February 4, 2024

Resources For Exposing Students to Diverse Perspectives in their Academic Discipline

Diversifying Course Materials

In today’s day and age, many controversial topics have become increasingly desensitized and belittled. This includes foundational values that have been disregarded and viewed as outdated and no longer reliable. But, who decides that?

It’s no surprise the curriculum has been long thought to disregard the need for diverse perspectives in academic discipline. This includes schools, colleges, universities – you name it. Although it is often overlooked, it is all the more important; students must be exposed to diverse perspectives in their educational journey. After all, today’s student is tomorrow’s leader, and we would want a fortified, knowledgeable leader, wouldn’t we?

What is a diverse perspective of academic discipline?

Academic discipline takes great mental strength and commitment to stick to which can often leave students narrow-minded by only thinking about school, studying, and reviewing their lectures. Students engaging with this kind of repetitive behavior for long periods are likely to become numb to the effects of that style of academic discipline which can leave them feeling burnt out and bored. This type of mindset is not the ideal academic mindset to foster as it prevents the student from seeking new learning opportunities to broaden their academic style of learning that will engage their brain in new ways.

A diverse perspective of academic discipline refrains from having one style of academic study habits, but rather, has multiple styles of academic study habits. It is through this diversity of cognitive style, study habits, and intellectual outlook that students are truly able to optimally study and learn. Every student is different and comes from a disciplinary background which means that each student has their own style of learning that allows them to study well. Academic discipline is not a one-shoe-fits-all kind of technique, because everyone learns at their own pace and their style. This is similar to how children from the same genetic parents grow up in the same family environment and yet they all have their characteristics that make them unique and different from their siblings. Similarly, students are taught in a standard academic institution, yet every student finds an academic learning style that best suits them and allows them to flourish. Some students benefit from study groups, reviewing the lecture slides, reading their lecture notes, making their notes, or re-watching the lecture again. These are examples of diverse perspectives in an academic discipline.

A picture of Tablet

Using the Tablet's note-taking feature to jot down important information

Source: Ransom Patterson

What are the benefits of having a diverse perspective of academic discipline?

For students to holistically succeed in school, they need to embrace a diverse perspective that allows diversity in their cognitive style, academic study habits, and intellectual outlook. In doing so, students will develop a dynamic intellectual mindset that will help them succeed in their education. Their brain will not grow used to one particular way of academic discipline which will help their brain to stay sharp and focused. Research even shows higher productivity, innovation, and creativity among students who had diverse working groups. This is the kind of educational outcome all students strive to seek as academics should have a positive impact on their academic journey.

Being exposed to these diverse perspectives of academic discipline allows students to learn more about themselves and examine their perspective on their study habits. It also allows them to try new techniques that will overcome the struggle of boredom that the mind reaches when it has done one task the same way far too many times. In doing so, students will be able to find new ways in which they can study and eliminate the ways that don't seem to work for them. Overall, this kind of diverse perspective of academic discipline pushes students to be more creative in their approach and learn new learning strategies. This creates a new capacity for academic tolerance that is beneficial for students to acquire since some of them will remain in academic institutions for several years to come. Having learned the diversity of academic discipline will allow students to carry these habits with them forward which will allow them to succeed.

A picture of two people discussing

The instructor is using a PC and teaching materials to explain concepts to the students


What role do teachers play?

Students are first exposed to the most standardized perspective of academic discipline which is the learning environment within a classroom. The teacher teaches the lesson as the students are motivated to take control of their learning in that classroom climate. The teacher has the toughest task of ensuring all the student voices are heard and that everyone is participating. The teacher must make sure there are no imbalances in student participation because to learn, students have to engage with the content they are learning in some way, shape, and form to succeed. Teachers take into account that every student is different and not all will participate at the same frequency or with the same level of understanding of the content. Kind and encouraging reinforcements from a teacher will strongly mold students into considering different strategies for mastering inclusive teaching perspectives.

Teachers can incorporate diverse perspectives into the course content they are teaching so that not all the readings are by male authors, but rather, various ethnic and racial perspectives are included in-class learning. Another common approach teachers can take is avoiding the representation of a particular type of student which can lead to discouragement. In doing so, the teacher has effortlessly created an inclusive classroom climate where all students are encouraged to participate, despite their various backgrounds.

A picture of a lesson in front of the blackboard

The teacher is earnestly explaining a problem on the blackboard

Digital resources in an academic discipline

It’s no surprise that the digital world has been expanding over the past few years. COVID-19 struck, and all of a sudden students were doing their schoolwork digitally. Classes were taught through ZOOM, assignments were submitted electronically, and studying was done through various online learning forms such as watching educational videos and practicing questions from scientifically established sites. Even students in universities began taking their notes on their iPads as the professor taught the lesson. This explosive growth of the internet has led educational institutions to encompass networked learning into teaching by embedding games such as Kahoot into class lessons, SMART boards to teach, and iClickers to remotely select the answer to the question the teacher asks. These are all variable resources that contribute a rich element to academic discipline.

A picture of the teacher instructing together

The instructor closely guides the child, explaining a problem while showing it on the PC
Source: Bajworksi

Diverse resources in academic discipline

Active student learners are curious and eager to learn because they are motivated to overcome difficulty on their own through the exploration of various resources that help to expand their academic discipline. Study groups are a great resource that allows the success of friendship and social goals. This effective learning strategy allows different voices to be shared which allows for diverse learning across all angles on the subject. This deeper foundational basis of learning engages students mentally, emotionally, socially, and physically. Students can also engage with educational videos which are popular online. Professionals from various scientific based backgrounds provide content to help aspiring students by breaking down complex concepts into simple easy-to-understand terms. Independent study is a valuable spin on academic discipline and students will commonly engage with lecture reading, lecture note-taking, repetition of information out loud to memorize content, finding acronyms to summarize information through a jingle and so much more.

A picture of a woman working on a computer

A woman working on a computer

Source: Queen Mary University of London

Work Cited