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McREL Standards Activity

Reflections About Diversity

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will know examples of both contemporary and historical conflicts stemming from diversity and will be able to discern some of the factors that have contributed to their resolutions.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
 Standard 11.Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society
   Level IV [Grade 9-12]
   Benchmark 3. Knows examples of conflicts stemming from diversity, and understands how some conflicts have been managed and why some of them have not yet been successfully resolved
Language Arts
 Standard 1.Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
   Level IV [Grade 9-12]
   Benchmark 9. Writes compositions employing persuasion (e.g., uses rhetorical techniques, such as appeal to logic and emotion; relates personal anecdotes; cites commonly accepted beliefs or expert opinion; anticipates readers’ knowledge level, concerns, values, and potential biases) and argument (e.g., articulates a thesis statement or claim; establishes clear relationships among claim(s), opposing and counterclaims; reasons, and evidence; identifies strengths and limitations of own arguments and counterarguments; provides a concluding statement that follows from general argument)
Language Arts
 Standard 8.Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
   Level IV [Grade 9-12]
   Benchmark 2. Asks questions as a way to broaden and enrich classroom discussions
Student Product:Newspaper editorial
Material & Resources:No special resources required for this activity.
Teacher's Note:Students should have had some prior instruction about diversity issues and historical and contemporary conflicts related to diversity issues.
1. Ask students to think about conflicts that arise from problems with diversity issues and to hypothesize about the elements that are needed in order to bring about successful resolutions to these kinds of problems. After listening to students’ ideas, write some of these elements on the board. 2. Working in small groups, students should make a list of both contemporary and historical conflicts that have arisen as a result of diversity issues. These conflicts may be small or large; they may involve individuals, groups, or nations (e.g., student conflicts in school, civil rights conflicts in the 1960’s, conflicts in the Middle East, current conflicts in the United States concerning women’s issues or sexual orientation). After giving students several minutes to brainstorm, discuss with students some of these conflicts and list them on the board. 3. Again having students work in their groups, ask them to analyze 2-3 conflicts and to try to determine: a) what factors have contributed to the successful resolution of these conflicts? and b) what factors have prevented these conflicts from being successfully resolved? After about 10-15 minutes of small group discussion, broaden the discussion to include the class as a whole. 4) To conclude the discussion, assign students the task of writing a newspaper editorial about how, in their opinions, diversity conflicts can be successfully managed. (You may need to explain to students that an editorial is an article in a publication that expresses an opinion. It may be helpful to students to read an example from the local newspaper.) Students should use contemporary and historical examples in their editorials in order to support their opinions.