Diversity is the differences in the characteristics between different groups, while culture refers to shared characteristics of a group of people Given the diversity of schools, students and teachers need to be aware of this and how it will effect education. In an ethnically diverse school, one of the barriers for students is the language barrier. One factor of this is the dominant language spoken at home. This language barrier can have a negative impact on school age children. Children may enter school with little or no knowledge of the English language. This in turn leads to difficulty understanding the teacher and other students and can lead to frustration. We all have been shaped and molded through our experiences in life giving us a way of viewing the world, which is unique and unlike anyone else's. In some ways this can hinder us from learning about other cultures and situations we are not used to, causing us to view stereotypical images we have about others. On the other hand, these views are very important to us since they have been molded through the experiences which identify us and make us who we are.
When incorporating a Multicultural curriculum into the classroom it is important to first make sure that students understand their culture and where they come from. Teachers can apply the "Social Reconstruction" approach into the classroom, which would focus on the community culture and its environment. Students need to become exposed to other ethnic groups and develop a deeper sense of multicultural understanding. This can be accomplished by participating in the local community, either by planned field trips or simply coming together to create a community recycling project.
When dealing with diversity as a teacher not only must you be aware of others’ differences, but also your own and how this impacts your students. Individuals bring their own attitudes, beliefs, experiences, and skills with them. Especially in teaching, a teacher brings their beliefs that may influence their teaching. A teacher may bring perceptions of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds that may be flawed. They may misinterpret and prohibit certain cultural behaviors of a particular group limiting the students learning opportunities simply because the teacher does not understand them. This will limit the teacher’s abilities to effectively teach all students. Teachers can adjust delivery of information and the curriculum to fit the needs of the students in their school. Curriculum should be bias free and content should be reviewed to make sure this is accomplished. Teachers should deliver information in a variety of ways to fit the student’s individual learning styles. The idea of the “tossed salad” is the focus in education. University programs and individuals need to face the challenge in order to fit the needs of a diverse student population.