Adam E. Rowland
How to Deal with Diverse Classrooms
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Diverse classrooms require effective management techniques, a rigorous and accessible curriculum that prepares them for college and beyond, and innovative teaching strategies that allow students of all backgrounds and ability levels to effectively engage in 21st Century learning.
Classroom Management Techniques
Lesson Design for All Learners
Highly engaged students have no time to misbehave or be off-task; they are too busy learning! A key strategy to keeping students engaged is implementing effective lesson design. While traditional lesson planning focused primarily on "hitting the standards", keeping students busy doing independent seat work, and creating summative assessments without remediation, 21st Century plan design must ensure all learners have multiple ways to interact with curriculum and demonstrate their understanding of concepts. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) allows educators to proactively design curriculum to address a variety of students' needs.
What is UDL?
Universal Design for Learning (Doran, 2015) allows students to better access curriculum by offering multiple means of instruction, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement. Teachers who implement the framework at all stages when designing units and lesson plans are ensuring their students' needs are being met.
What does UDL look like?
A sample lesson plan was constructed using principles of UDL and provides a glimpse into how middle school Language Arts students can demonstrate learning through a variety of highly engaging activities. To see the plan, click here.
Rigor and Engagement
Another key element that is essential to ensuring diverse students are engaged and motivated to learn involves rigor. Rigor does not equate to more work or making assignments impossible; rather, rigor is about providing enough of a challenge to ensure students are reaching clearly stated objectives and learning goals.
Teachers who are able to effectively integrate other disciplines within their own curriculum are using another key element essential to 21st Century learning and diverse students. While it may seem to be a difficult task incorporating multiple subjects within a particular lesson, a thorough examination of standards and content that is tied to specific grade levels is a great first step that will make the process much more manageable.
What Does It Look Like?
A sample lesson plan was created that reflects rigor and an integrated curriculum for a middle school Language Arts unit. To see the plan, click here.
Doran, P. (2015). Language accessibility in the classroom: How UDL can promote success for linguistically diverse learners. Exceptionality Education International, 25(3), 1–12