Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Diversity in the Classroom

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Diversity in the Classroom

Article excerpt

During our annual AATA (Arizona Agricultural Teachers Association) conference in July, one of our veteran teachers was asked to address the body about the need to increase diversity in our FFA chapters. As he discussed the importance of serving a variety of students in our programs, I began to ponder if our chapter was on the right track. What does diversity entail? - Race, Socioeconomics, Learning Abilities. After reviewing the school demographics, I quickly realized that our Agriscience classes' enrollment nearly mirrored those of the schools, in all categories.

Below is a list of items that have worked in several chapters, increasing the opportunity for diversity in agricultural education programs:

Treat all students as human beings

Once students enter the public school system, they are given a student identification number, along with a schedule that tells them where to be and when. Some feel as if their entire identity is at jeopardy. As teachers, we should focus on the students as if we were in their shoes. Mix things up and keep them excited about coming into your classroom. Greet the students at the door with a smile and handshake. Show the students that you generally care by asking about their weekends and attending their sports and musical events. When your students rum in their student information sheets, read them; refer to their interests as often as you can throughout your lessons, SAE visits, and FFA activities.

Recruitment

Most agricultural education programs have that one key recruitment activity that has been perfected by years of practice. Take the positive aspects of that activity and apply them to several, smaller activities that will address the need of a variety of students. For example, target the academically successful students by explaining how your program can benefit and prepare them for college admissions and scholarships. …

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