A dynamic workshop titled “Diversity as an Asset” was recently hosted by NCCU’s International College of Innovation as part of the EMI Workshop Series. Led by the esteemed Professor Joshua S. Smith, Ph.D., this engaging event aimed to redefine the concept of diversity, address challenges encountered in EMI classes, and explore strategies for creating an inclusive learning environment.
The workshop commenced with an insightful exploration of the evolution of perspectives on diversity, ranging from the traditional notion of multiculturalism in the 1990s to the more recent focus on diversity and tolerance in the 2000s. Today, the emphasis has shifted to equity and inclusion. Participants actively contributed to brainstorming sessions, generating word clouds that highlighted various dimensions of diversity, including race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and individual comfort levels in engagement.
Encouraging active participation, attendees were invited to share case studies involving students who encountered difficulties in meeting class expectations. This collaborative approach aimed to underscore the significance of differentiated instruction and foster a shared responsibility for learning. The workshop also provided practical strategies for implementation, as participants shared their valuable insights and advice with lecturers, teaching assistants, and students alike. These strategies encompassed the use of diverse grading rubrics, incorporation of student perspectives, provision of reading support, and promotion of group activities to facilitate comfortable expression of ideas.
Professor Smith emphasized the crucial role of a differentiated approach, which involves implementing pedagogical changes, creating an inclusive physical learning environment, and utilizing varied assessment methods. Throughout the workshop, participants explored the concept of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and alternative grading systems as effective means to accommodate the diverse learning needs of students.
Co-organized by the College of Social Sciences and the OAA Center for Teaching and Learning Development, and with the support of the MOE Bilingual Program, the EMI Workshop Series has proven to be an invaluable platform for enhancing teaching practices and advancing inclusive education at NCCU. This thought-provoking workshop equipped educators and teaching assistants with a deeper understanding of differentiated instruction and diversity as invaluable assets. Armed with these insights, they are empowered to create inclusive learning environments that celebrate and leverage the unique strengths of every student.