Many schools in the U.S have embraced cultural diversity in the classroom. Due to the increasingly diverse and multicultural society, it is essential for teachers to encompass culturally responsive instruction in the classroom at all levels that is, elementary school, middle school, and high school. Culture is the context around which we build our identity, and it greatly influences the expectations people have, perspectives as well as the interaction with others in the world. Therefore, every individual has a culture, and some people have identities drawn from multiple cultures. As such, cultural diversity does not only relate to ethnic and race but also encompasses sexual orientation, language background, religion, gender as well as economic status. Again, assuming a culturally responsive approach that promotes awareness and inclusion regarding multicultural education is beneficial to all students (Kodama). As such, students do not only broaden their scope of thinking but also encourages acceptance as well as preparing students to face the diverse world. The paper will provide an extensive argument of the impact of culturally diverse classrooms towards widening the student's scope of thinking.
In a bid to foster cultural awareness, educators need to focus on all the aspects of culture that are likely to influence the attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of the students. Ethnicity is referred to as culture built from one's nationality. All immigrant groups exhibit ethnic differences and understanding then helps know how to address the interests and opinions of the students. Religion is another aspect of culture that should be considered by teachers. Some behaviors of students are influenced by their religious ways whereby some do not worship at all. Again, pressures brought about by the economic situation of a student's family can affect his/her learning. Students experiencing a harsh financial status may tend to fail in class because they can hardly find a place or time to have personal studies. With the various controversies surrounding the rise of the LGBTQ population in the world today, a student's sexual orientation or gender identity can trigger stress in the classroom. Every student is not expected to speak all the languages, and therefore, language barriers should not hinder learning. Teachers ought to encourage students to respect and appreciate those who speak English as a second language (Han).
Cultural diversity in the classroom is beneficial to the students in many ways. One of them is promoting student growth and reflection, whereby in the class, students get to learn about each other's experiences, perspectives, and challenges that some of them have encountered (Kodama). As such, they get an opportunity to reflect on the information and reflect on it later on. Again, teachers also conduct productive conversations about cultural diversity, thus encouraging personal growth. Students are likely to ask themselves questions like what would be their reaction if they were in similar situations. Another question may be whether one is fair by being judgmental because of believing in some racial stereotypes. Therefore, engaging in open-ended discussions regarding cultural diversity fosters personal growth in each student.
Again, culturally diverse classrooms bring about open-mindedness. Students are usually at the development stage, and therefore if they do not have exposure, they tend to be confined in their thoughts and opinions. Consequently, they need to meet others from different backgrounds with different cultures. By engaging in respectful conversations with one another, they experience personal development to the exposure to varying perspectives. As such, they can confidently approach the world as they are conversant with people cultures and are aware that everyone has his/her own opinion regarding various situations (Kodama).
Today one cannot avoid diversity because despite having it in classrooms, it is also present at workplaces. As such, culturally diverse classrooms help to prepare the students for diversity at the workplace (Kodama). In the corporate world, an employee is expected to behave accordingly since ignorance and intolerance are not allowed in all situations, even those regarding cultural diversity. Therefore, by exposing students to diversity at a young age is essential as they get to learn how to understand and cope up with employees from all walks of life at the workplace.
As human beings, it is essential to be mindful of how we treat one another despite our differences. Having diverse classrooms where teachers facilitate quality conversations makes students mindful and tolerant. Children who grow up around people of different ethnicities, races or cultures are in most cases willing to learn and embrace a new culture or new perspective (Pusey). As such, they get to understand that not everyone is the same as them.
Other than broadening the students' minds, cultural diversity in classrooms makes students feel unique despite being part of a group (Kodama). Therefore, teachers should explore different cultures ranging from ethnic to immediate family levels as well as celebrate them. As such, the students get to understand that although we live in the same world, every individual exhibits unique characteristics and have different experiences making every one unique in his/her way.
Again, education is not only meant to teach students how to become successful in future through making money and fame but also helps to shape them. Therefore, by being conversant with cultural differences in school, they learn to appreciate and respect people's differences. As such, these students have greater chances of becoming successful in life not only as business-oriented individuals but also human beings who portray kindness, love, and empathy to others (Kodama).
