To reflect on understandings of student diversity


To reflect on understandings of student diversity.

Evidence and Reflection

Thinking metaphorically, teaching a diversity of students is…

1.…exploring a dark cave, without a torch, I am with a student who is trying to show me the way out.  I am too panicked to listen.  Then I calm down and listen.  The student tells me the way out.  We leave the cave together.  Because… it is scary teaching such a wide range of students, but when you ask the student for help, they are willing to provide answers.

2.…keeping a garden.  Because… every plant needs to be nurtured with food, water and warmth, but every plant needs slightly different care.  Every plant grows at its own rate and responds differently to the environment it is in and therefore needs caring for.

3.      …a sea of complexity! Because… all so different.  It feels like you need years of experience and expertise in order to understand and provide for the needs.

4.…discovering buried treasure.  Because… often the students you are teaching are categorised by their diversity and are sometimes simply reduced to this label.  I think no matter how informed you are, it is always exciting and surprising to discover the potential, then achievement, of students with diverse needs.

 Figure:  Metaphors for teaching diverse students

Think about the four metaphors for teaching diverse students in terms of similarities and variations.  (a) Are there any that particularly resonate with your own experiences, or that interested, or even surprised you? (b) What are the key ideas they raise about the role of a teacher and the role of students? (c) Think about a group of students you know well and reflect on your feelings about teaching the diversity of students in it.  What would your metaphor be and why?

Reflect on what your metaphor expresses about (a) ‘sameness’, (b) ‘difference’ and (c) ‘belonging’ amongst this group  of students?