It has been more than 60 years since Brown vs. Board of Education, one of the most important Supreme Court cases in the history of the United States. The decision made it illegal to segregate school systems on the basis of race. That cornerstone decision has played a major role in the efforts to destroy racial barriers. It has also enabled social scientists to study how diversity in the classroom can lead to an increased cultural understanding, strong critical thinking skills, and enhanced creativity for students.
It is important to utilize resources that will assist educators in creating a culturally inclusive classroom that celebrates diversity and inclusion. Providing instruction through a lens of diversity promotes inclusive thinking, learning, and educational practices. Once educators and students explore the benefits of promoting diversity in the school system, they can actively take steps to start implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Diversity Improves Cognitive Abilities and Critical Thinking Skills:
The presence of diversity in the classroom allows students to consider perspectives and opinions beyond those they have already formed or were shaped in early life by family and friends. By presenting students with viewpoints far different from their own, it gives them the opportunity to think critically about their own beliefs and examine the world in fresh ways.
Exposure to Diversity Helps Students into Adulthood:
When students enter the professional world, they join a vast and diverse workforce. Interacting with people of all different backgrounds and mindsets can present a challenge without prior exposure to diversity, especially at a younger age. Therefore, it is essential for students to start participating in diversity-based programs now.
Diversity Improves Civic Engagement:
As part of the Century Foundation’s research study on diversity, the authors reviewed 27 different programs that reported the positive effects of diversity on people’s willingness to improve their local communities. Thus, when students immerse themselves in opportunities that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, they can gain a better understanding of how to be an active participant in their communities.
Diversity Promotes Creativity:
At its core, creativity is all about uniting different ideas and transforming them to make something new, unique, and personal. The more ideas and experiences people are exposed to, the more creative they can be. Diversity will foster optimism and a free-flow of thinking throughout the school system.
Schools can benefit from diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and programs to assist students and faculty members in becoming well-rounded individuals. School systems should identify the school's priorities, values, and program needs. Then, the school can measure its progress over time.
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Joseline J. Hardrick is the Founder and President of Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc. She is also an author, professor, and lawyer and resides in Tampa Bay, Florida. Guest bloggers are students in the Journey to Esquire® Scholarship & Leadership Program.