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In the year 2008, I visited my elder brother in the Americas. In the evening, his daughter, who was in her first grade in school, came home and while she was attending to her homework, she suddenly stopped and called out Daddy for her father’s attention. She proceeded to ask him a rather puzzling question. Daddy, she began, does it mean that in the first half of the 20th century I could not have gone to school along with my best friend, Kate. Her father and I could not grasp the basis of her question. However, on further inquiry, we discovered they had discussed the topic on de jure racial segregation of the American society of the 20th century. This was the first memory that came to mind about the contextualization of diversity and the complicated nature of relations among diverse cultures. The power of classroom diversity is indeed crystal clear, from this experience.
Despite the vast programs and initiatives instituted to address diversity and encourage inclusion in the past 50 years, the value of diversity is still unrealized. As the experience of my niece in her classroom shows, diversity is key to the process of student growth and reflection. For instance, she was able to understand her friend is of the African American race, and still, she considered her a friend and was happy to be in class with her. It is argued that engaging, listening and talking to people different from ourselves, it fosters and enlarges our understanding. Students from the diverse backgrounds often bring with them different experiences which enhance the conversation and analysis in subjects of gender, race, and even life experiences. Thus, with this understanding, I believe that a perfect classroom setting ought to include diversity and inclusion as a primary factor.
Secondly, the classroom prepares individuals for the future career roles. The globalization of the job market means there is a diminishing consideration for community or national boundaries. Therefore, the integrated classroom environment is the perfect starting point for a learner, as they realize the importance of collaborating and communicating effectively with the people of different backgrounds and culture than theirs, hence, preparing them for the 21st-century work environment.
Additionally, as my high school English teacher often emphasized, “Emollit mores necsinit esse feros” which translated meant “learning makes people have humane character”, and stops them from being cruel. Thus, diversity enhances the process of humanizing individuals as students can engage in civic discourse, even in instances of variant political issues such as civil liberties, affirmative action, and opinions about fashion, among other topics of emotive effect. Through diversity in learning, individuals develop mindfulness and tolerance; hence, integrated classrooms are imperative for the essential human relation traits. Hence, I am glad to consider myself multifariously liberated.
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