Multiculturalism and Diversity as
Why could diversity be an issue
for group learning?
• Limit communication
• Raise anxiety
• Create subgroups with cross purposes
systems of variables
• Group members
• Communication patterns
• Class Norms
• Shared Goals
• Leadership skills
Learning groups Characteristics
• An identified leader
• Shared goals and outcomes
• Agreed upon processes for achieving goals
Groups work best when...
• Members own the process and goals
• Effective leaders use the resources of the
group members wisely
Enter.. Diversity in the group
• Social class (SES) • Weight
• Ethnicity and Race • Age
• Gender • Religious practices
• Achievement level • Language: Regional
• Sexual orientation accents and linguistic
• Disability diversity
What constrains group process?
• Low self concept of group members
• Social discomfort
What students need to handle
• Cognitive skills
• Affective skills
• Students need the knowledge base to
understand cultural, gender, class, and other
• Students must be emotionally prepared for
change and willing to accept differences in
• Nonverbal behaviors
– Closeness, eye contact, directness in speech
– Asking questions to understand differences
– Listening skills
– Willingness to confront non-productive bias
Who’s got the Power?
• In groups, Power affects the dynamics
• Who has the power in learning groups?
– Group leader
– Majority of the members
What to do
• Understand your own cultural and gender
• Encourage students to fully understand their
identity and the worldview of their culture.
• Establish a shared worldview (common
• Practice cognitive, affective and behavioral
• Recognize who has the power.