As more and more students from diverse backgrounds populate public and private school campuses across America, the need increases to identify effective methods to teach students, faculty and staff how to welcome and embrace Diversity. Many schools are working hard to educate everyone involved in their learning experience process on race, gender, language, disabilities, religion, physical appearance, sexual orientation, nationality, multiculturalism, backgrounds, acceptance, personal habits, and many other characteristics of Diversity.
A great challenge for many schools today is their people tend to only want to do and embrace trends that are popular and deemed cool. To Make the Embracing of D.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y."A Cool Thing to Do" at your school, start by promoting and selling your students, teachers, administrators and staff on mastering the healthy habit of Digging another person’s Individuality, Voice, Energy, Relationships, Style, Ideas, Talent, and Yearning to be their unique self.
UrbanDictionary.com defines Digging: Liking, finding inspiration in.
To be effective in a diverse learning environment, students, teachers, administrators and staff must have an appreciation for Diversity. They must view differences as the “norm” in society and reject the notions that any one group is more competent or superior than another.
The concept of Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
Students, teachers, administrators and staff must understand that Diversity includes not only ways of being but ways of hearing and listening. There will be many languages, opinions and differences communicated in your school as it becomes more and more diverse. To have Diversity issues in your school is not a bad thing. Doing nothing about it given you have knowledge of the issue is where many public and private schools go wrong (negligence).
Remember: Diversity has many voices. Create a learning environment that works to drop all stereotypes, biases and hatred, and opens up to positive and progressive dialogue. Do not allow these voices to become silenced or ignored because your school decided to cover its ears on the voices of Diversity.
Each individual on your school's campus brings with them a unique and empowering energy that helps pump the overall pulse of your school.
Everyone needs to welcome the power of Diversity because it enriches your learning environment, and provides social and personal enrichment benefits to all on campus.
Diverse relationships are an important component of a functioning society and, arguably, an even more vital component for your school's success. As our world becomes more diversified due to increased immigration and globalization, making school campuses more ethnically diverse, relationships—as student and teacher, as student and administrator, as student and staff, as parent and teacher/administrator/staff, as friends or student group partners—between individuals with different ethnicities, values, religious beliefs, preferences and cultures become more commonplace.
Diverse relationships can lead to a greater understanding of other ethnic groups and cultures. This could potentially aid in greater equality and tolerance for all on campus.
We are all different, we are all unique, but all of us are human. Every individual has his or her own style (image); way of thinking, speaking, seeing, listening, dressing, walking, behaving, and interacting with others. And although there is discrimination and inequality in the world we live in, we should always fight for the right to uphold and express our unique style in both a civil and non-threatening way.
Our Diversity as a human race is one of our greatest strengths, and all school campuses should dedicate themselves to teaching it, understanding it, celebrating it, and embracing it.
Imagine what your school would be like if it were filled with people who thought alike. The narrow scope of ideas will ultimately lead to an unsuccessful learning experience that will often result in the loss of both time and money for all. Diversity – throughout an entire school – is a valuable asset that encourages everyone to expand their horizons and think outside of the box. Success coincides with the deployment of diverse thinkers with unique talents.
All students, teachers, administrators and staff have talents, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background, ability or disability, gender or race. If a student, parent, teacher, administrator or staff member discovers that the school they chose is not an open-minded and safe environment for them to showcase their unique talents, many will stop trying due to a history of failure or hostile response.
Make sure your school is one where everyone is encouraged and safe to showcase their unique talents. If you need to create special and unique programs, events or opportunities for some to do so, then create them. Engage in practices that include rather than exclude people from different backgrounds. By so doing, you promote and fulfill the responsibility at your school for ensuring that everyone will have safe and favorable opportunities to develop, showcase and celebrate their unique talents.
Yearning — to be their unique self.
"Diversity" means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating differences. Diversity is the conscious understanding and acceptance that everyone yearns to be their unique self.
Think of each person as just that—a person, an individual with feelings. Encourage all at your school to not take part in racism, hate crimes, bullying, jokes, negative stories, sarcasm or mean-spirited remarks. Instead, educate and empower everyone to treat every individual equally regardless of their race, gender, religion, disabilities, age, nationality, culture, preferences, socio-economic status, or background.
Become an Ambassador of "It’s Cool with Me to Be Your Unique Self." Speak out and take civil action when access is denied to someone based on any characteristic of Diversity. And never take action out of pity or feeling sorry for someone, take action because you know and believe that it’s the Cool and RIGHT thing to do!
As the economy becomes increasingly global, our schools, colleges and workforce will become increasingly diverse. Organizational success and competitiveness will depend on your school’s ability to welcome and manage Diversity effectively. One upbeat and positive method to help you accomplish this goal is to—Make the Embracing of D.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y. "A Cool Thing to Do" at your school, starting today.
About the Author: Ty Howard is the author of the best-selling book Untie the Knots™ That Tie Up Your Life: Freeing Yourself from Toxic Habits, Choices, People, and Relationships, and the forthcoming teen character enrichment and empowerment book You Were Born to Be G.R.R.R.R.E.A.T.!!!!™. He is recognized around the world as a highly sought after consultant and expert on youth enrichment and teen empowerment. Ty teaches young people and the professionals who work with and develop them, how to defeat toxic habits, maintain a positive attitude, and achieve true greatness. With over 16 dedicated years as a Dynamic Professional Speaker for Youth & Teens, Ty has a proven track record for delivering inspiring and engaging programs that bring forth immediate positive change, desired outcomes, and real-life results.
For information on Ty Howard's programs and services, or to request written reprint permission, visit: http://www.dynamicyouthspeaker.com or call Toll Free 1-800-385-3177.