Educational Manifesto: The 21st Century Classroom

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The 21st century classroom is nothing like classrooms of even two decades past. In most areas of the country, 40 percent of the class is of non-Anglo descent, many do not speak English as their first language, and, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, this trend is rapidly growing to where it is projected by 2020 there will be less than 30 percent Caucasians in the modern classroom (IES, 2010). What does this mean for the contemporary teacher? Certainly, no teacher can be expected to know every language, or be familiar with every culture from every student. However, is that what is meant by diversity in education or necessary to be effective as a modern teacher? In essence, the idea of diversity in the classroom is to operate with the idea of a global village and overlap in cultures within the microcosm of the classroom. This means simply that the modern educator be sensitive about culture, gender, sexuality, and individual differences within the classroom. History, for instance, has been incredibly Eurocentric and male oriented for generations. Successful diversity within the classroom simply encourages a change in curriculum and focus: look at history from alternative points of view; look at innovation cross-culturally; look at the contributions women and minorities made towards technology and historical development; ask questions about a student's own cultural development and heritage and allow them to celebrate that (Rosebery,, eds.,

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