However, attending a school that has students with different cultures where teachers do not enhance cultural awareness does not mean that these students will automatically learn to appreciate one another's differences. As such, there are various ways that teachers can ensure the classroom curriculum and environment are receptive to the rising cultural diversity in society. One of them is that the teachers should take time to understand each student's background, learning methods, and their characteristics (Kodama). By showing interest in learning about the students and their cultures, the teachers build trust and develop a healthy student-teacher relationship that makes the students feel appreciated.
Communication is essential for the achievement of a culturally aware and inclusive classroom. For that reason, teachers should maintain consistent contact with the students by setting face-to-face meetings to follow up on their progress in the class. Again, these discussions allow them to give ideas about what they feel should be included in the classroom regarding cultural diversity (McIntyre et al.). As such, the teachers offer guidance on what they need to improve depending on their individual needs.
Using an authoritative approach to teach students is not the best mode of teaching, especially in culturally diverse classrooms. Therefore, teachers should give students freedom as it helps them approach the topics from their perspectives whereby they read and present individual materials that are in line with the fundamental lesson (Kodama). As such, teachers should facilitate healthy discussions between diverse perspectives. Besides, group assignments can also be incorporated to allow students to work together, exposing them to various views of solving issues.
The teacher's lesson plan should incorporate diversity. There are several strategies of integrating cultural awareness and diversity into a lesson which may be based on the course you are teaching and the cultures represented in the classroom. The teacher can use real examples so that students can relate thus fostering cultural awareness. Again, teachers can invite diverse speakers to portray their perspectives and real-life context to different subjects (McIntyre et al.). Besides, during history lessons, the teacher can provide information about other states in the world instead of being confined to the history and culture of the United States.
In the event of exploring the students' cultural aspects, the teachers should uphold sensitivity (McIntyre et al.). Having learned the various learning styles of the learners, the teacher can use them to design a lesson plan and ensure they all involved during the lessons. As such, students feel valued and included by being given the platform to learn in their ways and interact with others. Additionally, teachers can practice cultural sensitivity by encouraging students to research about their cultural and ethnic backgrounds as well as celebrating them and those of others. Therefore, the students learn how to be respectful when talking about other cultures and can differentiate between appropriation and cultural celebration.
However, to some extent, culturally diverse classrooms may fail to improve the mindset of students due to several shortcomings. One of them is that teachers may have a hard time trying to understand the cultural differences of some students who have imperfect mastery of the language which the teacher is using to teach (Peters-Davis and Shultz). As such, these students may understand incomplete information given by the teacher, thus developing fear and lacking the vocabulary to ask detailed questions. Therefore, minority groups in such a school will not benefit from the culturally diverse classrooms and will instead feel isolated.
Another challenge is that the teacher may lack culturally responsive strategies (Peters-Davis and Shultz). Students from different cultures have different expectations, behavioral patterns, values, and perceptions which call for teacher preparedness on how to handle issues and disagreements that may arise from those differences. Besides, cultural beliefs are deeply rooted but are not often discussed. Therefore, some students may not be conversant with their cultural rules unless those rules are violated. As such, teachers can break those rules or prompt students to break them without knowhow, thus making the students uncomfortable. Furthermore, a teacher's culture can impact resistance by students if that teacher shares the same background with many of his/her students. Those students may, at times, disagree with the teacher regarding their culture. Another instance is when the culture of the teacher is not represented by any student in the class. As such, the students will have a notion that the teacher has no idea about their culture and may tend to resist the multicultural approach.
Moreover, teachers work hand in hand with parents in trying to shape the future of students. However, teachers of multicultural classes may have a hard time when communicating to parents of the students. Parents may have varying expectations regarding the importance of including cultural diversity in the lesson. As such, some may be again the teacher's idea and therefore tend to influence their children. For that reason, such a student may not respect other student's differences but instead humiliate them based on the stereotypes in society. Another challenge regarding parents, maybe failure to understand the language the teacher is using to teach the students (Peters-Davis and Shultz). As such, the teacher may not be able to inform the parent of the incorporation of cultural diversity in the class.
When structuring the lesson plan, the teacher ought to include cultural diversity. However, it becomes problematic if they have to squeeze out other lessons to accommodate a broader range of cultural and historical views. Therefore, students...
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Culturally Responsive Instruction in U.S Schools: Essential for a Diverse Society. (2023, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/culturally-responsive-instruction-in-us-schools-essential-for-a-diverse-society
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