacher preparation
program. For example, it gives them a way to focus their observations in their practica classes
as they watch for examples of diversity responsive teaching. As students progress through the
program, the framework serves several additional purposes. First, assignments that are made
around the theme of diversity are linked directly to a framework the students already know. In
addition, various components of the framework are highlighted in different courses. By the end
of the program, our pre-service teachers are well versed in strategies that are effective with
most learners, as well as those needed for the success of an individual or a small group. They
are able to talk about various components of diversity responsive teaching and give many
examples of each. Having a consistent, familiar way to think about and synthesize the
information about diversity increases the probability that teachers will apply this information
while they are teaching.
The diversity responsive teaching framework that we will present, served as the overall college
of education organizer for the diversity strand accreditation review by both the National Council
for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and our state program review. The importance
of our model is not that it teaches teacher candidates specific information about diversity, but
rather that it helps them organize what they know and need to learn. By introducing this
framework at the beginning of the program and referring to it throughout, DRT is seen as
something that is simply a routine part of planning. It becomes viewed as a universal
intervention designed to meet the needs of all learners, rather than an “add-on” after the fact.
Continued study through the use of evaluation tools used to examine student performance in
implementing diversity responsive teaching strategies (e.g., field-based observations) is needed
to help refine this work in progress.
AACTE CONFERENCE PROPOSAL
2
7/8/05


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