Negotiating Learner Differences

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Abstract

Including the voices of leading researchers on learner diversity from the University of Illinois, this learning module explores the ways in which education and educators negotiate differences among learners. Our main practical question is, how do we create learning environments in which learning experiences can be customized and calibrated to meet the precise needs of particular learners? To support this line of investigation, the learning module examines socio-cultural theories of difference, and considers alternative responses to these differences in educational settings-ranging from broad social, policy and institutional responses to specific pedagogical responses within classes of students. Mary Kalantzis begins the module with a discussion of the notions of learner diversity and transformation. James Anderson provides an overview of race and cultural diversity in US education. Bill Cope follows an exploration of key concepts for the identification of patterns of learner diversity. This is followed by an historical analysis of education in colonial America, then by Yoon Pak on Asian Americans. Taking an international perspective, Cameron McCarthy discusses post-colonialism. Finally, Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope explore the notion of productive diversity in learning.