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

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.

Understanding by Design

Hertz-Newman, Jenny


Bowen, Ryan S., (2017). Understanding by Design. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved May 2018 from

This is almost like a mini-class in the backwards design model for constructing courses and units of study.  It reminds me of standards based planning/instruction in which instruction is based on the goal of students mastering the standard and lesson follows from that end goal.  This site has both text and video and the main aspects of backwards design are broken down clearly and in an interesting way.  There are also lesson planning templates and ideas for assessment.  I appreciate the focus on design for understanding and critical thinking in this model.


Changing Literacies and Civic Pathways

Bagley-Rowe, Heather


Seglem, R., & Garcia, A. (2018). Changing Literacies and Civic Pathways: Multiliteracies in Inquiry-Driven Classrooms. Theory Into Practice, 57(1), 56-63. DOI: 10.1080/00405841.2017.1390335

Inquiry in classrooms enables students’ global and civil agency, as seen by Seglem and Garcia’s study of a middle school English class genius hour and student learning effects. In classrooms, genius hour, which allows students to pursue self-selected topics of study, incorporates creating and helping community; the learning fits a global setting. The New London Group notes four pedagogical elements of multiliteracies, each of which Seglem and Garcia note in their observations. With situated practice, students are self-motivated to access resources, building their risk-taking and confidence. Overt instruction, where teachers provide scaffolding as needed, allows teachers to assess any knowledge and skills gaps. Critical framing is analysis and evaluation, where students connect current learning to previous learning, considering concepts from different perspectives. Through transformed practice, students employ metacognition regarding personal learning. Overall, a pedagogy of inquiry views students as experts, relies on teacher expertise and voice, and can yield increased student confidence to try new tools or ways of learning.

Seglem and Garcia put forth accessible information in line with the incorporation of inquiry I have seen in classrooms. When students are allowed to study topics of their choosing and apply the knowledge to helping their community, students can develop agency and global citizenship. The area of multiliteracies may benefit from additional research, but Seglem and Garcia’s article highlights a pathway to shifting classroom teaching.

Blended Learning

Hubert, Jacquelyn


Markoff, M. (2014, May).  Click here– blended learning and the future of education: Monique Markoff at TEDxIthacaCollege. [Video file]. Retrieved from

“In my talk I sharpen the idea of blended learning and offer some insight on potential successes and pitfalls of implementing a true blended model. Blended learning has enormous potential but it is not a panacea for the woes of education. Drawing on my experience in a blended classroom and as an administrator my goal is to contribute to the debate that is currently happening in our school districts, in our schools, and in our media over the incorporation of technology in education.”

Blended learning is students learning from computers 25% of the day along with face-to-face time with teachers and other students. Markoff discusses the rotational model, split model, laboratory model, open classroom model, flipped classroom, and programs like Accelerated reader online quiz, ST math comprehension skills, and academies. Self paced, customized, embedded assessment and reporting. The schools flexibility, commitment, and mindset of the school are considered.