Cultural differences exist in every society in the world. These cultures manifest in various institutions such as industrial work places, business areas, and most important school institutions. Notable cultural differences included; the language difference the Americans and British speak English, the South Americans speak Spanish with those international students from Spain. There were French speaking students from native France as well as African countries e.g. Gambians and Cameroonians. Some cultures establish bureaucratic systems that are highly respected such that bypassing your superior is insubordination mostly in Latin American societies and African cultures. However, in the United States of America and Israel there typically no bureaucratic systems and professors interact freely with the students as equals. Most Asian cultures practice socialism and togetherness where a job is accomplished by many people while in America capitalism is cherished.
Cultural differences can impact significantly in a student’s education process. These cultural differences impact negatively in a student’s life. An African student whose cultural values are bureaucratic will find it hard relating with their seniors and teachers thus limiting the knowledge and learning process as compared to an American who interacts freely with his instructors. The language barrier between a teacher and the student proves a big task in communicating and assisting the students. This impacted negatively in their grades as compared to the English speaking students.
In lieu of this cultural diversity, strategies have been recommended to increase cross cultural awareness amongst teachers and students. These strategies include; encourage English email exchanges between teachers and students. Fostering guest speaker interviews with another student who has lived and studied abroad to talk about the experiences of living abroad to the freshmen students. This creates awareness of the culture expected in that country. Teachers are also encouraged to develop video projects which are vital in improving cross cultural communication as it improves the foreign student’s language proficiency and enables them to communicate with others. The schools should have an easily accessible website on the internet so that the foreign students can search on the internet for any information pertaining to the school.
Racist practices in our school institutions include, the disciplinary measures for African Americans were tougher than the whites with more African American students statistically getting expulsions and suspensions. Very few schools in upper class schools offer calculus, physics and algebra to African Americssan and Latinos. In extracurricular activities, sports such as ballet classes were mostly reserved for the whites with very few African American students participating. All these activities point out to a great racial gap in the schools. Very few African American physics scientist would graduate from the school and various talents are not exclusively nurtured and brought up. The inequality in disciplinary measures only serves to alienate the African American and the Latinos rather than rehabilitating them. The schools should correct their disciplinary systems and focus on rehabilitative approach rather than punitive. The schools should also come up with policies that reserve positions in various areas of study and in various recreational activities for the marginalized groups to give them a chance at pursuing their goals and dreams in life.
Prejudice is the negative or positive attitude towards certain groups of people. This leads to discriminations against this group. The general perception was that mentally ill students were prone to violence this stemming from the depiction in books and movies. The majority of the teaching staff was male thus highlighting gender discrimination as women were not hired to professional jobs. Religious based prejudices are also rife in the schools as individuals who don’t practice certain religion are locked out in preference of like-minded religious people.
The social class of a school influences the type education that a student receives. In communities that are economically depressed, accesses to vital resources for proper education are limited. The schools lack various amenities and are usually in a deplorable state. The environment is dirty with few washrooms to cater for the large number of students. The students’ attitude is also negative with majority. On the other hand, upper middle class schools boast of a good infrastructure conducive for learning and inspiring the students as well as the stuff. There is access to reading and research materials at the library and resource center. The school is well maintained at high standards of cleanliness and an air of competitiveness is inculcated in these students. There are many games facilities to nurture the various sporting ambitions of the students. The key difference is basically the availability of adequate funds and good management of these institutions.
The social class background definitely affects the education process of a child. Students who grew up in unskilled background are less likely to graduate to higher education as compared to those brought up by professional families due to lack motivation and mentorship. Students from lower social backgrounds also achieve lower grades in school as compared to those in upper middle class. Lower class student also lack materials necessary to enable them attain their goals in life as compared to the upper middle class background.
Boys and girls approach education differently for instance the boy child will be adventurous and interested in technology and scientific based subjects while the girl is wary and sharper in art and languages. Most teachers are completely unaware that they reinforce gender stereotyping in schools based on their responses and assignment of duties. They reward the boys upon giving the right answers while withholding praise to the girl child. They also assign manual house chores to girls while encouraging the boy to partake engineering tasks.
Students who have special needs should be identified and offered special attention to guide them through their education. Most district schools use early screening methods to identify special needs student in their childhood. Some schools use the child behavior checklist to aid in assessing behavior. The Stanford- Bennett intelligence scale, Vineland adaptive behavior scale and the Peabody developmental scale are parameters to identify such students. Teaching these exceptional students in an inclusive classroom can be very difficult and needs a plan by the teacher. I recommend that the teacher pays close attention to the student. Providing oral instructions is also vital in assisting those that cannot visualize. Special appraisal to the disabled child will encourage them even more. The technologies used in the classroom with exceptional students include use of calculators to aid those students with dyscalculia. Students who are slow learners can use their iPhones to record a lecture and listen to it afterwards. Students suffering from autism may use an iPod with their favorite music to calm them down and check their schedule.
Since most schools admit international students, then the issue of language minority proves a hurdle. Methods of approaching these groups of students by teachers include learning about the students’ language, use of simple language when teaching, writing eligibly, sharing tasks between language minority students and native speakers. There are laws protecting language minority students which include Civil Rights Act, title V (1964) states that no person shall be denied rights guaranteed by the federal state. Equal Education Opportunities Act (1974) guarantees that very citizen shall access equal education despite his race, gender or nationality. Some of the supreme courts laws include Lau vs. Nichols (1974) where a district is obliged to provide English learners with meaningful access to education.
When children are born, their expectations and experiences are shaped mainly by interaction with their parents and the society they come from. This society is mainly the religious denomination of their parents. For instance the Muslims are taught Sharia and the Quran at early ages. The Catholics also require the children to learn catechism at an early stage to cement their faith. As such, the future interactions of these children are largely shaped based on the religious inclinations of the parents. Parents thus expect the school to respect and uphold the faith of their children in teaching.
The course content has linked heavily with my personal experience at the various schools. The issue of racism was encountered and measures adopted to curb this vice in the respective school reflect largely from what the curriculum demanded. Approaches to multicultural student teaching greatly borrowed from the course content. The strategies on dealing with language minority students were borrowed from what I learnt during the school. Religious schisms were evident in a majority of the schools and measures to control these divisions were all implemented as per the course content. Personally this experience has taught me valuable lessons in appreciating the diversity of our cultures in the society.
I have established the vital role that the multicultural students play in the university and learnt new cultural practices for instance learning a foreign language to enable communication with the other students. Participating in various cultural festivities in the city also gave me a taste of the other cultures. I have also learnt to respect the religious practices of various people in an effort to establish lasting relations that will aid students in their education. By appreciating the varied background upbringing of different individuals, one is able to deal with these individuals and appreciate them.
Cross, L., Pullease, B., & Targoff, H. (2012). Demonstrating the New Florida Educator Accomplished Practices: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Effective Educator (2 ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.
Earley, P. M., Imig, D. G., & Michelli, N. M. (2011). Teacher Education Policy in the United States. New York: Taylor & Francis.