In a globalized world like today, the number of students from different cultures and backgrounds is constantly increasing. It is very important to be aware of the skills that teachers today must have when approaching a culturally diverse classroom. Many studies have addressed this topic.
On the contrast those who believe that those students that English is not their first language and thus they have to learn everything, do not have that advantage (Mitchell, 3). While many studies have shown how students from a minority group do not perform academically well at school, still a real difference can be made by teachers who recognize that there needs to be a connection between the curriculum, the instructions and the students' home environment.
If teachers recognize this, and become culturally responsive applying pedagogies that acknowledge cultural differences, students from these groups improve their academic results (Mitchell, 9). "Teachers bridge the gaps between the school and home cultures" (Mitchell, 13), and they are able to move between two or more cultures.
PEDAGOGY AND SHORT-TERM STUDENT TEACHING ABROAD
Lupi and Turner (2013) studied the effect of short-term international student teaching experience after their graduation. The study showed that the experience abroad gave teachers the skills and tools required to teach in a more globalized classroom, with multicultural students. By understanding other cultures, they are then more prepared to understand the learning needs within a culturally diverse classroom (Lupi and Turner, 47). Results show that the benefits were not only in terms of understanding different cultures but also at the knowledge, curriculum and pedagogical skills level; including their own personal growth as teachers (Lupi and Turner, 50).
CULTURAL ADAPTATION OF NON-NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKING COLLEGE FACULTY
It is essential that both students and teachers are aware of the benefits and challenges that there are in a multicultural classroom. The challenges that international teachers face are not only about language but also their lack of training about the new culture. Students can also misinterpret or have biased perceptions when their teachers are from abroad. Ultimately it is the faculty member that needs "to bridge the cultural gap and students could not be expected to do this" (Liu and Jernigan, 506). Teachers become in this way intermediates between cultures (Liu and Jernigan, 513).
INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED TEACHERS
International educated teachers are able to become cultural mediators. They can become agents of change in school communities (Block, 86). Usually they understand two or more cultures, and they play a very important role in school communities integrating immigrants.
They are able to change the way in which cultural differences are perceived. They are able to show alternative models and norms rather than the local dominant one.
They can help educational institutions to change their values and orientations to break with stereotypes (Block, 98).
TEACHING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS TO A MULTICULTURAL CLASSROOM
Becoming aware of language and cultural barriers in the classroom is important for teachers, especially in an International Relations (IR) class, as there can be potential biases that can affect the teaching and learning process. Classrooms today represent the globalized world in which we live in, and instructors should prepare their students for this world (Bertrand and Lee, 128).
Culture affects how we learn and how we teach, because we think, believe and behave according to our culture. Some students will have language barriers, but teachers must also realize that there are other barriers such as the different ways in which students understand the world events.
In classrooms where almost half of the students are foreigners, prior experiences and world events can have a great impact in the way students approach IR learning (Bertrand and Lee, 131). It is important that instructors spend some time knowing their students and their background to be better informed and modify their teaching methodology.
All the studies seem to come to the conclusion that now a days teachers face multicultural classrooms due to our globalized world. This has its challenges from language barriers to biased perceptions. The more aware teachers become of different cultures, and the more they acknowledge the richness of their students culture the better approach they can have and apply appropriate methodologies to improve their students’ academic performance. Teachers need to aim to be mediators and bridge the gap between cultures.
Julia, Bertrand and Ji-Young, Lee. "Teaching International Relations to a Multicultural Classroom." International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 24.1. (2012).
Laura, Mitchell. “Becoming Culturally Responsive Teachers in Today's Diverse Classroom.” Department of Urban Education, (2009).
Lee Anne, Block. "Re-Positioning: Internationally Educated Teachers in Manitoba School Communities." Canadial Journal of Education, 35.3. (2012).
Marsha, Lupi and Kelly, Turner. "Beyond graduation: The sustainability of new pedagogy and other lessons learned during a short-term student teaching abroad." SRATE Journal, 22.2. (2013).
Yingliang, Liu and Justin, Jernigan. "Cultural Adaptation of NNES (Non-native English Speaking) College Faculty: A Cross-Disciplinary Study". US-China Education Review. (2012).