THE Real Life Issues approach recognizes and helps make teachers aware of the realities of diversity in today's classrooms. The method emphasizes that candidates acquire knowledge of diversity in the school where they teach. We want each future teacher to assess and analyze every class in terms of "Seven Plus" dimensions of diversity.
  • Race,
  • Ethnicity (including language and religion),
  • Socio-economic status,
  • Gender,
  • Sexual Orientation,
  • Age and Developmental Status,
  • Exceptionality, and
  • Other relevant areas (e.g., geography, student subcultures, etc.)

Knowledge and understanding of diversity is an expectation for prospective teachers. Accreditation by the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) requires that knowledge and skills related to diversity be effectively taught. The Real Life Issues Method can be an excellent way to acquire knowledge and skills related to diversity. It can contribute to a school, department or College of Education meeting the NCATE diversity standard.

There is a growing literature on diversity. The project website (www.neiu.edu/~k12pac/) includes articles describing how knowledge of diversity:

  • Provides understanding of the real life issues students confront, and
  • Affects the design and implementation of Real Life Issues curriculum.

There are also links to other websites where teachers can obtain useful information about diverse populations. It is our hope that increased attention to diversity in the local classroom will lead to greater understanding between teachers and students and a stronger connection between schools and communities.

Study of diversity provides meaningful generalizations about groups that support effective teaching and prevention. In understanding what is thematic about group life care must be taken not to stereotype; there are always variations and individual differences. When completing an assessment of classroom diversity emphasis should be upon the strengths inherent in each student and in the community. Classroom experiences can build upon, enhance, and expand those strengths.

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