Free Diversity: Challenges And Opportunities At Southern College Essay Example
The face of United States is changing, and this change is more evident in the learning institutions. There is a massive change taking place in many of the country’s education systems. For the first-time, minorities will outnumber whites in the country’s public learning institutions. According to the U.S Department of Education Projections, for the first time in the nation’s history the number of whites in public schools will fall below 50%. It is mainly attributed to the increase in the number of Asian and Hispanic school-age children born in the United States (Aguirre, 2003). A stable change in the countries demographic has resulted in the reduction of white students in public school, even though, the total number of school going children in public schools has increased.
This study acts as a guide to the significant demographic trends that have implications for the policy makers, school leaders, parents and the entire community (Frey, 2014). The study begins by analyzing how the U.S population is changing. It also sheds remarkable understanding on how the changes in demographics alter the school policies and practices. Finally, it gives suggestions on how to meet the needs of the changing school population.
Race and Ethnicity
In 2009, 29.9% of the young Americans between 25 to 29 years old had acquired a bachelor’s degree and 7.9% successfully obtained an associate degree (Kim, 2011, p. 1). These rates covered huge disparities for those who belong to the subgroups. Statistics say that among all races in the US education, the Asian Americans make up 58% of bachelor’s degree holder (Kim, 2011, p. 1). This is followed by the Whites with 36%; African Americans and Hispanics with 18% and 12%, respectively; and the American Indians making up 10% of the overall bachelor’s degree holders (Kim, 2011, p. 1). The population in Southern College is becoming more diverse. For a very long time, a large number of the student body was white, but this has changed with increased access to higher education for the country’s minority groups. Currently, the three biggest racial groups in the school are the whites, Hispanics, and the African American community (Frey, 2014). The Whites make up about 52% of the population in universities in 2011 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2014). On the other hand, the Blacks comprised 16% of the population and 24% were Hispanics (National Center for Education Statistics, 2014).Gender
Years back, 53 percent of the population in schools was made up of males. The number of female students at all has increased. In my college, 55 percent of the undergraduate population currently is made up of female students while 57 percent of graduate students are women. Female students make up 53 percent of all students combined.
In recent years, the rate of learners from the age of 25 and above has increased. Postgraduate enrollment has increased by 34 percent making the number of graduate students 78 percent of the total number of students.
What these demographic trends signify
The population that is currently being educated in Southern College is to larger extent made up of children from the minority group. According to the U.S Department of Education, the number of Hispanic in higher education increased by 14% whiles those of the African Americans increased by 10% (Joshi 2006). The population of female students in my college has increased compared to the number of male students in the school a sign that women’s future is bright and they have started giving men a run for their brain. . According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics, the current percentage of female students taking associate degree courses remained between 60-62 % and 57-58 percent taking bachelor.
The number of students from the age of 25 and above in Southern College has increased steadily signifying that younger and middle-aged students are going back for further studies. This means that in the future we shall have more learned professionals compared to the past. The percentage of students enrolling for a bachelor’s degree between the ages of 25-64 is 61% according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The two sources that helped me identify the demographics identified above include: "The Department of Education in the United States," which is a federal cabinet-level agency of the United States government. The second source is "The National Center for Education Statistics" which is the principal federal entity, responsible for the collection and analysis of education related data in US and other countries.
A2. Benefits of Diversity
The diversity of a school community significantly influences its intellectual personality, performance, age, experience, productivity, psychical ability, of the students. Everyone in this diverse system has the capability to become an invaluable resource for other people such as fellow students, teachers, and the entire community. Students who learn to relate well with classmates from different cultures are better prepared for the currently changing world and the world in future (Marrietta, 2008). Students can develop cross-cultural skills in linguistically and culturally diverse institutions.
B1: Cultural-Based Communication Practices
The two current and most widely communication practices in our school is communication through technology and two-way communication. The school chooses to display message and texts that reflect the student body demographics (Yanow, 2003). Such practices open avenues for students to understand each other, in-depth. The other cultural based communication method is one of behavior management that uses student contracts and agreements. It involves students designing the lecture room discipline, policies that contribute towards the development of shared ownership of the classroom culture (Aguirre, 2003). The school takes a zero indifference approaches to ethnic or racial discrimination meaning no racial discrimination goes unresolved.
