Cultural and racial biases have been in existence for long periods. The biases are witnessed in almost all sectors of our societies. They are seen in our schools, justice, and healthcare, among other institutions. Looking back on my educative background, I acknowledge the endless influence teachers have in the lives of youthful individuals (Sleeter & Zavala, 2020). Moreover, I recognize the abilities, along with the information gained in the classroom, will be employed by the growing souls during their life. Therefore, teachers must be role models and examples to shape the minds of future citizens who embrace diversity and are not subjected to any cultural biases.
Once in my preschool teaching practice, I encountered a situation where I felt unsure of what to do because of cultural differences. I found out that other students started mocking an Asian-American student after one of the lunch breaks when she started chewing really loudly because she enjoyed her meal. Of course, I addressed the issue of mocking and ensured that it stopped. But also, I had to contact the child’s parents to inform them about the situation, and to my surprise, they explained that in their family, loud chewing is a sign of respect to the cook. Hence, I did not know how to answer them, afraid of being culturally incompetent.
After reading chapters 8 and 9, I understood how to communicate correctly in such situations. For example, I would hold a thematic lesson where students could learn about different cultures and share their own cultural customs and traditions (Gestwicki, 2015). In addition, I would conduct regular parent-teacher conferences to discuss how parents may teach children about being tolerant of other cultures (Cunningham, 2019). Hence, when designing lessons, I would use a transformative approach, so children can both learn and practice intercultural interactions. My culturally responsive philosophy is to be flexible and knowledgeable of my students and their backgrounds.
Cunningham, H. B. (2019). Responding to what we notice: International student teaching as a pathway to cultural responsiveness. Urban Education, 54(9), 1262-1289.
Gestwicki, C. (2015). Home, school, and community relations. Cengage Learning.
Sleeter, C. E., & Zavala, M. (2020). Transformative ethnic studies in schools: Curriculum, pedagogy, and research. Teachers College Press.