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Lesson Plans to Teach Diversity

Teaching diversity in schools, youth organizations, educational clubs, and other similar organizations is essential to fostering a sense of understanding, tolerance, and respect in today’s youth. Learning about the importance of diversity will teach students to appreciate the differences among people as individuals, and among societies. To aid you in your quest to teach your students about diversity, here are some lesson plans for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students.

Preschool
Diversity should be taught from an early age, and these lesson plans are a great way to begin. Gayle’s Preschool Rainbow provides numerous activities for preschoolers centered on multiculturalism. Children can learn how to take turns and be patient during circle time by passing around a Native American “talking stick” or “talking stone,” that they can decorate themselves.

Another preschool lesson from Gayle’s Preschool Rainbow teaches children that different societies and cultures celebrate unique holidays. The lesson provides instruction for celebrating the Japanese Hinamatursi Day, or “the day of the dolls.” Children can make paper kimonos, have a pretend tea party, and talk about the doll that each of them brought to share with the class.

Elementary school
Tolerance.org provides stellar diversity lesson plans for students in elementary grades. For K-3 grades teachers can try the “What Can We Learn from a Box of Crayons?” lesson. It is an effective way of demonstrating that individuals of different races and ethnicities can cohesively exist in the same world. For grades 3-5 try the “Making Cents of Privilege” lesson to teach students about economic disparity.

Middle school
Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades can begin to learn more about the personal experiences of individuals from different cultures than theirs. It is important to challenge students’ minds, and develop their research skills; this lesson plan fits the bill. EDSITEment’s “In My Other Life” lesson plan for students in 6-8 grades allows students to find out what is like to be the same age, but live in a completely different country. Students conduct research using print and Internet resources, and then create presentations to present to their class about the new life that they have discovered.

High school
The high school years can be one of the most grueling times in a young person’s life. Cliques and stereotypes abound, and often one thinks that they need to sell their soul to sit at the “cool” table in the cafeteria. Discovery Education’s lesson plan called “Understanding Stereotypes” allows students to explore the impact that assumptions, stereotypes, and biases can have on one’s life.

Incorporating diversity plans into your classroom curriculum is a simple and effective way teach students about tolerance, respect, multiculturalism, and anti-discrimination. Diversity lessons and activities should be implemented early on as a method of fostering socially conscious youth and young adults. Early childhood education that uses diversity lessons as a platform is an essential component of a successful classroom and learning environment.

For more information on the importance of diversity in the educational system and ways that you can support the cause please contact your state’s Department of Education, and visit Education World.

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