Commitment to Diversity
In a rapidly changing American society, educators are confronted with what is often an overwhelming challenge to prepare students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Because of the reality in each classroom of diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, class, language, religion, or ability, teachers must be prepared to understand and act upon the multicultural factors which affect student learning (Gollnick & Chinn, 2004).
At Union a vital approach to this challenge is to ask students to reflect upon their own worldview through the eyes of faith. Teaching students from diverse cultures requires a sensitivity that can come through the intentional integration of faith and learning in regard to issues of diversity. Union’s teacher educators encounter pre-service teachers who have been shaped by their own personal experiences in issues of diversity. Through dialogue these students are led to share why they believe the way they do.
To facilitate this dialogue, one teacher educator, for example, assigns a worldview paper as a springboard for reflection and dialogue with classmates. Many students for the first time in their lives confront what they believe about diversity and why they believe it. Union’s conceptual framework provides an understanding of the process that students must utilize to integrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for a commitment to diversity. Sensitivity, reflection, and faith form a paradigm which reflects the Union School of Education’s commitment to learning for all students.