Today’s classrooms are becoming more and more diverse with students that have disabilities and those that come from different cultures. It is important for educators to ensure that their teaching strategies are appropriate for all of the children in their classroom. When it comes to the classroom there can be many cultural challenges that educators will have to address to ensure that all students are growing and developing appropriately. Educators need to make sure that they are capable of addressing each of their students’ needs individually in order for the students to be able to succeed.
Educators must be able to define and address any cultural challenges in the classroom in order for each and every one of their students to be successful. It is important for educators to be able to identify challenges they may have when using different teaching strategies to ensure students are getting the appropriate education. Effective teaching strategies help students to learn. Since not all children learn in the same ways it is important to be flexible and willing to change a strategy so that it meets everyone’s needs.
Some educators may be unsure of their ability to reach and teach culturally diverse children. Some may even express reservations about their ability to teach students that are from a culture that is different from their own (Chisholm, 1994). One challenge involved with ensuring that teaching strategies are appropriate for culturally diverse children is effective communication. Educators must assess their students to see what level of development they are at. Communicating with parents is a great way to learn more about the students as individuals and their cultural background.
Teachers can communicate with parents to find out what their goals for their child are, find out more about what their personality is like and even some of their favorite things to do. When educators understand more about each child individually then they can apply the appropriate teaching strategies. If the children seem uninterested in an assignment, the educator can adjust it to get them more interested and willing to complete the assignment. Overcoming stereotyping is a challenge educators can encounter when it comes to ensuring that teaching strategies are appropriate for culturally diverse children.
Some educators may compare one child to another child that comes from the same cultural background and use the same teaching strategy. One way to overcome this is to make sure that educators know each of the students individually instead of comparing one to another or relying on stereotyping. “To truly engage students, we must reach out to them in ways that are culturally and linguistically responsive and appropriate, and we must examine the cultural assumptions and stereotypes we bring into the classroom that may hinder interconnectedness.” (Teaching Tolerance, 1991)
Once they know more about each of the students then they can avoid stereotyping and adjust their teaching strategy to meet the individual needs of the students in the classroom. Another challenge educator’s encounter is the cultural gap that is between students and teachers. It is important for educators to understand that some culturally diverse children may need things explained to them in a different way for them to gain an understanding.
If educators took the time to learn about the various cultures that are present in their school then they could possibly bridge the cultural gap between them and their students. Educators can learn more about their students culture by asking their students questions and getting to their level in order to gain an understanding of their cultures. Once this is accomplished they will have a better understanding on which teaching strategies to use with the students. People will often use nonverbal communication through behaviors like facial expressions, body language, gestures, etc.
These behaviors are viewed as a sociological framework called symbolic interactionism. Children that come from a different culture will more than likely have different ways of communicating nonverbally. For example, in some cultures it is considered to be disrespectful to look someone in the eye when they are talking to you. Most teachers expect you to look at them when they are talking to you so that they can see that you are paying attention and understand. There are certain behaviors that are associated with different cultures that are considered to be appropriate.
“Although different cultures may share similar goals for children, the methods and practices that are implemented to instill those values in children may differ dramatically. ” (Bojcyk, 2012, sec. 2. 2) For example, some cultures believe that children should be seen but not heard. Children that come from a culture that believes that may be more withdrawn and quiet in the classroom. Piaget’s preoperational stage involves children from two years old to seven years old. Children in this stage can mentally represent events and objects and engage in symbolic play.
They are only able to focus on one aspect of a problem and their thoughts and communications are usually egocentric (Recker, 1999). Children from culturally diverse backgrounds may mentally represent objects and events differently than the other children. It is important for educators to provide children with other views that may conflict with their own in order for them to gain an understanding of others views. Doing this can help them in their development and is an important step in increasing their cognitive development.
When educators provide their students with opportunities to work with others, the students will encounter different views of the other students and learn to look at things from someone else’s point of view. “Although individuals within a pluralistic society must learn to accept their own ethnic identity and to become comfortable with it, they must also learn to function effectively within other ethnic cultures and to respond positively to individuals who belong to other ethnic groups.
They also need to learn how to interact with members of outside groups and how to resolve conflicts with them. ” (Banks, 2006) Providing children with activities or assignments that allow them to work together with students from different cultural backgrounds can help in teaching them conflict resolution. At the same time they learn to see things from other points of view and this can help increase their cognitive development and ensure they are successful in school.
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