Looking at a Diverse Angle

            As I went through my service learning volunteering at Ballard High School I kept the H1 principle in mind as I analyzed the diversity and development of the students I was working with. Because of working with the students with special needs development was huge when it came to how I needed to state the information/lesson because if I did not know the development of how a student learned I could have been no help at all. For example one of the students I was working with has a really hard time comprehending what is being asked when a question is asked, so what I would do is I would break down the question into smaller words and sections that would build off one another so that he could understand the question better.

            I also was looking at the diversity of students which was heavy in these classrooms, not only where they diverse within their disabilities, but they are also diverse when it comes to race, socioeconomic status, whether or not they are supported by their families, and many other things. Not one student was like another, this made tutoring very fun for me because I got to learn how people from a wide variety of differences can come together an learn the same material just in different ways. However, I also experienced that the diversity of the class also made it very hard for students to ask for help because they did not want to seem “more stupid” than the person next to them, which was very sad for me to sit and watch. And I later figured out that students felt like it was a burden to have a disability and did not want their disability to affect others such as if they needed to ask more questions to understand something, or taking more time to complete a task. It always seemed like it was a race to see who could finish first instead of taking the time to learn the information. So I honored the way that they worked but as I worked with them I had them slow down and think and encouraged them to take their time so that I could have students honor that others may take longer to do an activity.

           I think with my future classes I will make sure to create classroom norms that help students understand that having differences is okay and that it can help others understand that we all have something to contribute to the world. I think with this classroom norm it would allow for the students to better accept one another, and I would set up an activity a week at least to demonstrate and highlight the students and their abilities. I would also put into place a classroom norm of taking their time with activities and encourage that taking more time on things. This would help make doing things in the classroom not feel like a race and would slow down the pace in a good way. I think that honoring diversity and development is key to running a successful classroom.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah Hawley

Ballard High School

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