Since the Brown v. Board of Education cornerstone case over 60 years ago, the demographic profile of schools has changed dramatically for the better. This case gave social scientists the opportunity to study how diversity and inclusiveness in high schools lead to students’ increased cultural understanding, stronger critical thinking skills and enhanced creativity.
While education has come a long way from the days of exclusion, school diversity profiles and statistics show there is a way to go.
Diverse schools feature levels of ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic class, religion, range of talent, background, gender, personality, and more. The Century Foundation’s in-depth research review of dozens of studies on diversity found that having different perspectives can create positive learning outcomes.
Keep reading to learn more about the short- and long-term benefits of exposure and acceptance of diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
Diversity Improves Cognitive Skills and Critical Thinking
The presence of diversity in the classroom allows students to consider perspectives and opinions beyond those they’ve already formed or were shaped in early life by family and friends. Presenting students with viewpoints unlike their own allows them the opportunity to think critically about their own beliefs and examine the world in new ways.
As noted by an article in Scientific American, increased diversity exposure changes the way persons process by promoting hard and soft skills, like decision-making and innovation. As the article summarizes:
“Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not.”Scientific American
Exposure to Diversity Helps Students Enter Adulthood
Exposure to diversity encourages easy integration into the modern workforce. Students who become professionals will be introduced to wide array of personalities, ethnicities, and more.
Companies pay close attention to their employees’ aptitude to handle and interact with diversity in and outside of the workplace. 96% of national employers say it is vital that employees can work with people from diverse backgrounds.
Diversity Encourages Students to Participate in Their Community
In the Century Foundation’s research study on diversity, authors reviewed 27 studies about the effects of diversity on people’s civic engagement. The study found that experiences with diversity in college do lead to increased willingness to improve one’s community.
Additionally, learning about one’s own culture is just as important as learning about others when it comes to developing cultural understanding among students.
Diversity Encourages Creativity
Creativity is about bringing together ideas and transforming them to make something new and meaningful.
In a study conducted by several Stanford University research professors, they found that groups with racial diversity significantly outperformed groups without diversity in a problem-solving scenario. In all situations that call for creativity, it is beneficial to bring together diverse perspectives.
Create a Culturally Responsive Learning Environment
An educator who consciously creates a culturally-accepting atmosphere fosters a classroom where students are respectful and understanding of different cultures. As a result, those students are often more willing to listen with an open mind to different viewpoints, rather than fear the unfamiliar.
The best way for educators to achieve this, according to The Edvocate, is to teach students that people who are different from them are still the same on the inside.
Establish a Zero-Indifference Negative Behavior Policy
In an effort to promote inclusiveness in high schools, schools have enacted zero-tolerance policies to curb bullying, harassment, and intimidation. In recent years, the tide has shifted toward positive, zero-indifference policies instead.
Zero-indifference is an alternative that promotes safety in schools by consistently and firmly addressing disrespectful behavior.
Fairborn’s Commitment To Diversity & Inclusiveness in High School
Each and every student of ours is unique. Our diverse program offerings provide them a variety of choices. We encourage them to learn on their own and to work together in groups. While some students take an accelerated path by getting a head start on college, others are working towards earning their diploma at their own pace. Whichever path our students choose, they have our support and our staff to prepare them for whatever challenges they face.
Each student will have an entirely unique experience, but all will have fulfilling results. Find more information about Fairborn Digital Academy.