In addition to being thoughtful in how we label students (link to previous article), there are four basic principles from nature for managing diversity in the classroom. If properly practiced, these principles can result in many positive outcomes for learners. These four principles have the acronym ABCD.
A: Avoid Premature Judgment
As we discussed in Part 2 (link to previous article), some students may not appear very promising at first, but they may be amazing if well-nurtured. Do not despise the carrot, lettuce and cabbage for producing small seeds. It is from these small seeds that we get big cabbage and lettuce heads. Be hopeful for all the learners in your classroom.
B: Be Patient
Be patient and wait for each student to begin flowering. With cauliflower and broccoli, excessive plucking of their leaves compromises the size of the head. In a similar way, educators need to be patient with students who need a little more time to grasp certain concepts. In almost every class some students will pick up concepts quickly whereas others may need varied teaching methods and examples to grasp the same concepts. Teachers should adjust techniques and pacing of the lesson accordingly, and avoid using a one-size-fits-all approach.
C: Capitalize on Teachable Moments
Just as different vegetables mature at different times, students in the same class mature differently. Effective educators are quick to notice readiness and the correct timing to provide certain lessons. They capitalize on teachable moments. Some plants may need strong support as their stems are frail and delicate. Training of such plants needs proper timing for pruning, providing support and adding certain nutrients. This support has to be done when the stems are still tender, before they become tough and brittle. Effective educators are quick to notice similar qualities and needs in students and provide appropriate supports at the proper time.
D: Deepen Impressions Through Repetition
Several short lessons presented using different teaching methods, especially engaging more than one of the senses, tend to be remembered more than one long lecture. Lessons frequently repeated will strengthen the desired good habits. Repetition can also be helpful when teachers catch students doing right and strengthen the positive outcomes by repeating affirmative messages. Even struggling learners will catch the spirit of being optimistic and be more likely to succeed.