How to Use Differentiation for a Diversity Assignment


October is Diversity Awareness Month. defines diversity as:

  • noun di·ver·si·ty \də-ˈvər-sə-tē\
  • the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.

As I teach the subject in my Marketing Career Preparation course, I think what better time than when studying diversity to create a differentiated assignment for my students.

Differentiated instruction is a method in which a teacher anticipates and responds to a variety of students’ needs in the classroom. To meet students’ needs, teachers differentiate by modifying the content (what is being taught), the process (how it is taught) and/or the product (how students demonstrate their learning).

Some of the diversity topics we explore in class are age groups, race/ethnicity, culture, disAbilities, and sexual orientation, but the assignment the students have to complete takes it a step further allowing them to choose the WAY they want to complete it, according to their diverse learning preferences.

They students have six choices from which they pick one.

  1. Read blog posts from a microaggressions website.  Create an artwork piece (collage, painting, drawing, sculpture…) that is inspired by (or expresses) a microaggression
  2. Read an interview with a local Hmong family understanding their cultural uses of their home and how culture affects home deign. The students then create a layout/design of the home described.
  3. Watch a video on Valuing Generations in the Workplace.  Write a paper describing their own generation’s ‘common’ traits and characteristics and tell how they can effectively relate to other generations.
  4. Watch a video on Ability Awareness vs. Disability Awareness then reflect upon changes they could make in their life if they had Cerebral Palsy using a typical week’s activities from their life. (What and how)
  5. Students choose one area within the realm of diversity, find a person to interview who represents that diversity and can give them insights into it and how it has impacted the interviewee’s life.  Students then retell their interviewee’s story using a presentation or creating a story ‘book’.
  6. Students review short videos about Mattel’s Monster High, an All-Inclusive High School for Ghouls including Dracu-Laura, Frankie-Stein, etc. Their Kind Monsters Campaign (#KindMonsters) is partnering with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation (#BornThisWay) to overcome bullying and encourage inclusiveness. The students will create their own character who has been bullied due to a chosen diversity topic then write a short story including the character, bullying situation, and how she will feel when welcomed to Monster High.

At the next class meeting, I have the students get into groups with others who have chosen the same activity and do a Share-Compare-Consolidate, then report out to the class on what they did.

Depending on the class size, I may ask the students to choose a couple of activities that appeal to them.  I then limit the number of students choosing each activity forcing some to take their second choice, thus allowing more variety.