Research consistently shows that students learn more from students who are different than themselves than they do from students who are similar to themselves. Learning about different cultures and interacting with people from diverse cultural groups supplies the brain with more varied routes or pathways through which to connect (learn) new ideas. Experiencing diversity also “stretches” the brain beyond its normal “comfort zone” by pushing it to compare, contrast, and connect something unfamiliar to something it already knows. This added expenditure of mental energy results in the brain forming deeper and more durable neurological connections. Simply stated: We learn more deeply from diversity than we do from similarity or familiarity. In contrast, when we restrict the diversity of people with whom we interact (out of habit or prejudice), we limit the breadth and depth of our learning.
What does “diversity” mean to you?
What prior experiences have affected your current viewpoints or attitudes about diversity?
What would you say have been the major influences and turning points in your life?
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