On our last module, we learned about a culturally-responsive education. The promotion of diversity is now a shared goal in many learning institutions all over the globe. While this is so, it is not easy to achieve this on a day-to-day level, inside classrooms.
Crushing marginalization – this should be every teacher’s goal. This means not looking down on someone who comes from a different race, religion, gender, class or even sexual orientation.
Students come to our classrooms with different experiences, backgrounds, cultures, traditions, and beliefs. With these varied traits, some students may feel that they do not belong in our class.
It is our objective to quash this thought. As teachers, we need to identify the differences and to create a learning environment that promotes inclusiveness.
For this, we need strategies and ample preparation. For starters, we need to be able to build on the knowledge that the students bring into our classroom. This is knowledge shaped by their community, families, culture, and their personal experiences.
Family pedagogy is crucial because it helps the student survive in life through norms and rule adherence. The families of our students must comprise a relevant chunk of our teaching curriculum. We can do this by getting in touch with the students’ families through email or a traditional letter.
Another aspect that we need to consider to teach in a diverse class is the role of culture in shaping learners. The multi-cultural setting must be a place of shared interpretations, norms, values and behaviors. Here, everyone is accepted for who he or she is.
Culture is complex so we need to discover the layers to each student. Being culturally competent means facing new challenges that could lead to offense, shock, and ultimate surprises. Again, as teachers, we need to prepare for those.
Self-reflection is a necessary technique for educators so that we can formulate classroom scenarios that will promote an inclusive ambiance.
We must also learn to communicate verbally and non-verbally. As teachers, most of us already know how to do the former. For non-verbal communication, though, we have to learn to read body signals, facial expressions, symbols, and implications.
Conflict resolution is also a part of every diverse classroom. Teachers must master this even when the results are not desirable at all times. In Eastern culture, it becomes doubly difficult to do this because we have been raised to quietly work things out.
Respect is also a part of every diverse classroom. Since the minority also need to feel welcome, we must be ready to adopt a global perspective. Our approaches must vary so that every learning style is satiated.
Help Teacher Nina
I particularly enjoyed creating a solution for Teacher Nina’s concern. Our shy would-be public school teacher is inexperienced but we designed approaches that would make her Tawi-Tawi classroom an engaging one.
For my submission, I developed a Jumpstart Program for our protagonist. I designed a week-long set of lessons for academic subjects. Though the core subjects were Math, English, Science, History, Values Education, and Music & Arts, I developed a culture-laden teaching scheme that highlighted the diversity of her classroom.
Bahasa Sama was the proposed teaching language and English where applicable. As diverse as her students, I also incorporated different teaching strategies which included meet-and-greet activities, an affordable excursion, lectures, class discussions, open fora, the use of visuals, group assignments, art appreciation, reporting, to name a few.
Teacher Nina was also able to use her learning and teaching journal, as did her students.
I had fun designing the week-long teaching program for Teacher Nina; and I am pretty certain that with the fun that she and her students had for the first week, most of them would be best friends as the weeks trudge on.
We also learned about SoTL or the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning where qualitative and quantitative assessments, self-reflection, diversity, and the reciprocity between learning and teaching are all apparent.
As a teacher, it is my duty to look for ways that my teaching strategies could improve as I also study about the way my students learn. Just imagine if all aspiring and practicing teachers would do their part in SoTL.
What would be the effects in our homes, the government, and society in general, if all teachers would take the time to analyze, reflect, interview, do surveys, conduct quasi-experiments, etc.?
C. (2013, August 16). Scholarship of Teaching and Learning vs. Scholarly Teaching. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eedxoj1CPnk
Davis, M. (2013, August 29). Preparing for Cultural Diversity: Resources for Teachers. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/preparing-cultural-diversity-resources-teachers
Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for Creating Inclusive, Learning-friendly Environments. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001375/137522e.pdf
Johnson, Y. P. (2006, February 02). Communicating Cross-Culturally: What Teachers Should Know. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Pratt-Johnson-CrossCultural.html
Project, H. F. (2003). How can we prepare teachers to work with culturally diverse students and their families? What skills should educators develop to do this successfully? Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://www.hfrp.org/family-involvement/fine-family-involvement-network-of-educators/member-insights/how-can-we-prepare-teachers-to-work-with-culturally-diverse-students-and-their-families-what-skills-should-educators-develop-to-do-this-successfully
Richards, H. V., Brown, A. F., & Forde, T. B. (n.d.). Addressing Diversity in Schools: Culturally Responsive PedagogyH. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://www.niusileadscape.org/docs/FINAL_PRODUCTS/NCCRESt/practitioner_briefs/%95%20TEMPLATE/DRAFTS/AUTHOR%20revisions/annablis%20pracbrief%20templates/Diversity_Brief_highres.pdf
Shore, M. S. (2017). Chapter 2. Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners (R. W. Cole, Ed.). Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107003/chapters/Diverse-Teaching-Strategies-for-Diverse-Learners.aspx