How can teachers educate multicultural citizens?

As educators, we will get a classroom filled with students with different cultures and beliefs. Multicultural education is any form of education / teaching that incorporates the histories, texts, values, beliefs, religion, race and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds. We will have classrooms filled with students from around the world, with a different outlook. Where ever this student came from, they have learned something there and picked up on different traditions.

Some of the students may speak a wide variety of languages, but English may not be one of them. Our goal as educators is that every student who sets foot into our classroom, will step out of the classroom with success. The first step to teaching a multicultural classroom, is to make each student feel safe and the desire to be there. By preventing prejudice and discrimination, the student will feel wanted and welcome. According to the National Association for Multicultural Education “multicultural education helps students develop positive self-image, offers students an equitable educational opportunity, allows multiple perspectives and ways of thinking, combats stereotypes and prejudicial behavior, and teaches students to critique society in the interest of social justice”. This will welcome every student of different cultures, to want to participate by creating the environment that will bring every child out of their shell.

Taking the time to know a student as an individual and not just a student can go a long way. This helps build trust, communication and a bond between the educator and the student. A student always knows when the educator cares about them and will go an extra step of the way to assure the educator is pleased with them. We only know the student as another member of the class at the beginning of the school year, but we have no idea as educators, what happens outside of the school doors. Sometimes school may give the student the only eight hours of safety, peace, food, comfort and company. The student may be coming from a household where they are exposed to abuse and isolation. In some cultures, men are male chauvinist and it is not viewed as inappropriate. Other cultures, women are not allowed to look men in the eyes or superiors, it is viewed as a sign of disrespect. In the Mexican- American culture, people are used to hugging, touching figures of authority. The way every person is different from one another, cultures also vary.

Teachers should always integrate multicultural education into their classroom and the school in general. I have known of schools who will want the students to accommodate to their curriculum, instead of slowly walking hand by hand with the student and slowly integrate them into the curriculum. Teachers should integrate a diverse reading list that includes different cultures. The educator should encourage other students to join and participate as they also learn new things.

“Discovering diversity takes creativity, extra effort, diligence, and courage on the teacher’s part” (Fish, 2015). Although every educator (or anyone involved in a child’s life), should take the extra step, not many do. It can be very challenging and new, but at the end it can be very rewarding. It may be new territory to many teachers, and that may be a reason why many avoid it. Avoiding the situation is depriving the student from their right to learning. The educator has to keep an open mind during the process and the student will meet them half way. Fish talks about how a teacher must be willing to take new risks and try a variety of new things even if they seem scary. These students that are coming to us are also taking that risk, and they may be afraid or intimidated by all the new information, the least we could do for them is help them.

Setting aside culture, teachers should know their students’ learning patterns. Educators should comprehend that different cultures respond different to information.

“Israeli children, for example, are taught to readily criticize an instructor who they feel is saying something that is incorrect while Vietnamese children will not say a word during class unless called upon to regurgitate memorized material (Jones 10). Students from Israel differ greatly from students from Vietnam, which may create a culture clash in the classroom. Vietnamese students will think the Israeli students are rude, brash, unnerving, and extremely obnoxious.” (Fish, 2015)

Educators should also educate the rest of the class and let them know that we all have different beliefs, but just because they believe a different thing means that they are wrong. The educator could even have the student introduce interesting facts about their culture, that they think the rest of the students in the class should know. This allows the student also to introduce themselves along with their culture if they would like too. This would be the student’s first step into confidence.

When it comes to teaching a multicultural classroom, teachers should always be welcoming of new ideas and allow the rest of the class to learn from them too. Having a classed filled with diversity only means the teacher must be creative and open minded!

 

References

Garcia, E. (n.d.). Multicultural Education in Your Classroom. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http://www.teachhub.com/multicultural-education-your-classroom

 

Fish, L. (2015). Building Blocks: The First Steps of Creating a Multicultural Classroom. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/buildingblocks.html

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4 thoughts on “How can teachers educate multicultural citizens?

  1. splummerblog says:

    Hi Leisdi,
    I really enjoyed your blog and you summarization of this weeks module it was very comprehensive. In your blog you mentioned that children may experience the only eight hours of peace they will get a day while they are at school. I think that is something that many people outside education and even a few inside the education system completely understand. Children need to feel safe and welcome when they come into the class. I think it is extremely easy for children to see is their teacher hold any type of preconceived bias about any ethnic or racial group. In my special education class we talked about if there should be a way teachers should be tested to see of they will bring an unwanted and sometimes even harmful bias into their classroom. While is may be impossible to judge that it is still an interesting point. If a teacher hold a harmful stance about a student or future student should they be allowed to be in a classrooms? While we can’t exactly limit the first amendment if it meant saving children from a toxic influence it may be worth it.
    You brought up how ethnic group see things differently as in the case of the Israeli and Vietnamese children. This really highlighted to me how within the classroom not only can a teacher bring preconceived notions of the world but students can also bring with them their ideas (or more than likely ideas they have heard expressed from their parents). I’m not sure what I’d do if a situation occurred where I had a severely biased student who learned those bias’s from their parents. In the case of the Israeli and Vietnamese students it is not all that harmful it is they way each ethnic group learned to interact with peers and teachers. But in the current state of our country I don’t know what I’d do if I had a classroom full of children who may have learned extremist views from their parents.
    I guess that just goes back to having a multicultural classroom filling the class with support, love, and compassion for one another and try to prevent bias from occurring in the class.
    Thank for your post, Skylar

    Liked by 1 person

    • leisdijimenez says:

      Thank you. I do believe it is hard to have a class filled with students of different cultures but I do believe it is interesting. Most children do get their beliefs from their parents and sometimes it is ignorance.

      Like

  2. studentsarahblog says:

    Our classrooms are going to be filled with students with diverse cultures, and it is important as teacher for us to incorporate this multicultural education in our classrooms. I agree with your statement that it is our jobs to make sure that every child walks out of our classroom as a success.Over the past three decades, the racial, ethnic and linguistic demographics of the K-12 student population in the United States have changed dramatically. In 1972 only 22 percent of all students in elementary and secondary public education were of racial/ethnic minority backgrounds. In 2003, racial/ethnic minority students accounted for 41 percent of total enrollment in U.S public schools (Villegas and Lucas 2007). This is a large number that will just continue to grow. If so many of our students are going to be of completely different cultural backgrounds it is important for us to know how to use these differences as a positive aspect in the classroom.

    In your post you talk about the importance of teachers taking risks in their classroom when it comes to multicultural education. I believe this is very important. As teachers we are constantly learning from our students as well and we have to be open to these new ideas. It may be difficult and scary sometimes incorporating things we are not familiar with in our classrooms but it is important to our students that we do so. By using things they are already familiar with and understand from home and their racial/ethnic background we can build off this information to teach new information in the classroom. We want our students to thrive in a variety of ways and understand that everyone’s culture and background is important and they should learn from one another as well.

    Villegas, A., & Lucas, T. (2017). The Culturally Responsive Teacher. Educational Leadership

    Liked by 1 person

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