Teacher Diaries: Mr Luke – Celebration
“Good schools, like good societies and good families, celebrate and cherish diversity.” Deborah Meier
As we reach the end of this calendar year and we begin to reflect on our achievements and experiences over the past twelve months, we also enter a period of great celebration. Although Christmas is the holiday that dominates the minds of most (including my own!) during this part of the year, it is important not to forget the variety of other traditional festivals that are celebrated around the world in the month of December. These include the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, Bodhi Day in Buddhism and the Pan-African celebration known as Kwanzaa.
With this in mind, December feels like the perfect time to make students aware of the importance of celebrating diversity – not just in terms of race, religion or gender, but also with respect to their interests, skills and the approaches that they take to learning. No two students are ever the same; they may respond differently to a certain teaching style or type of activity, and their strengths and weaknesses will often lie in divergent areas. However, these differences should be viewed as an asset rather than a hindrance, and students and teachers alike should make the most of a diverse classroom environment in order to learn from one another.
Planning exercises and activities that appeal to the multiple intelligences and backgrounds of my students is never a straightforward task, but it is a challenge that I relish. I am always trying to find new ways of connecting with all types of learner, whether they engage mostly with direct instruction, visual aids or a more hands-on, kinesthetic style of teaching. I think that it is important for students to not only understand what kind of learner they are, but also to recognize the fact that not all their peers will be able to effectively absorb new information in the same way that they do.