Implementing Strategies for the Diversification of Schools: An analysis of media and sociological reports
Canadian schools, particularly in urban centres, are increasingly becoming more diversified. Immigration is affecting change in the racial and ethnic composition of the student population. According to a recent demographic survey, 52 percent of the students in the Toronto District School Board identified themselves as a racial minority (Yau, Maria and Janet Oâ€™Reilly, 2007). Changes in the school environment introduce the need for systemic evolution, in order to meet the needs of every student.
Addressing diversity in public schools involves the development of equity for both ...view middle of the document...
The regulation of power in an institution is a privilege held by the dominant group, thus marginalizing minorities (Hansman, et al., 1999). It permeates in personal attitudes, behaviours and institutional processes (Gillborn, David, 2005, p. 109). Educational institutions perpetuate the prevailing hegemonic societal attitudes through informal practices and policies that shape the management of the system and the educational activities in the classroom (Carr, Paul R., 1999). Effective strategies for diversity and equity implementation in schools require a systemic change based on anti-racist education (Belgrave, 2007).
The anti-racist framework involves educational and employment practices intended to address the needs of its members, acknowledging the diversity and difference represented within the system (Dei, George J and Leeno L. Karumanchery, 1999). It acknowledges the role of the educational system in the construction of racial inequalities, through its adherence to the maintenance of the hegemonic practices (Hansman et al., 1999). Furthermore, it highlights the lived experiences of minority persons through open dialogue and allows for the examination of power and privilege (Dei, George J. Sefa, 2005). Incorporating anti-racist education into the school system involves the active promotion of ethnicity and culture, the adaptation of curriculum and an effective employment policy which encourages the recruiting and hiring of teachers and administrative staff from various ethnic and racial backgrounds (Dei and Karumanchery, 1999).
The need for students to see themselves represented and reflected in the school environment is critical to their understanding of equity (Gonzales, Theresa, 2003). Schools have a responsibility to help students make sense of their identities, by building confidence and helping to minimize the fear of failure and discrimination (Dei, George J., 2003). By allowing students to embrace their culture in the school environment, the promotion of diversity and equity is achieved. Developing an understanding of the diverse faiths and cultures, represented by students, creates an inclusive learning environment for all students (Belgrave, Robert, 2007, II).
The curriculum acts as a guide for the instruction of racial and ethnic experiences (Belgrave, 2007). It is the primary source of knowledge, attitudes, values and beliefs that are transmitted to students in the classroom (Klassen, Thomas and Paul Carr, 1996). The representation of diverse cultures and histories in curricula is imperative to the education of students on the origins and structures of racism (Dei and Karumanchery, 1999). Eurocentric qualities in educational content only act to reinforce the structural inequalities in society (Klassen and Carr, 1996). The Ministry of Education has acknowledged its role in regards to the lack of racial and ethnic minority representation in the curriculum, and is actively incorporating more diverse content into learning...