Diversity and inclusion in an adult learning environment is important for the teacher to understand to enable lesson plans to follow the “Universal Design for Learning” to allow every student to reach the learning challenges by providing multiple means of representation, action and expression and engagement. (1)
Diversity is “the condition or quality of being diverse” (2). Diversity can be cultural and students with “exceptionalities”. Cultural diversity is the student’s “ethnic, gender, racial and socioeconomic group. Students with exceptionalities are the students that have a condition that creates difficulty in allowing them to reach their full potential (2).
Inclusion for adult education is the teacher’s awareness and understanding of the diverse needs of their students (2). One of the commitments of a teacher is to “champion student success” and share the responsibility for “ensuring educational experiences are positive and effective” (3). Being committed to the student’s success and understanding the diverse needs of the class will help teachers to develop learning plans that offer and enhance opportunities for all students to meet the learning objectives of the lesson.
One of the strategies that a teacher can use to maximize a student’s opportunity for success is the “Differentiated Instruction” philosophy. This philosophy the teacher aims to develop lesson plans that are flexible and attempt to match the learning situations with the learners preferred learning style and abilities (4 pg 1). Although the lesson plans are flexible, they also encourage the learner to explore new ways of learning.
In the following case study, we will explore situations that present a situation to an instructor and the challenges that the teacher will face to ensure the diversities of the students are met and all students are included in the path for success in the course.