A diverse classroom gives students an opportunity to learn about each other’s culture and form a universal perception of how others contribute to humanity. New teachers can also receive in depth experience in engaging with a multicultural classroom.
When I started teaching my classroom, I did not have the privilege of learning about different cultures right away. That occurred about six or seven years into my teaching career. Once it happened, I was delighted to receive an in depth understanding of Asian culture.
In a diverse classroom, a teacher will have students from different backgrounds, including white, black, African, Asian, Hispanic, India, Middle Eastern as well as other distinctive cultures. Such a classroom will be an exciting place to step into each school day.
America is a country of diverse groups of people It is in our best interest to teach our children how to dwell in harmony with others who do not look like us. Getting to know such people begins with understanding their culture and livelihood.
The Wisdom of Teaching Diversity
A classroom teacher must be wise when dealing with a diverse classroom. Many situations can arise that might cause conflict among students. Teachers must know enough about multi-culturism to know what to do when questions need to be answered.
In a classroom filled with students who are unfamiliar with each other, a teacher’s priority is to make everyone feel safe and comfortable. Celebrating the different culture types are the beginning of educating students about one another’s cultures.
A teacher’s goal is to not only to create in each student a sense of safety, but to also give each student a sense of pride and appreciation of his or her own culture.
Tools and Tips for Teaching Diversity
Many methods and tools are available for teachers to develop a diversity consciousness in which each student knows about the other cultures and norms. Such methods and tools include:
- Worksheets and Materials
- Read Aloud with cultural oriented characters
- Student CNN News stories
- Videos, DVDs
- Wall Posters
- Learning Centers
- Student culture presentations
- Cultural Crossword puzzles
- Field Trips
- Discussions about diversity
- Learning of Cultural Rituals
- Note taking about someone’s else’s culture
Keeping all students appreciative of their cultures will goa long way in creating diverse classroom in which understanding, respect, peace, and excitement.
The above tools and materials provide students and teachers with a variety of opportunities to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of other cultures.
Advantages of a Diverse Classroom
When students understand others, who do not look or live like them, conflicts are reduced. Appreciation of others are increased. For many student’s life becomes more exciting when they understand the culture of their fellow classmates, especially in the grades k-6.
Higher grade levels should already have an appreciation of the different cultures within their school environment.
Students must come to understand that we all are enriched by one another’s culture.
Disadvantages of a Diverse Classroom
Sometimes it takes an entire school year for some students to understand diverse cultures sitting next to them. They have a hard time accepting the language barriers, rituals, and dress codes of their classmates.
What they have been taught negatively or what they have seen contrary to positivity can result in such resistance.
Although it is a challenge for some students to accept diversity, the educator’s job is to continue to instill an appreciation for diversity among students.
A Sense of Unity
An extraordinarily successful diverse classroom should thrive with a common understanding that all are unique in their own cultures. Everyone should be excited about this. When the principle or other teachers walk into the classroom, they should detect a strong unity among students.
Diversity is here to stay. It is the gift of diversity that has made America what it is today.