Application: Changing Demographics and Diversity—Connections between Theory and Practice
In the article “Beyond the Illusion of Diversity: How Early Childhood Teachers Can Promote Social Justice,” Boutte speaks of the need for early childhood professionals to apply pedagogical principles and classroom practices that more explicitly cultivate inclusive practices. She states that these efforts promote social justice, and passionately advocates that early childhood professionals should be provided with, and seek out, opportunities and resources that support their interactions with children and families from diverse backgrounds. As well, Boutte points out that any major issue or trend, for example, changing demographics and diversity, usually consists of a number of smaller, related issues. Understanding these different but related issues increases a person’s ability to interact with others in a respectful, caring, and authentic manner.
As you might already know, achieving professional “fluency” about the complexity of issues and trends is a lifelong process. With the help of this assignment, you can take a step toward such fluency with regard to changing demographics and diversity. First, you will be asked to learn about a specific issue by reading about it; then extend your knowledge by talking to someone who has experience with this issue; and finally, reflect on what you have learned with the help of the “awareness tool.”
Consider some of the many specific issues related to changing demographics and diversity listed below. This list is by far not complete. Feel free to add other related issues to it.
- Providing quality education experiences for children of migrant families
- Cultural diversity
- Culturally responsive care and education
- On a global scale: nations in motion (i.e., displacement of children and families through wars)
- Gender diversity
- Language diversity
- Dual language learning
- Religious diversity
- Labeling and bias
For this assignment, choose one issue from the list above or an additional issue about which you want to learn more. Then:
- Find three professional written resources (online, journals, etc.) that provide information about and/or further resources for this issue and study them.
- Locate a child, a family, or an early childhood professional with personal experience regarding the issue you selected.
- Ask that person/family/early childhood professional to tell you about experiences related to the issue you chose.
- Using the “awareness tool” from the multimedia piece in Week 1, consider the person’s story using the professional awareness viewpoint. Summarize the consequences for that person specifically, and children, families, and EC professionals in general.
For this assignment, write a paper that includes:
A brief review of each of the three resources, including a citation in APA format for each
A summary of your conversation and an analysis
A discussion of any implications that your study of this one issue might have on your work in the early childhood field, and your thoughts on this issues