Diversity Matters: In Education and Beyond
Diversity in education matters, and it plays an important role in Pearson’s mission of helping people make more of their lives through learning. Our differences give us unique perspectives that can enrich our learning, work, and lives. This blog post is part of our Diversity Matters series exploring different perspectives on why diversity matters in education. For more commentary and resources on the importance of diversity, visit our Diversity and Access website.
I have always been told that math and science are not the only things that are learned at school, and I’ve found that the social dynamics of the classroom and campus are just as important as the curriculum when it comes to learning. Diversity in education is a social dynamic whose importance cannot be stressed enough. Race, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background, socioeconomic status—things that make people different from one another—offer a rich learning opportunity for all of us. At any stage of education, diversity influences social development. The way that we think and act are impacted by the environment around us—diversity, or the lack of, playing a significant role.
Beginning at the earliest stages of education, diversity must be nurtured and fostered to ensure that students receive the very best preparation to advance to the next stage in their educational journey and, ultimately, to the world in which they will live and work. Diversity, especially at the collegiate level, is something that I think is often overlooked when prospective students are looking for the right college, but its many benefits—especially in this real-world preparation—are too great to be ignored.
I, for one, never really thought about the impact of diversity until I took a social justice course this past semester, which was required to be a resident advisor. I had no idea what to expect from the class, but we quickly delved into the influence of social identities and various topics related to diversity. For one day of class, we were assigned to bring in an article on why diversity matters on a college campus and present it to a group of our classmates. The presenter then asked questions to open a dialogue on the effects of diversity to get everyone thinking about the topic. After multiple articles were shared, it became very clear to me that diversity not only helps students become more socially adaptable, promotes creative thinking, and enhances self awareness; but it also prepares students for the world beyond education—whether it be a career in food production, fashion merchandise, working in a hospital, or in a school.
Our magnified perspective and interaction with people different from ourselves while in school prepares us to work with employers, coworkers, and clients of diverse backgrounds. Besides this, becoming comfortable interacting with diverse people in a structured educational setting allows us to enhance our appreciation of the different people we will encounter in different contexts throughout our lifetime. Diversity matters, but not just for education; it matters civically, socially, and in any number of other ways for the life that lies ahead of us.
About the Author
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • Champaign, IL
Sarah is a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology preparing for a career in the health field. At UIUC, she is the secretary of Illini Collegians for Life, is involved in hall council, likes to swing dance and volunteers for Illini Fight Against Hunger. You can almost always find her at the Undergraduate Library, but when she’s not studying, she likes to play soccer, volleyball and tennis, and she loves to go to basketball and hockey games.
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