The Power of Diversity

 

Arnold, Ronnie

Education Theory and Practice (ET)

Juvonen, J., Kogachi, K., & Graham, S. (2017). When and how do students benefit from ethnic diversity in middle school? Child Development (0)0, 1-15. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jaana_Juvonen/publication/317775761_When_and_How_Do_Students_Benefit_From_Ethnic_Diversity_in_Middle_School/links/5a1c7631a6fdcc0af3265229/When-and-How-Do-Students-Benefit-From-Ethnic-Diversity-in-Middle-School.pdf

Key points from the article I shared.

  1. More than half of the school aged youth are part of the ethnic minority
    1. Latinos are the largest
    2. Asians are the fastest growing
  2. Schools should expect to have greater diversity in the upcoming years due to the new ethnic composition of the environments
  3. Believes that if K-12 classrooms demographics do not match the ethnic diversity of neighborhoods, then increased segregation in schools that serve ethnic minorities can occur, students cannot receive the benefits of growing in an ethically diverse society, and schools composed of the ethnic minorities can be underserved due to unequal educational opportunities.

What I loved about this research is that social-emotional outcomes were the focus. I think educators can sometimes get swept away with following standards, teaching subject matter, and devoting the majority of the lessons to the subject matter. Of course, the time we get to design curriuclum and carryout lessons can sometimes not be enough, but we also need to consider the social-emotional well-being of the students while conducting lessons as well. What better way to bond with students, appreciate cultural differences, and learn real-world applications of a skill in the classroom teaching your favorite subject.

In the study, the researchers focused on social-emotional outcomes(safety, emotions, peer pressue, and lonliness) rather than academic outcomes. From the data analyzed, it was determined:

  1. Girls felt less safe but believed they received fair and equal treatment from teachers by the sixth grade.
  2. African American and Latino students felt safer but more victimized amongst peers at school.
  3. High parent education levels were associated less peer victimization of students.
  4. Believed teachers were less fair and equitable to all ethnic groups.
  5. Exposure to ethnic diversity in lessons displayed a positive relationship between positive perceptions of teachers and fair treatment.
  6. Teachers fair and equal treatment increased as the school became more diverse unless the class demographics were less diverse than the school’s demographics.