Language and diversity Essay Example
Language and diversity Essay Example

Language and diversity Essay Example

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  • Published: September 26, 2017
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Lane (2007, online) advocates for equal opportunities for children to learn, respect, and value others who are different from them. It is important for children to be in an inclusive environment where every child is included. Reynolds (1997, p.64) also highlights the impact of diversity on a child's educational achievement, stating that factors such as race, ethnicity, language, and disability can influence exclusion and achievement. Therefore, inclusive learning approaches are necessary. This rationale focuses on issues of diversity, language, and inclusion and analyzes a storybook that promotes diversity among visually impaired children, specifically those with partial blindness. Conteh (2003, p.143) defines diversity as accepting every child holistically and embracing their differences. In order to support children with partial blindness, it is crucial to ensure they feel acknowledged and comfortable with their identity. This can be achieved by fo


stering a positive self-image and creating a safe and secure environment. Waugh and Jolliffe (2008, p.9) believe that when children accept their differences, they will feel comfortable and happy in any environment, which will positively impact their self-esteem and learning. However, it is important to consider that some children may struggle to accept their differences if their peers do not value them for who they are (Frederickson 2002, p.122).Teachers need to offer children counseling and support in developing positive attitudes towards all children. According to Bennett (1998), positive attitudes are often forgotten as inclusion focuses on specific groups of children, labeling them as subgroups rather than individuals. This labeling can affect the school's acceptance of diversity. Negative attitudes can develop through labeling, leading to certain expectations (Booth and Ainscow 2002, p.48). Frederickson suggests that children may notice differentia

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treatment and restricted access to important educational opportunities, which may be the result of negative attitudes held by their peers. From my own experience, my school treated all children equally and did not recognize these groups, but this did not promote diversity for those who needed it. Therefore, the implication for my practice is to ensure that I provide support for children to feel comfortable with themselves by seeing them as individuals and supporting their needs when appropriate. This may lead their peers to mirror this behavior. Inclusive education should not exclude any child from school experiences. Both Sebba and Sachdev (2000, p.9) believe that inclusion should enable all children to reach their potential. Schools should reevaluate their organization and provisions to prevent inequality, allowing children to develop skills that will make them successful learners and individuals.The Education Reform Act (1988, online) declares that every student should have access to the National Curriculum. According to Thomas et al. (1998, p.65), inclusion is similar to integration because it involves making changes to help children "fit in." Thomas also argues that inclusion for partially blind children in mainstream schools means they are included because they are in the presence of others. Thomas emphasizes the importance of location, while inclusion refers to providing support and overcoming children's problems not only in learning but in their entire school experience (Cline 2002, p.263). Reflecting on Sebba and Sachdev's theory, my school ensured that all children had equal opportunities for learning. Adaptations to resources were made so that children could do the same work as their peers and collaborate with their friends. One issue that affects children's learning and promotion of

diversity is language. Language usage conveys subtle messages about diversity that one may not be aware of. Respecting and showing sensitivity towards individuals requires considering language, as it can perpetuate bias, discrimination, and negative attitudes, such as using words like blind for partially sighted children or SEN to group all children with different needs as having the same problem (Griffin 2008, p.140).According to Griffin (2008, p.201), instructors should utilize and promote appropriate language when talking about children with partial sightlessness in order to promote respect and clear understanding. This can help children use correct language and develop positive attitudes. Waugh (2008, p.55) also agrees that language and encouragement are important in promoting diversity. Griffin suggests a connection between children developing positive attitudes towards children with partial sightlessness and instructors reinforcing and promoting the use of proper language. However, Griffin does not explore what happens if instructors attempt to promote correct language but children continue to use incorrect language and maintain negative attitudes. A study by Cline (2002, p.4) suggests that parents may play a role in the promotion of appropriate language use. Parents may have their own values, attitudes, and vocabulary that their children adopt. This was evident in my own school experience when children used certain words to describe children with partial sightlessness. When I asked them where they learned that all children who cannot see clearly are completely blind, they responded, "my parents." Therefore, it is important to create an environment where children can engage in meaningful dialogue with each other.In planning (circle clip, PHSE), effective strategies can be created to develop awareness of the impact language has on children with different needs

(Sylva et Al 2004, p.52). It allows for discussions with children about the appropriate use of language. This promotes respect and individuality among children. The story "No Leo you can't play!" is about a partially blind lion named Leo who wants to play with other animals. Despite his efforts, he faces rejection because of his visual impairment. However, Luke the monkey shows compassion and includes him by creating a ball with a bell. This book is intended for year one students. I chose to raise awareness about diversity among visually impaired children because I have observed how many kids exclude them and make derogatory remarks. I want children to understand the experiences and emotions that partially blind children go through. It is important to clarify that being visually impaired does not mean being completely blind (Davis 2003, p.2). Many have partial sight. Therefore, this issue is addressed in the discussion. The story is written in Standard English as recommended by DFEE (1999, p.45) for reading and writing purposes.The inclusion of pictures on every page in this book is aimed at preventing a loss of interest from children who may become disengaged from the story if there are too many words. Images help children comprehend the narrative. It is important to acknowledge the diverse backgrounds of children and challenge stereotypes. Suschitzky (1998, p.16) supports this idea, stating that teachers should challenge stereotypes to address issues of inequality and support children in their learning. The book challenges stereotypes by showing images of Leo without glasses, running, and using a guide dog (see page 2, 3, 5, 9, 12). Questions can be asked to prompt children to think

