Teaching a multicultural class is such a daunting task. You need to be more understanding and patient especially since conflicts may arise at any time. You also have to be more creative in giving your lessons so that none of the students will be left out. However, being in a multicultural class is also a learning experience. You get to know more about the culture and practices of your students. It can be rewarding if you have successfully overcome the challenges.
What Administrators Need To Do
Aside from the teachers, administrators play a crucial part in bridging cultural difference in a multicultural class. They need to come up with a curriculum that is relevant to all students. It must have a culturally responsive pedagogy. They must also carefully select what textbooks to use and what exercises are suitable. Sometimes, the “standard” curriculum dictates the use of textbooks that are culturally insensitive due to some historical accounts. The lessons must also provide an avenue for the students to see the relevance of their own culture and history in the environment where they are now. Administrators must also consult with other stakeholders in the educational process in determining what is best for students across cultures.
Tips for Teachers
Teachers in a multicultural class have a lot of responsibilities. Before even planning the lesson, there are certain things that a teacher must do first. Topping the list is changing stereotypes against certain cultures. It is inevitable for some teachers to think negatively against cultures they are not familiar with. If you are one of them, you need to start knowing more about the cultures of your students. Take time to read about their traditions. You also have to condition yourself that in order to make teaching more effective, you have to rely on the academic abilities of your students without judging them based on their cultural backgrounds.
It is also important to have certain rules followed inside the classroom in order for everyone to maintain respect towards each other. Consider how students follow rules in their respective countries. There are those who are not used to following strict class rules at all. These students need to be talked to personally for them to understand the difference in their new environment.
What To Do Inside the Classroom
Once the class starts, expect it to be chaotic at first. There will be language issues. There will be bullies who are insensitive to their classmates who look so foreign to them. Therefore, as a teacher, you need to closely monitor your students. You need to explain to them how they differ in terms of culture. You also need to explain the taboos in certain cultures. There are certain pointing and nodding gestures that are culturally unacceptable in some cultures. There are certain types of clothing that are required for women in some cultures that have to be respected. There are also some religious practices that must be considered such as Moslems praying five times a day or observing the season of Ramadan.
To top it all, you need to make sure that you understand the learning styles of your students. In some cultures, students are not used to individual tasks. They are usually acquainted with group tasks in all types of activities. This is why answering exams on their own is not an easy task for them. Some teachers might label it as cheating immediately without understanding their students. There are also those who will be left out in terms of language learning and they need full assistance.
Teaching a multicultural class can be fun and rewarding if you enjoy learning new traditions and practices every day.