My primary teaching responsibility is the first education class at Kent State University, Education in a Democratic Society. Human diversity in education has always been one of the primary focuses of my pedagogy. My diversity focus, however, has been limited to domestic issues of diversity in schools. Bringing an international focus to my course began by requiring students to attend events in the Read Center to earn professionalism points. The global learning scholar program provided me with training and information to give international education a more central role in each of my courses. This is not to say there have not been challenges. One primary challenge exists which I continually struggle to conquer. The belief among many of my students is that they are not culturally diverse beings. Instead they tend view themselves as the norm or ideal and, as a result, tend to be resistant the topic of diversity beyond a very superficial level. I want them to see themselves as diverse beings, to see that their way of engaging the world is just one way, not the way, and to embrace learning about cultural diversity as a life long journey. My class is simply the first step on a wonderful journey.
To begin this life long journey students first engage an online, interactive module which allows them to see their own cultural identity on paper. This begins the discussion. By the end of the semester students create a product that can be shared with others regarding their understanding of a curricular topic or issue in education in a global context.