Creating a Plan for a Culturally Diverse Classroom
Over the last few decades, the demographics of the United States of America have changed drastically. America has been become a multicultural society. The change of the demographics calls for professionals and paraprofessionals in the education system to promote cultural diversity in the education system in order to accommodate all the ethnic groups. To create an environment that recognizes and appreciates all students from the diverse ethnic backgrounds is a continous process, which takes time and effort (Miller, 2009). This paper focuses on how learning institutions and teachers can create a cultural diversity in class by creating a learning atmosphere of tolerance acceptance and caring. In addition, the paper gives insight on how a teacher can encourage discussions on issues such as poverty and other issues affecting the contemporary society. Finally, it focuses on how to develop a culturally balanced bulletin board focusing on a multicultural celebration in the school.
In a classroom which comprises students that are from different ethnicity, race and religious affiliations—Christianity, Jews, Muslim, Buddhism and Hinduism—teachers should ensure that they create an environment where each student feels accepted. The process of developing a plan for culturally diverse classroom is intricate and requires the school administration to consider many factors before coming up with an all-inclusive curriculum.
The school should have a mission, which incorporates all cultural groups. In addition, the school should ensure all teachers get diversity training with an aim of fostering an atmosphere that enhances tolerance, caring, and acceptance of all students. The curricula should cover culture and all cultural diversity factors which will increase awareness among the student fraternity and thus create a learning atmosphere that fosters a caring, accepting and tolerating attitude among the students as well as the teachers. The administration in collaboration with some cultural diversity experts should come up with an action plan, which would ensure that the curriculum and extra curriculum recognize, and accommodates students from different ethnic, religious, social economic, physical, and mental abilities.
A teacher should focus on ensuring that each cultural group is represented in the classroom (Miller, 2009). They should avoid bias, which would portray one ethnic or religious group as dominant over the others because this could cause discrimination on minority groups. The teacher should use positive examples from the various ethnic and religious groups when teaching and encourage students representing the ethnic group to share their experiences with the rest of the class. The teacher should also encourage each student to appreciate his or her religious and ethnic background because if one does not respect his or her culture, others cannot learn to respect his or her cultural background. Through using diverse examples from the different religious and cultural groups each students will feel accepted in classroom. Encouraging students to share their cultural and religious experiences in class will encourage students from other cultural groups to relate different cultural groups (Melendez, 2009). Through sharing and learning about the different religious and cultural groups students will learn to care for other students despite their cultural backgrounds.
Creating a culturally diverse environment in a classroom begins with establishing structures, which enable students from different cultural backgrounds to interact (Landsman, 2011). In addition, the teachers should create an environment where all the students feel that their culture is important and respected. This helps to build equality among other student’s thus promoting mutual respect and collaboration. The teacher should take an initiative where he or she has maps or charts, which show the geographical location or give history of the different ethnic groups in the classroom. To foster mutual respect, the teacher should emphasize that all students learn about the history of each ethnic group represented in the class.
According to Mitchell (2008) teachers view diversity in classrooms as a wealth of knowledge that will lead to new learning. Teachers should take advantage of cultural diversity in a classroom because it brings a wealth of knowledge, which is of significant importance if the teacher wants to encourage participatory and experiential learning.
The teacher should divide the students into groups, which have students from different social economic background, religion ethnicity, and social class. The teacher should then give each a group a contemporary issue affecting the society such as poverty and unequal distribution of resources between the noble and less influential groups in the society. The topics the teacher selects should promote learning through interaction between the various ethnic groups in the classroom (Landsman, 2011).
The topics of research should focus on how they influence and reflect on each student depending on his on her cultural background. The topics of research should also focus on bringing out the cultural values of each ethnic group. The teacher should guide the research and encourage the students to focus on the strengths of each cultural group rather than the weakness. The teacher should ensure that each student participates by ensuring his or her culture is represented in the research. When the students gain knowledge and insight into the history and values of the other students culture they will learn how to accept, tolerate, and care about students from a culture other than their own. By allowing each student to represent his or her culture through the research topic will make all culture to feel accepted and worthy thus promoting an atmosphere of equality between cultures in the classroom.
A multicultural celebration would help students in a multi culture school to represent their culture. According to Felix (2011), encouraging students to take part in multicultural celebrations is fundamental in helping the students to understand and accept their own culture and culture of other students. December is the perfect month for teachers to commence multicultural lessons through incorporating holiday celebrations into the teaching lesson. December presents a season where students are exited about the holiday celebrations, which vary depending on the students ethnic and regions background.
Whether the students celebrate Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah or Kwanza the teacher should take advantage of the holiday excitement to encourage students to learn about a different culture. The teacher should develop a chart, which includes the various December holiday celebrations, which represents the entire ethnic and religious groups in the class. The chart should contain a brief description about rituals and celebration under the various cultural backgrounds. The teachers should post the chart on the student’s bulletin board. The students should write an essay on December holiday celebration and rituals and present their essays in class after reopening school. The teacher should encourage students to ask questions and seek clarification from other students on their December holiday celebrations thus promoting learning.
Felix, E. E. (2011).Modern Approach to Classroom Discipline and Management. USA: Xlibris Corporation Press.
Landsman, J. (2011). White Teachers / Diverse Classrooms: Creating Inclusive Schools, Building on Students' Diversity, and Providing True Educational Equity USA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Melendez, W. J. (2009).Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms: Issues, Concepts, and Strategies. USA: Cengage Learning.
Miller, J. (2009). Culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms: new dilemmas for teachers. New York: Multilingual Matters
Mitchell, L, A. (2008).Becoming culturally responsive teachers in today's diverse classrooms. USA: ProQuest.