Valuing cultural diversity in education
Although teachers have several roles, valuing diversity is one of the most important one. In a diverse country like America, both teachers and students are encultured through socialization, whereby one learns the roles, rules and behaviors for life. Cultural implications do affect classroom management in various ways. Teachers must value diversity at all levels in all their interactions with students and parents. They must also get to know the values, beliefs, and practices of the cultures of the people they deal with. For this they can use resources like newspapers, books, Internet and know more of the cultures of their students. Teachers also need to be aware of their own cultural perspectives and realize that it is not the universal norm nor is it the only right one. They need to be aware of their own knowledge and skills and its short comings. This awareness helps in the acquisition of intercultural skills and makes teachers more competent for culturally diverse setting. Teachers need to be aware of what could be considered as offending or inappropriate and avoid these in all their interactions. They must ensure that they avoid any bias or prejudice to any particular group in all their dealings.
The concept of culture is too broad and complex. Its scope covers everything learned and valued, all gained through personal interactions within his or her society. The culture of any social or ethnic group encompasses every aspect of an individual’s life and evolves with time in response to external or environmental influence. The article ‘Social learning begins at home’ by Elizabeth H. Brady discusses the association between family background and social behavior of children. Sociologists and social anthropologists have opined that since a majority of teachers come from middle class families with their respective values and beliefs, it does not align with that of a majority of children. Two-thirds of children come from socio-economic, ethnic, and racial factors different from that of teachers. Thus teachers are unable to perfectly predict what children have learned.
Elizabeth highlights that families have a role in the social behavior of children before they reach school. Family settings however also limits social learning which often make teachers remark, “But that is something home should teach”. The article notes that such teacher approach may be attributed to their own backgrounds. On the other hand when children master the values that teachers have, teachers perceive children to have excellent behaviors (Brady, 1950). This article discusses every aspect of family influence and teacher expectations on children. It concludes by saying that although we know that children have learned social behavior and carry several concerns, teachers do not know what these are. Teachers must try and find out these before scheduling the learning experience.
Different ways you can show your students and parents that you value diversity on all levels (ex: cultural, religious, gender, abilities, diversity between family structures and units, etc.)
Explain how you can communicate with families of various backgrounds and ways you can avoid potential pitfalls when communicating cross-culturally.
It is very essential for teachers to realize the pitfalls associated with cross-cultural communication. They must adopt cross-cultural competencies by primarily knowing one’s own culture and its influence over himself or herself. The teacher must also get to know the values, beliefs, and practices of the cultures of the people they deal with. For this they can use resources like newspapers, books, Internet and know more of the cultures of their students. They can also use cultural interpreters with whom they can ask questions or share concerns with regard to culture. It is necessary to understand what is appropriate or inappropriate in the cultures they deal with. Teachers must be aware of what could be considered as offending or inappropriate and avoid these in all their interactions. Teachers must be conscious that they do not send out any verbal or non verbal cues that can be seen as confronting or embarrassing.
How are you going to increase your overall cultural awareness?
How you can help counteract any bias or prejudice towards a particular group.
Bias is evident everywhere and hurts everyone, including those who perpetuate it. Countering bias require recognizing the attributes of bias, namely privilege, classism, or racism. While privilege is rooted in unearned assets and is invisible, classism is hard to see and racism could be individualized or institutionalized. Teachers need to understand their own values and strive to counteract any stereotypes or negative feelings they could have towards any particular culture, ethnic or language group. This can help to create a positive relationship with all students. Gender bias is another factor that is generally ignored but which have cumulative effect. Teachers can reduce gender bias by examining their pedagogical practices and ensuring there is no gender bias in them. They can also videotape the classes and review their interaction for any gender based bias (Scantlebury, 1969). Teachers must undertake efforts to also reduce any racial or ethnic prejudice. One of the best ways for improving race and ethnic relations is through positive equal status interactions. These include cooperative activities where people from different backgrounds contribute equally to the task at hand.
Support groups for single parents
http://singleparentsnetwork.com/community.html - A collection of resources for single parents
http://www.circleofmoms.com/single-moms - A community for single moms
http://www.singleparent411.org/ - The Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center
http://singleparents.about.com/od/support/u/single_parents_community.htm - Online single parent support community and forum
http://blackparentnetwork.ning.com/page/single-parents - A resource for black single parents
Brady, E.H (1950). Social learning begins at home. University of Chicago. p292-296
NDT Resource Center (2015). Appreciating and Valuing Diversity. Retrieved from https://www.nde-ed.org/TeachingResources/ClassroomTips/Diversity.htm
Scantlebury, (1969). Gender bias in teaching. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/gender-bias-in-teaching/