about the absence of glasses and what Leo would use if glasses were not shown. This allows for exploration of stereotyped perspectives (Blatchford and Clarke 2000, p.16). By raising awareness and encouraging thoughtful questioning, barriers to social inclusion for children with visual impairments can be overcome. Gryphons (2003) believes that by providing accurate strategies and resources, this book can be accessible to all learners. The book is visually appealing with bright colors, a textured front cover, and large font (Grace et al, 2009).The reason for this is that children at a young age are attracted to books that stand out. According to Davis (2003, p.104), my design aims to help children learn to read through the use of printed and tactile materials, especially for children with vision impairments. It has been noted by Arter (1999, p.35) that many children with partial blindness rely on hearing, print, and touch to access the curriculum. This aligns with the findings of the Cox Report (1989, p.207) that all children access the English curriculum through specialized materials, thus enhancing their English language skills.

However, we could question Davis's assumption as it might be a generalization. Not all partially sighted children can learn effectively through print, touch, and visuals. It is important to consider what is happening to these children's learning experiences. According to Mason (1999, pp.213-216), learning to read through traditional books can be slow and challenging. The use of inviting, attractive layouts and illustrations in books may create difficulties and confusion for a child. Mason believes that text printed alongside colorful images can make it very difficult for a child to locate and decode words. In addition, funny and

attractive fonts may also pose challenges as children often read best through clear and bold fonts. This may hinder the motivation and encouragement for children to engage with a wide range of literature.

However, Tobin (1979, p.111) believes that Mason's concerns can be overcome.Enhancing children's reading skills can be achieved through mastering visual perception, motion, language, figure-background separation, form separation, visual searching, and scanning. Since children differ in their abilities, utilizing Grace and Davis's theory as a basis for instruction is crucial. For instance, a child with partial blindness was observed to be able to read a book titled "No Leo you can't play." To facilitate their reading experience, a tape of the narrative is used alongside the book. This approach allows children to listen and attempt to read while viewing images. In cases where reading print poses difficulties, the audio tape is employed. By providing careful and informed instruction, children can progress in their reading skills just like their peers and engage in social interaction by discussing their favorite parts of the story. However, it is important to note that some children may require assistance and encouragement (McCall 1999, p.34). Additionally, repetitive text within the narrative is beneficial for partially blind and EAL learners as it enhances communication among all students and their involvement in the story (refer to page 2, 4, 9, 10). According to McLinden (1999, p.45), "repeating and responding without understanding aligns with genuine comprehension and response to other words and phrases."It is crucial for children to analyze the significance by discussing certain parts of the story, which will enable them to reflect on the importance of the text. Referring to Cummings

(2009, notes) model, the experience of repetitive text provides a context for language to become embedded, facilitating higher cognitive learning. The book permits literacy activities to be carried out. DfES (1995, p.208) and Wilson (1998, p.208) argue that the English curriculum should respond to the diverse needs of children. Access to the curriculum can be achieved by adjusting presentation and allowing learning through experience. In groups of three using a ball containing a bell, a catching game can be played. A child wears special glasses that simulate partial blindness. Children can be asked about the different outcomes and how the child with the glasses felt. This enables children to develop empathy towards children with partial blindness. Through this experience, children can discover ways to include partially sighted children in games outside of school, if they ever encounter someone with this condition. If there were a partially sighted child in class, they would not only develop listening and comprehension skills, but they would also be actively included in the activity and work with their peers by demonstrating and helping others understand how to catch the ball.This activity promotes inclusivity and independence for children, as they assist others instead of receiving help, and develop mobility skills (Davis 2003, p.36). A freezing frame talking activity is suggested, involving children with partial blindness participating in games and discussions. This activity encourages secondary school students to value diversity through drama and peer mediation, discussing and solving problems to promote inclusion (Teachers Television 2006, online). However, younger children may be less mature and understanding towards diversity, so teachers need to provide support and encourage them to consider how they can support

