VALUING DIVERSITY
Team led by Elisabeth Wernerson Johnson, Sweden
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Socio-economic Background

People in adult education come from a variety of backgrounds. The wealth of differences is an asset and reflects everyday life. However, differences in education and experiences can sometimes lead to envy, bitterness and irritation. For example, The standard of technical and electronic equipment is different from home to home since they are extremely expensive. What might seem 'normal' to you might not be the case for your students.

Case 1

Ulrika, 24, has grown up in a home, which is clearly affluent. She is still a 'spoilt child'. Her parents regularly give her money and she does not need any study loans. She has made her circumstances clear to the class. She has a new mobile phone and she makes frequent use of it, sometimes even in the lessons and this especially irritates Jenny, who is also 24 years old.

Jenny struggles both with her finances and her study results. Jenny clearly shows her irritation at Ulrika and a tension between them develops. Initially, when it was time for group work they chose to work together but now Jenny has had a talk with you and she does not want to work with Ulrika any more.

Reflections

  • Have you thought of meeting with them outside the classroom? Should you talk to them about the issue together or separately?
  • How would you advice a colleague in a similar situation?
  • Is it important that they work together?

Case 2

During the course in Civics a lot of information has to be collected from the Internet. The school can not supply enough computers so the students are asked to continue looking for information on their own, so you suggest they complete their work at home.

Ruth, a single mother with two little sons, reacts angrily to your decision to let students do such work at home and attacks your bad planning.

After the lessons you realize with embarrassment that she is the only one in the group who does not have a computer.

Reflections

  • Can I help her out in finding a computer; in school or in the library or somewhere else?
  • Is it possible she can find the information in books or newspapers?
  • Can she work together with a group mate who has got a computer?

View and download/print the role play card

 

   
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