Celebrating Diversity in Education

September 27, 2018Gabriel Carrillo

“At the first sight, a fruit salad looks weird and not-so-appetizing but, when you bite into one and go all in, it’s delicious!”

-Gabriel Carrillo

Compiling the elements of a fruit salad can take some time and a general understanding of the different flavors that each fruit will contribute to the salad as a whole. The sweetness of a perfect orange in itself is enough to tingle the right taste buds to the point that you can forget what you were doing or thinking and only think about that one thing, the orange. A ripe blackberry can make your entire mouth salivate once you puncture it in your mouth while at the same time, please your sweet tooth. The texture of a juicy mango is enough to make sure that you will have those darn mango strings between your teeth until you brush your teeth that very evening. These fruits alone are interesting, delicious, strange, and special in their own, unique way. Imagine what can happen when we mix these diverse fruits into one large bowl for everyone to enjoy?

Celebrating Diversity

Celebrating diversity is one of the most powerful things we can do as human beings. Each one of us brings something special to the “fruit salad” and is unique in our own ways. We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, religious beliefs, etc. but we all share one commonality; we need each other in this salad bowl we call, Life. At times, the bowl may seem too small and in certain spots, one fruit may dominate that section of the bowl. That’s okay though. Every ingredient contributes a taste, flavor, and texture to the salad. The beauty of celebrating diversity in education is that we are already in an environment that includes a variety of flavors. All we have to do is find ways to voice who we are in our classrooms, groups, or schools.

Celebrating Diversity through Food

We can start by identifying the cultures that come together in your building, school, or classroom. There are various ways to do this. One of my favorite ways is through Nearpod open-ended questions. If you ask the right questions, you’ll be surprised at what your students tell you about themselves. One big component of culture is food. Food is universal and celebrated in every culture.

Celebrations, milestones, and tragedy are all recognized with some sort of food of that particular culture.his is usually what invokes the most nostalgia and recognition of one’s own culture. I’ve worked at schools where students are given the opportunity to bring in food from their culture. They explain what it is, why they enjoy it, and when they eat it. This practice is great because parents feel that the school is creating an environment where their children and culture are accepted, not tolerated (I don’t like the term “tolerance”, I prefer “accept” and “embrace”).  Different school districts have different regulations for homemade foods. Always check your board policies for incorporating this practice in your classroom.

Learn from @EdTechBites as he shares how to celebrate diversity in education! Click To Tweet

Celebrating Diversity with Technology

Celebrate diversity in the classroom by using technology to connect with others around the world. Mystery Skypes, Google Hangouts, digital PenPals, and Video Conferencing are great ways to connect without ever having to leave the classroom. We no longer live in a world where we must wait for ages for a response from someone who wants to visit the class or where we have to plan these things months prior to the event. We live in a world of instantaneous communication. All it takes is an email, tweet, DM, IM, or post to find out if someone is interested in speaking to a classroom full of students about a particular topic. Try it, connect with other educators and classes around the globe. Once you set this up, you can read a piece of literature from that culture or run a couple of lessons from the Nearpod store to activate prior knowledge and prepare for the connection.

Celebrating Diversity all Year Long

The most important step is to not “set it and forget it”. Keep the conversation going throughout the school year. Use the learning as a springboard to discuss current events, future literature, debates, and activating prior knowledge for a future unit. Not only will you be hitting your standards, but you’ll also do something that is not prevalent in many classrooms, building the social and emotional learning. Students will realize that they matter because their own culture is being recognized and celebrated in their home away from home, their school.

This is what it takes for our students to recognize and celebrate how diverse we are. We all are nothing more than essential ingredients in our own “fruit salad”. We each contribute a certain taste, flavor, and texture to the dish and without one of those, it wouldn’t be the same. Introduce new literature to your class. Invite others to the class to speak about their culture, writings, experiences, and other components of culture. Take it to the next level and have a diverse feast in your class! Contribute to a more accepting and embracing classroom culture which in turn, will create a better understanding of the world for our future leaders. It also makes for a much tastier fruit salad!

Celebrate cultural diversity in your classroom during Hispanic Heritage Month with these lessons:

Explore Lessons for Hispanic Heritage Month

Gabriel has been in education for over 20 years as an instructional assistant, substitute teacher, teacher, assistant principal, and an educational technology specialist. He lives in San Antonio, Texas and also serves as a Nearpod PioNear. He’s passionate about teaching those who teach our children as well as making and eating great food. He’s married these passions together with his podcast, The EdTech Bites Podcast.

Hispanic Heritage Month activities that leverage #Nearpod so you can integrate technology in the classroom. Use these diversity in the classroom activities to begin the conversation!
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