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Cultural and Diversity Statement

1. What is your definition of diversity?

Diversity is a socially constructed state of being that describes a condition or


conditions of difference between a population of animate and inanimate beings
along the lines of culture, language, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, self and
imposed identities, physical and cognitive abilities, sex, religion etc. Generally, it
is referred to as the antithesis of a monocultural white society within the context
of the United States.

2. Do the scholars in my classroom come from diverse backgrounds?

Within the context of my last academic position, my students largely came from
fairly homogenous cultural backgrounds seeing that 91.6% of the student body
was Latinx, 75.4% being low SES. In terms of ethnic diversity, the vast majority
of students were either first or second generation Mexican-American students,
with a handful of Salvadoran-American, Black, White, and South and Southeast
Asian-American students. Most of the diversity came in geographic diversity (e.g.
what state in Mexico the students families were from or location in the DFW-A
metropolitan area). Levels of English proficiency was the largest area of diversity,
for a significant minority were ELLs at varied levels of performance.

For evidence promoting these statements, please look at the Demographics Page
on this website.

3. What are my perceptions of students from different racial or ethnic groups?

All students bring in their own personal experiences and have an equitable ability
to succeed academically given a learning experience that meets all of their
personal needs. That being said, students of different racial and ethnic
backgrounds bring in diverse cultural and social identities that affect their
background knowledge on certain subjects, their learning styles, and their method
of working within a classroom. From a teaching perspective, it is important to
understand what each individual student brings to cater the learning experience to
the diversity and specificity of that particular class. The varied and rich
knowledge that each student can bring to the classroom ultimately benefits this
experience.

This proved to be successful in my overall teaching experience during my


previous academic year was when I integrated math tasks that incorporated parts
of students cultures into the lesson. Two examples of this include creating a task
about Pozole, a Mexican soup often eaten at family events, and having the
students create their dream home and city, which allowed students to highlight
their own preferences and lived experience. These assignments incorporated
bringing personal experience, the real-world, and individualized student culture
within the classroom.
4. What are my perceptions of scholars with different dialects or special needs?

Ultimately, scholars with special needs have a great capacity to succeed


academically, socially, and professionally. They have a great deal to contribute
within the classroom and learning environment. It is the teachers responsibility to
assure that these qualities and abilities are promoted and supported in a way to
best contribute to the holistic development of students with special needs or
various levels of difference.

5. How do I respond to my scholars based on these perceptions? Be reflective!

For me, it is always important to understand the implicit biases that I carry that
may be subconscious as well as how I react to my scholars who have one or more
marginalized identities. In the past, I have been more understanding of behavioral
issues if the students had special needs. While, depending on the individuals BIP
or IEP, this may be necessary, it has the capability of perpetuating uneven
standards between students. For instance, not equitably treating these students
through keeping them to lower behavioral standards is not necessarily beneficial
for them as scholars and adolescents. Thus, this is something I will need to take
note of and address as I progress in my teaching. In terms of working with folks
from marginalized communities, I need to make sure that I have a nuanced
approach to behavioral incidents. I need to make sure that I am not overly
chastising individuals based on culturally-normative responses. Thus, I need to
develop a clear behavioral set of standards that is mutually constituted by both my
students and me. I need to keep high standards for behavior and work without
being overly punitive or patronizing, something that is an area of growth for me in
practice.

In terms of academics, I truly believe all students can produce excellent work.
Thus, I hold students to the same high standard regardless of their perceived
ability. I allow my students to participate in their learning processes and carry no
overt or conscious biases within my work with students regardless of their various
identities or abilities. The way that I support or relate to students to promote this
academic development may vary due to the interactions that I have previously had
with them or various points of interest that I am aware each student has. However,
the standard for high expectations remains.

6. Have I experienced other people make assumptions about me bases on my specific


culture? How did that make me feel?

I cannot particularly say that I have experienced people making assumptions


about me based off my culture; however, people have various assumptions about
certain identities based off interactions with me as well as assumed certain
qualities and traits based off my whiteness, level of education, and familys level
of affluence. The former provided me with great emotional turmoil as I was
growing up and led to a good amount of internalized trauma that still affects me
today. The latter has mainly allowed me to facilitate conversations and listen to
people on why those assumptions were made. They have not and do not
necessarily make me feel emotion; rather, I see it as a valuable learning and
discussion point for all those involved.

7. What steps do I need to take to make my instructional program responsive to diverse needs?

To make an instructional program responsive to diverse needs, I need one that


incorporates universal design for learning. This would allow for students to have
multiple methods of learning and being assessed and would allow for students to
more comfortably navigate the classroom space. A culturally responsive
instructional program would also incorporate students prior knowledge,
strengths, and cultural knowledge and understandings within the academic
curriculum. It would incorporate real-life examples and be one that is heavily co-
created by teachers, students, and outside sources to provide the best method of
instruction and assessment. Ultimately, this instructional program would need to
have multiple levels of entry, differentiated assessment and grouping, scaffolds
for students to build necessary prior knowledge, and incorporate holistic learning
opportunities for students.

8. What information, skills and resources do I need to effectively teach from a multicultural
perspective?

To effectively teach from a multicultural perspective, it is necessary to have, one,


extensive and appropriate professional development and training and, two, the
knowledge and understanding of each of ones students in their own classroom.
The professional development, from organizations such as antiracist training
facilitated by organizations like Border Crossers, would allow the teacher to have
extensive understanding on what qualities a multicultural classroom entails and
how to effectively implement and facilitate it during the year. Understanding the
experiences, identity, and diverse knowledge that each student in ones class will
allow the teacher to cater the classrooms environment and structure that would
holistically benefit and validate the class as a whole.

9. In what ways am I collaborative when addressing the needs of all my scholars?

This is definitely something I consider an area for growth over the next year,
especially since I will be working in special education over the next academic
year. When I have been collaborative, I have heavily relied on input from others
who also teach the student to discuss what would best benefit the students
learning experience. Over the next year, I aim to develop better skills on how to
identify the need to collaborate with others to fulfill the needs of scholars as well
as to have insight from multiple sources such as family members and friends to
have a more nuanced understanding of what will best allow the students to have
their diverse needs addressed in and out of the classroom.