their peers. An activity focused on developing writing skills can also be helpful. Depending on the children's abilities, different types of poems (such as soliloquy or calligram) can be discussed. Children can reflect on how a character like Leo would feel in different situations and write poems in groups based on these reflections.According to Stone (1988), utilizing poems and group work allows children to interact with others and develop equal scaffolding. Vygotsky (as cited in Smith, 2003) also emphasized the importance of collaborative learning and how social relationships and cognitive processes can work together effectively. Poems are valuable tools for children as they enable them to express their emotions and thoughts, allowing teachers and peers to understand their feelings. However, Stone's argument fails to address the issue of class administration, which can impact children's learning and social inclusion. Class arrangement typically ensures that children with visual impairments have larger working spaces. However, Miller (as cited in Davis, 2003) believes that providing separate working spaces may result in physical separation and limited interaction with others during group work. I have observed that when a child is seated separately, their peers often make decisions on their behalf. This not only hinders their inclusion but also diminishes their educational engagement. Consequently, unintentional barriers to achievement, inclusion, and equality are created. It is important to note that physical separation does not always lead to inactivity as every child is different.If there are no agencies allowing children to sit with their groups and they need to sit at their working space, it is important to ensure that a friend is sitting nearby who can provide reassurance and a connection with

others in the group. Additionally, it is important to ensure that children in a group are assigned different tasks to complete during group work. These activities, such as visual displays showcasing the activities, photos, and comments of visually impaired children, acknowledge the diversity of these children and play a critical role in emphasizing how schools value diversity. It is clear that teachers have a complex task of supporting visually impaired children. This book serves as a starting point in recognizing diversity and helping all children achieve. To promote diversity, schools must recognize and incorporate the diverse needs of children, including their backgrounds, to develop self-worth and pride (Lawrence, 1999, p. 5).

- Arter, C., Mason, L., McCall, S., McLinden, M., Stone, J. (1999) Children with Visual damages in Mainstream Settings. London: David Fulton
- Bennett, J. (1998) Irish republic: Integration as appropriate, segregation where necessary. From them to us. London: David Fulton
- Blair, M., Bourne, J. (1998) Making the difference: Teaching and learning strategies in successful Multicultural schools.The following texts contain various resources and books related to inclusion and diversity in education, along with their respective publishers:

- London: HMSO
- Booth, T., Ainscow M. (2000) Index for inclusion: Developing acquisition and engagement in schools. Bristol: CSIE
- Conteh, J. (2003) Succeeding in diverseness. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books
- Davis, P. (2003) Including kids with Ocular Damages in Mainstream schools: A practical usher. London: David Fulton Publishers
- Department for Education (1995a) The National Curriculm. London: HMSO
- DfEE/QCA (1999) The National Curriculum: enchiridion for primary instructors in England: cardinal phases 1 and 2. London: DfEE
- Department of Education and Science (1989b) English for Ages 5 to 16. London: HMSO
- DfEE/QCA (1999)

The Education Reform Act. [Online].Available: hypertext transfer protocol:// en-GB: functionary&client=firefox-a[3rd October 2009]
- Frederickson, N., Cline, T. (2002) Particular Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity. Buckingham: Open Press University
- Grace, S., Gravestock, P. (2009) Inclusion and Diversity: Meeting the demands of all pupils. New York and London: Routledge
- Griffin, S. (2008) Inclusion, Equality and Diversity in working with kids. Essex: Heinemann
- Lane, J. (2007) Embracing Equality: Promoting Equality and Inclusion in Early Years.[ Online ] : Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // &A ;SearchOption=And &SearchType=Keyword &RefineExpand=1 &ContentId=14204 [ 22nd November 2009 ]

Lawrence, D. ( 1999 ) Enhancing self esteem in the schoolroom. London: Paul Chapman

Lawson, C. ( 2009 ) Cummingss, J- Ice berg Model .Bradford: Bradford College McMillan School of Teaching, Health and Care

Pull offing Inclusion- Secondary- Removing Barriers to Learning ( 2006 ) Video.Ilford: Teachers TV

Reynolds, D. ( 1997 ) 'School Effectiveness: Retrospect and chance ' , Scots Educational Review , Vol.29, No.2, pp.87-113

Sebba, J. , Sachdev, D. ( 2000 ) What works in Inclusive instruction? Barkingside: Bernardos

Siraj Blatchford, I. , Clarke, P. ( 2000 ) Supporting individuality, diverseness and linguistic communication in the early old ages. Buckingham and Philadelphia: Open Press University

Smith, P. , Cowie, H. , Blades, M. ( 2003 ) Understanding Children 's Development .4th edition.A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A Great Britain: Blackwell Publishing

Rock, J. ( 1988 ) Particular demands in Ordinary schools.

London: Cassell

Suchitzky, W. ( 1998 ) Valued kids, informed instruction. Buckingham: Open Press University
Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Taggart, B. (2004) Effective pre school and primary instruction. London: DfES/Sure get down
Thomas, G., Walker, D., Webb, J. (1998) The devising of the inclusive school. London: Routledge
Tobin, M. (1979) A longitudinal survey of blind and partly sighted kids in particular schools in England and Wales. Brimingham: Research Centre for the Visually handicapped, University of Birmingham
Waugh, D., Jolliffe, W. (2008) English 3-11 a usher for instructors. London and New York: Routledge
Wilson (1981) Curriculum in particular schools. Schools Council.

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