What is the contextual significance in cultural diversity in the field of education?

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Cultural diversity is significant in education for two main reasons.

First, cultural diversity is important because many schools and teachers have to deal with issues of cultural diversity.  Our country is extremely diverse, particularly in many urban areas.  Schools may have students who speak many different languages and come from many different cultures.  They have to find ways to make all students feel included and accepted at the school.  At the same time, they need to teach basic American values rather than giving in to different attitudes on important things like gender equality.

Second, schools need to teach about cultural diversity.  We live in a diverse country and a rapidly globalizing world.  This means that our students need to be aware of the challenges they might face in dealing with people from other cultures.  They need to be able to interact with such people in the future even if they do not do so in the present. 

Thus, cultural diversity is significant in the field of education because educators must teach about it and because they must often deal with the challenges that it presents in the classroom and in the school.

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What is the contextual significance of inclusion in the field of education?

In the field of education, inclusion (or inclusive education) is a model of instruction consisting on providing educational services to students with special needs without having to leave the regular education classroom. The way in which inclusion occurs is by assessing and addressing the needs of the student, by documenting them on an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), and then by applying a number of strategies using every human and material resource that can be provided by the school district.

From a contextual perspective, the main principle of inclusion is that all students must be appreciated by their diverse qualities, and that the term "normal" is no longer a measurable trait. Within the 21st century model of teaching and learning, all students must be taught through standards designed by their developmental level of skill. This tenet undermines the traditional classroom setting where all students were measured and assessed in the same manner. Therefore, the inclusion model supports this tenet by allowing students who need special education to exercise their rights to be educated in a learning environment which ideally is meant to be:

  • non-threatening
  • open and flexible
  • rife with support systems

That is the ultimate goal of inclusion and, in the words of Kunc (1992),

When inclusive education is fully embraced... We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community, and ...to realize the achievable goal of providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging.

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