Brookfield Chapter 8: Teaching in Diverse Classrooms (3260)

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

diverse classroom

In Chapter 8: Teaching in Diverse Classrooms in his book “The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom”, author Stephen D. Brookfield suggests that in order to effectively work in the diverse classroom you need to take the time to determine what the class composition is. Brookfield recommends the following broad strategies to cope with diversity in the classroom:

  • Team teaching
  • Mixing student groups
  • Mixing modalities
  • Visual or oral communication
  • Silent or speech filled classrooms

I am a big fan of team teaching. As an Instructor in a Hospitality Management Diploma Program, I very often engage other Instructors to teach my class. Sometimes I will leave the classroom and let them “run the show”, and sometimes we would teach together and share sections of the chapter that we are covering, and stories connected to it. The team-teaching approach allows for more interaction between teachers and students, and improves the quality of teaching, as teacher strengths are combined and weaknesses are remedied.

Another strategy that I like to use, is mixing Students groups. Teaching at a College that has a lot of International Students, I have a very diverse classroom, and my Students bring different work habits to the classroom. For a lot of them the concept of “Western World Learning” is very foreign, and there is a long adaptation period. Designing good group learning experiences involves thoughtful planning and that starts with how the groups should be formed. I will use knowledge and skill criteria to form groups, and that way my Students will be more likely to accomplish more than working on an individual basis. It is also a great experience for Students to learn how to work with others – as I will often tell my Students, in a real world situation you will very seldom be in a position to pick and choose who you are going to work with.

Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.


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