B2: Stereotypical Assumptions
Stereotypical assumptions could limit effective communication with the school. One of the stereotypical assumptions that could define effective communication is verbal pattern that are culturally determined. Use of culturally defined verbal patterns limits the ability to send messages and efficiently communicate with a refined person. Another type of stereotyping is the stereotyping of the visual impact or the gender of a speaker. If a speaker has an unconventional physical appearance, a conservative person in the school may dismiss him because of his appearance (Marrietta, 2008). Many people apply generalization to the different races and gender in our school when evaluating an individual.
Stereotypical assumptions about men being smarter than women would limit effective communication at Southern College. This will limit the women’s ability to make use of their skills and talents and seek ways to learn something new. The situation itself would restrict women’s ability to share what they know and succeed in their chosen fields. Stereotyping would always make men gain greater advantage over women as they would all the more feel superior compared to the opposite sex.
B3: Potential BarriersThe two main common barriers in my school are language and stereotypes. Misunderstanding and communication barriers are very ordinary among people from different linguistic or ethnic backgrounds. Minor mistakes such as mispronunciation of a phrase or word can cause misunderstandings (Aguirre, 2003).Stereotypes are assumptions that people make about certain characteristics of an individual who belong to a cultural or social group. Many stereotypes are hostile and harmful and are barriers to effective communicationC1: Ways to Better Serve the Needs
Engaging the whole School Community
Developing proper communication channels
Developing proper communication channels in a diverse school ensures that the needs of the school are better served. Two ways to develop proper communication channels include teaching kids both verbal and non-verbal communication. When the students learn both verbal and non-verbal teaching strategies, it will be much easier for them to learn especially with students who cannot verbally communicate or express themselves (Frey, 2014). Verbal communication helps students to better pronounce words correctly. Further, verbal communication facilitates easier grasp of the language as one participates in the conversations. Non-verbal communication strengthens understanding between communication challenged students and regular students. In non-verbal communication, everyone is taught to understand appreciation for one another either through sign language or pictorial learning.
C2: Cross-Cultural Communication
Two resources that I would give or recommend to my school’s administration that will help the leaders learn more about cross-cultural communication are: “Working on Common Cross-cultural Challenges” by Mary Axner and Marcelle Dupraw and “Cross-cultural and intercultural communication” by William B Gudykunst.
C2a: Summaries of Resources
“Working on common cross-cultural challenges” examine the importance of cultural differences and gives six significant patterns of the different cultural differences in the country (Aguirre, 2003). These models include recognizing different communication styles. Then the author considers different approaches that that completes their culture and strategies. The next pattern the decision-making styles and the roles that people take in the decision-making process. Another pattern is the attitudes that cultures have towards disclosure because with some cultures, and it is not advisable for one to be honest about their emotions. The last pattern examines the different approaches to cultures about epistemologies (Frazier, 2006).
Cross-cultural as well as intercultural communication offers an extensive overview of cross-cultural and intercultural differences in communication between intergroup. The first part of the book emphasizes the comparison and analysis of communication across different cultures. Part two discusses the interaction and communication of people from diverse cultures. The issues covered in the book include designing cross-cultural research, making theoretical predictions isolating effects to be studied and many more (Gudykunst, 2003).
C2b: Benefits of Applying Information Learned.
Southern College can benefit and create an environment that is well abreast of the cross –cultural and intercultural differences within the school from the resources provided. One of the benefits of the first resources is that it can help the school leaders understand themselves and their cultural identity and frame (Yanow, 2003).
Another benefit is that it will enable them to get a deeper understanding of different cultural and ethnic groups in school. Applying this information will give the school an insight of the communication processes of the diverse school community.
Aguirre, A. (2003). Racial and Ethnic Diversity in America: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Frazier, J. W. (2006). Race, ethnicity, and place in a changing America. Birmingham.NY: Global Academic Pbl.
Frey, W. H. (2014). Diversity Explosion: How New RacialDemographics are Remarking America. Washington: Brookings Institution Press.
Gudykunst, W. B. (2003). Cross-cultural and Intercultural Communication. Sage Publishers.
Joshi, K. Y. (2006). New Roots in America's Scared Ground: Religion, race, and ethnicity in Indian America. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Kim, Y. (2011). Minorities in Higher Education. Twenty-Fourth Status Repor, 1.
Marrietta, S.-S. (2008). Diverse TeachingStrategies for Diverse Learners.
National Center for Education Statistics,. (2014). The Condition of Education - Participation in Education - Elementary/Secondary Enrollment - Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools - Indicator April (2014). Nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 29 March 2015, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cge.asp
Yanow, D. (2003). Contsructing "Race and Ethnicity" in America: Category-Making in public policy. New York.
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