Standards 2010: Standard 4
Candidates create and engage their students in literacy practices that develop awareness, understanding, respect, and a valuing of differences in our society.
The Diversity Standard focuses on the need to prepare teachers to build and engage their students in a curriculum that places value on the diversity that exists in our society, as featured in elements such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, and language. This standard is grounded in a set of principles and understandings that reflect a vision for a democratic and just society and inform the effective preparation of reading professionals.
The following are the major assumptions of the Standards 2010 Committee for developing this standard and its elements:
- Diversity will be as much a reality in the future as it is in our lives today and has been in the lives of our predecessors.
- There is a tradition of “deficit” thinking and discourse in the context of diversity and schooling. As a society, we are not far removed from a time when cultural deprivation was an accepted term.
- Diversity is a potential source of strength of a society to be encouraged not discouraged. Diversity is the basis for adaptability to change, and change is the only certainty in the future.
- Creating a curriculum that values diversity requires that teacher educators and teachers step outside their personal experiences within a particular linguistic, ethnic, or cultural group to experience the offerings of other groups.
- The elements of diversity in a society cannot be isolated within that society and certainly not within an individual. The elements of diversity interact in the form of multiple identities that may move from the background into the foreground as a function of the context and the moment.
- There is a danger in overgeneralizing (i.e., stereotyping) characteristics to all members of a group.
- Language-minority students need appropriate and different language and literacy instruction if they are to be successful academically while they learn English.
- It is the responsibility of teachers and schools not only to prepare learners in ways that value their diversity but also to prepare those learners to engage in active citizenship to redress areas of inequity and privilege.