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Diversity Scenarios Consider how the resources this week have increased your understanding of influ …

Diversity Scenarios Consider how the resources this week have increased your understanding of influ …

Diversity Scenarios Consider how the resources this week have increased your understanding of influences that contribute to differences among adult learners. By anticipating the mix of experiences, attitudes, and abilities you will likely find among the adults with whom you work, you will be better prepared to provide each learner with the appropriate support to encourage maximum success. Educating diverse groups of adult learners is no easy task. As Stephen Brookfield (2006) states in his chapter on the emotions of learning, “Developing understanding, assimilating knowledge, acquiring skills, exploring new perspectives, and thinking critically are activities that prompt strong feelings” (p. 75). That applies to adult learners and to you as an adult educator. Be aware of your own experiences, attitudes, and expectations that might cloud your judgment about individual students, and draw on knowledge and strategies to help you make accurate and informed responses to any “diversity scenarios.” Test yourself with the four scenarios that follow. Read each and reflect on your understanding of the situation and the adult learners involved. Consider information from the Resources this week that provide guidance for responding most appropriately to each scenario. Educator A: In a community college classroom, a student stands out to you, even though he seems to be doing his utmost to be inconspicuous. He never volunteers an answer, and when you call on him, he mumbles his response. He speaks in a deeply accented voice and although you have some difficulty catching his every word, what you understand indicates he is thinking critically about the course content. That impression is confirmed by his first written assignment. You wonder about his potential, what may be influencing his classroom demeanor, and how best to support him. Educator B: You are leading a 2-day orientation of new caseworkers in child protective services from across a wide region. As the associates enter the room, you see two women in wheelchairs among the group. You plan to cover requirements as well as “do’s and don’ts” of home visits. You wonder about the women’s physical limitations and if all of the material you have planned is appropriate for them. You are also concerned about whether you, the women, and/or other members of the group will feel self-conscious when you discuss aspects of the job that involve/require mobility. Educator C: A school district has hired you for three professional development sessions with primary-grade teachers on integrating algebra and algebraic principles into primary-grade math curriculum. Attendance is mandatory for the teachers. You begin by asking the group to share their experiences with math and algebra. You get a smattering of responses—from those who loved it in school, to those who can’t see how it is relevant for young students, to a brave soul who admits to never taking algebra and being fearful of how she will teach it. You realize there is greater range of knowledge and comfort with algebra than you expected, and you wonder how best to work with a group that is so diverse in their math backgrounds and attitudes toward teaching algebra in the early grades. Educator D: You are reviewing evaluations from a presentation to early childhood educators on developmentally appropriate practice at a small regional conference. You followed your preferred format: using a PowerPoint presentation as a visual, discussing key points, and providing copies of the presentation as a handout. Many evaluations are positive and mention the value of the PowerPoint as a reference. However, there are a number of complaints along the lines of “too much talk. I was expecting more than a lecture.” One comment in particular strikes you: “I’m like the children I work with—I learn best by doing! I’m disappointed there was no chance to try out ideas.” You wonder how much importance to give those criticisms and how you might accommodate differences among your audience in the future. Choose one scenario to respond to in your Discussion post. Select the scenario that is most relevant to you and your work as an adult educator. Take the role of Educator A, B, C, or D, and then draw on advice, insights, and strategies from the Resources this week to develop your explanation. By Wednesday: Post your response to the diversity scenario of your choice. Identify your role as Educator A, B, C, or D and provide the following in your explanation: Your analysis of the scenario How you would respond as the adult educator in this situation One or more strategies that would provide information and/or guidance in this situation Any assumptions or misconceptions involved in the situation and how to correct them Include references or examples from this week’s Learning Resources to support your ideas.

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