A diverse school is an excellent place for students to learn and grow. Diverse student populations infuse schools with a fantastic array of life experiences. Cultural variety enables students to learn about various aspects of life that differ from their own. In a multicultural environment, students become more culturally aware. Cultural sensitivity is a skill that is vital in an increasingly international environment.
The apparent benefits of a diverse school also result in challenges as well. Teachers often struggle to establish a classroom that is culturally sensitive and responsive to the requirements of their students.
Here are ways a teacher can create a culturally sensitive classroom for their students:
Get to know the students as individuals
Good teachers always invest the time and effort to get to know their students. Relationships are the foundation of excellent teaching in a classroom, which is even more evident when teaching in a culturally diverse school. Students have distinct skills and experiences that could enrich a classroom culture. Hence, teachers must take the time to understand what students value. Understanding students beyond their cultural identity would help in creating engaging lessons that could bridge cultural barriers.
A diverse curriculum
After a teacher has taken the time to understand their students, it would be relatively easier to create projects that link to their identities and specific personal interests. Teachers would be able to present culturally relevant, engaging lessons.
Be conscious of cultural biases
Teachers set the tone for a classroom. They are responsible for defining what is encouraged. They have to be aware of any biases that they carry into the school. Hence, teachers must progress in terms of their cultural sensitivity. Though such a reflection is usually uncomfortable, it is vital. Teachers must make honest efforts to rectify any cultural biases.
Seek support from community members
Teachers must collaborate with parents who can make a positive contribution to the overall learning outcomes. They must also use the resources of other stakeholders within the learning community to assist them in meeting the requirements of their diverse students' population.
Change in the role - Instructor to a facilitator
Students in a demanding classroom could display negative behaviors because of a feeling of social injustice in a culturally diverse class. Hence, sometimes teachers must act as a facilitator than an instructor. Supporting students to bring in their reading material and deliver presentations enables them to share ideas that are vital to their cultural and social perspectives.
Maintain high expectations for student performance
Culturally responsive instruction must be a student-centered philosophy. If a student has not completed an assignment, then a teacher must engage positively and mentor the student in achieving it. Similarly, students who perform well must be acknowledged.