Almost all leading nations are a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures in the present age. In this increasingly multicultural and diverse society, teachers must create a culturally inclusive environment in the class.
In this aspect, your goal as an educator would be to ensure that you don’t neglect a significant part of your student’s identity. Hence, to promote acceptance and understanding of different cultures and increase cultural diversity in class, you can take the following steps.
1. Get to Know Your Students
Try to create a friendly environment in the class. A friendly environment is one where each person feels comfortable sharing their opinions and thoughts. But to ensure that, you will need to openly communicate with the students and create an accepting and non-judgmental space.
Moreover, try to take some time to communicate with children and get to know their interests. Ask questions about the traditions, cultures, and values of every individual. Appreciate every student’s choice and preference. It will build trust between you and the students.
When you treat students with respect, they will feel valued, encouraging them to communicate with their peers comfortably and showing the same level of respect for them. Remember that good communication is the key to a culturally acquainted and inclusive classroom.
However, if you feel unsure about how to approach these aspects, try pursuing higher studies in urban education. Urban education is a discipline that focuses on methods of teaching in a densely and diversely populated area and enrolling in a MA in Urban Education program can teach you the appropriate skills.
2. Introduce Diverse Perspectives
Cultural intolerance has roots in ignorance of different perspectives. When you are teaching a diverse classroom, you must ensure that each student, regardless of their race, culture, or ethnicity is familiar with diverse perspectives.
For this purpose, teachers can enlighten their students about diversity by introducing historical figures and diverse authors. You can incorporate these materials into the course syllabus.
3. Maintain Consistent Communication
Cultural diversity is attainable only when the teacher tries to maintain consistent communication. Scheduling one-on-one meetings often will let the teacher know whether students feel included in the class or not. It will assist the teacher in proposing solutions to issues faced by each individual.
When students intercommunicate on an individual basis, the teacher will know about the progress of every student in the class. Participation in classroom conversation will help determine which student is active or dull.
4. Acknowledge and Admire Every Student
The teacher should ask students to research their culture. By knowing more details about their ethnicity, students will feel proud and have logic and reasons for following a particular practice. For this purpose, teachers can give assignments to their students to research other cultures as well.
Students will learn about how they should describe differences maturely and respectfully. They will develop an empathetic attitude towards the disparities their peers face. Discussing different cultures and traditions in class is also a good idea. It will open the minds of every individual and will allow them to think beyond their cultural boundaries.
5. Utilize a Variety of Teaching Strategies
To foster a diverse classroom, the teacher should understand that every student has different learning needs. Some students learn better when given written lessons, while others understand auditory lectures better.
The teacher should observe students’ reviews by conducting group activities and one-on-one interactions. A diverse classroom environment will be acquired when teachers address every issue students encounter
It is advisable to add four core learning styles: reading and writing, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic, to enhance the students’ overall learning experience. It is called the VARK Model. It may not be possible to offer kinesthetic learning in class every day, but it can be done once a week in the form of trips, experiments, and more.
6. Address Inequality
Inequality at school refers to discrimination between the students. Discrimination can be due to different reasons, including but not limited to poverty, gender, religion, status, disability, color, and ethnicity.
Teachers should avoid language that encourages existing stereotypes, for instance, ‘boys will be boys.’ They should take action instantly when a student makes problematic comments or perform inappropriate actions. If students create groups based on economic status or racial differences, instructors should forbid them and encourage acceptance.
7. Communicate with Family and Community
Try to engage the community and families in the academic lives of students. Always support students’ multicultural and bicultural identity to make families more comfortable. Encourage parents to speak their first language with children at home. You can maintain interaction with the community by researching students’ cultures and visiting the towns where they live.
Establishing an emotional connection and nurturing awareness of diverse cultures in the classroom can thwart students from developing biases later in life. They will understand the challenges faced by people of distinct cultures and will sympathize with them.
When students are exposed to different thoughts, opinions, and cultural backgrounds, they feel encouraged to be open-minded in the future. They feel proud of their country, family, culture, traditions, and values and try to accomplish the hopes their parents associate with them. When they enter practical life, they will not hesitate to work with people from different social groups and flourish optimistically.