Diversity: Approaches to building conceptual understanding in the Social Studies classroom, pp. 10 of 14

Is Diversity Beneficial?

Stage 1:

Sparking Curiosity

The teacher begins the lesson by introducing lesson objectives to the class. The teacher than provides a brief explanation of the relevance of the topic to the students’ daily lives.

Adopting the Chalk-Talk instructional strategy, the class will be divided into groups of four and will write down possible benefits of diversity in a society. They will be guided with a series of photographs depicting prominent fusion dishes, fashion trends and music. The teacher will then facilitate a discussion on the benefits of diversity in a society with the class. The activity ends with a quick summary of the benefits of diversity.

Next, the teacher will ask the class if they think diversity is always beneficial for society. The teacher will explicitly inform students of the inquiry question “Is Diversity Beneficial?”

Stage 2:

Setting the stage

In their groups, students will be informed that they will investigate on the tensions and challenges that might arise in a diverse society. Each group will be tasked to look at the concept of diversity from a different angle. The four categories are:

  1. Nationality
  2. Race
  3. Religion
  4. Socio-economic Status

Depending on the choice of the group, students will be provided with a reading package that highlights some of the tensions related to the specific category chosen by the group. (i.e. A group investigating on the impacts of religious diversity will be provided a different set of reading materials from another group investigating on diversity of nationalities) These articles will provide the necessary background information required for further investigative work. At the same time, these articles also provide some guidance in terms of the direction the group may choose to take in their investigation.

The students are informed that they will have to do a presentation (using Google Slides) to the class at the end of their research

Stage 3:

Gathering Data

To gain more insight on the topic at hand, groups are informed that they will be required to survey the public for their opinions towards diversity and the benefits and challenges associated with living in a diverse society. A set of model survey questions should be provided for student reference and teachers will teach students on the various ways of asking questions (open ended, closed ended, mixed question types).

After acquiring data from their fieldwork, students will perform do a basic coding of responses and present their findings in graphic forms – pie charts, bar graphs and line graphs. They may also choose to show meaningful quotes by individuals to enhance the quality of their findings. These findings can be presented on Google Slides to facilitate subsequent analysis of data for the class presentation.

Stage 4:

Exercising Reasoning

 

At this stage, students will take a closer look at the data acquired from their survey findings. Students will extract relevant information required to help them answer the inquiry question. Using the basic questioning framework (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How), students will analyse the information acquired and make valid inferences about why diversity can, at times, become a challenge for society. They will also make inferences about the benefits of diversity for a society. At this point, students will also compare their survey findings with that of the secondary literature provided for them. They will try to identify similarities and reconcile the differing perspectives provided.

They will present their findings and conclusions in the Google Slide created in the previous stage and present their findings to the class. They will also learn to take questions from their peers and express their views confidently.

Stage 5:

Reflective Thinking

In their respective groups, students will be asked to reflect on both the process and knowledge acquired through the investigation project. For the former, students will think about some of the strengths of the group as well as areas where they felt they could do better. After listening to the differing views presented by different groups, students will also share with their group members on where they stand in this debate on whether diversity is necessarily beneficial for society.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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