What is "diversity sensitive" pedagogy?

Fola is a girl who was born in Massachusetts, United States, to Ghanaian parents and grows up in America and the UK. She now goes to kindergarten in London. Fola speaks English with an American accent, starts adopting British words and speaks a variant of the Kwa language with her parents. Fola seems to take on different facets or attitudes whenever she speaks one of the languages mentioned. Fola choses the Kwa language to speak with her parents at home and at family gatherings. She starts speaking more with a British accent but switches to an American accent whenever she gets excited or upset. Sometimes the other children make fun of how Fola pronounces certain words.

Age: 5 years 2 months

Home language: English, Kwa

Additional language spoken: -

What is "diversity sensitive" pedagogy?

Children construct their cultural identity, their individuality, and their group affiliation in relation to their family. Awareness of other cultures also develops in children based on their understanding of their own experiences. Getting to know the characteristics of one's own ethnic identity takes time and getting to know other cultures takes even longer. As they expand their experiences with diversity by getting to know other families through kindergarten, educators can facilitate this process by providing a diversity-sensitive curriculum (Cummins, 2001). 

For young children, culture is not something which is abstract. Culture is lived and learned on a daily basis through the ways in which family members relate to each other; through language, family histories and values, as well as household practices and traditions (Grøver Aukrust, 2007) (Cummins, 2001)..   

  • How does Fola feel?  

  • What would be the next steps for the educators? 

  • What could the educator do to support Fola in her language development and support her in gaining confidence in the way she speaks? 

  • What could the educator learn from the information that Fola usually speaks the Kwa language at home with her family and at family gatherings? 

  • What might influence Fola’s language choices and how does that reflect her sense of identity?  

  • Why should the educator avoid to classify Fola’s cultural identity based on indicators like nationality or the languages she speaks?