Affirming Diversity in the Classroom (2 Hour Workshop)


In this interactive workshop, participants will explore the ways in which they can intentionally create a classroom environment which affirms the multiple identities of thier students and their families. Through small group activities, large group activities, a short presentation, and discussion, participants will explore aspects of their own identities, reflect on the ways in which identity functions in the classroom and in home-school communications, and learn some specific practices to use in their own classrooms.

Objectives:
The participant will be able to:

  1. Explain how all members of the school community have multiple identities, such as race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc, and that some of these are more visible than others.
  2. Identify concrete examples of White Privilege.
  3. Analyze how her/his own life-experiences have informed her/his understanding of identity, both in terms of others and in terms of herself/himself.
  4. Explain how identity informs the interactions between all members of a school community.
  5. Identify key elements of ICSD Board Policy #4350.
  6. Identify reasons why it is essential to affirm the multiple identities of the students she/he works with.
  7. Identify specific ways that she/he can affirm the identities of the students that she/he teaches.
  8. Refine her/his teaching methods through the inclusion of affirming practices.
  9. Implement strategies to more effectively communicate with the families of the students she/he teaches.
  10. Implement strategies to reduce the degree to which race and class are predictors of student success in her/his classroom.

The assumptions which ground this work:
  1. I (the presenter, still have a lot to learn about racism, sexism, and homophobia, and I mess up every day.
  2. An affirming classroom celebrates and nurtures each individual student and her/his family.
  3. It is essential to step outside one’s comfort zone in order to affirm diversity.
  4. All students can be successful.
  5. We all bring our multiple identities with us, and some of our identities are more visible than others.

The questions which ground this work:
  1. What is an inclusive classroom?
  2. What does it mean to affirm diversity?
  3. Why is it necessary to affirm diversity?
  4. What is the connection between affirming diversity and eliminating race and class as predictors of student success?