The presented paper proposes methods for teachers to become more culturally sensitive since there are more and more students with different cultural backgrounds in various aspects of their lives. Therefore, teachers must be properly trained in order to keep up with the students’ population diversity. Teachers must get to know every student as an individual in order to receive knowledge about this person’s culture and, after that, integrate this information into the class. There are also many effective ways to teach in a more engaging and progressive way, including the cultural diversity aspect.
Curriculum in Education in the United States
In the United States, it is crucial for teachers to be able to work with a diverse student population since there are a plethora of students from various backgrounds, including abilities, culture, socioeconomic class, and religion, to name a few. Teachers’ quality is a school-based factor that is frequently employed in studies of academic achievement effects. Why certain kids do not do as well as their peers can be explained by the relationship between teacher quality and student accomplishments; when culturally sensitive practices are integrated into classroom learning, they can provide significant benefits, such as increasing kids’ sense of self-identity in the classroom, promoting equity and inclusion, getting pupils interested in the lesson material, and assisting with critical thinking. I would propose several ways that can allow conducting in-service training on cultural differences in the student environment.
Knowing Students Closer
Firstly, teachers must become more culturally literate; they should make an effort to become familiar with their students’ language, values, social conventions, and learning styles. In this way, Olson (2016) presents how to use the third space to teach pupils from various cultures. The third space can be defined as in-between or the space between traditional Western forms of knowledge and instruction and indigenous cultures’ ways of knowing and learning. Nevertheless, it is not enough to use a culturally responsive curriculum only. To succeed under these new cultural norms, every member of the class must become bicultural or bi-dialectical (Olson, 2016). Thus, teachers and students must also collaborate to create cultural norms that are representative of all kids in their classroom.
Trust is The Key
Secondly, I believe that the key to succeeding in any aspect of teaching, including becoming more culturally sensitive, is building trustful relationships with students. Teachers must work hard to earn and maintain their pupils’ trust. Teachers can use trusting relationships to push pupils to higher cognitive levels and encourage them to take chances they might not otherwise take. The importance of teacher-student trust is critical since it improves students’ learning experiences. Knowing and pronouncing students’ names correctly, working with them to discover their family’s background, and sharing learned information with others are all elements of a trusting relationship (Finkelstein, 2016). Building trust with students begins with listening. Listening assists the teacher in comprehending what the student has said and gives value to the relationship’s beginning. When it comes to creating trust with kids, getting to know their cultures and customs, as well as their families, is crucial.
Thirdly, each student should receive feedback that emphasizes a positive aspect of their work, is specific to the academic purpose, and instructs them on how to remedy faults to enhance their work quality. Teachers must decide how to respond to students’ faults in the classroom. The response could range from just ignoring the error to using it as a springboard for whole-class discussions (Hollie, 2019). When students make a mistake, teachers provide feedback on how to improve. This is an especially intriguing teaching technique to research. Teachers that use culturally responsive tactics will examine the quality of feedback they give students and consider the student’s culture when doing so.
In order to find out how teachers feel concerning “cultural diversity” in the classroom, teachers might be asked the following questions:
- Have you learned enough about your students’ cultural backgrounds?
- Do you feel confident in providing examples about culture?
- Are you ready to incorporate cultural education practices?
Those survey questions and others can help in indicating how teachers feel about culturally diverse environments among their students. It also helps in understanding if they are ready to learn and bring something new to the classroom and become more culturally sensitive toward students.
Strategies to Become More Culturally Sensitive
Each Student as an Individual
There are also several effective strategies for teachers to become more culturally sensitive. One of them is activating the prior knowledge of learners. Students bring a variety of experiences to the classroom. Teachers should encourage students to contribute to group discussions by drawing on existing knowledge, which serves as an anchor for learning (Wanless & Crawfort, 2017). One example is taking a different approach to the literature that is taught in classrooms. It can also be effective in encouraging learners to use their cultural capital to their advantage. Because not all pupils come from the same family, it is critical to give those who don’t have a chance to speak up.
Relevant Language and Media
Moreover, using relevant language in order for students to better understand the material might have a positive influence on the teaching process in multicultural classrooms. This method might go beyond the subject of class to deliver relatable content. It is possible to hold students’ attention in any subject by using their language to create understanding before going on to academic diction (Wanless & Crawfort, 2017). It is also important to remember to address as many students as possible and present to them their cultural perspectives. In this way, students feel their value and learn more about each other during class. When students’ cultures and languages are included in the curriculum, they digest information more effectively. Partially meet this need by using media, such as books and movies, that positively reflect a variety of cultures and are relevant to the syllabus. It’s not difficult to find possibilities using databases like IMDB or American Literature. In addition, using a variety of media sources should also help to increase engagement.
Teachers’ own bias
Eventually, the teacher’s prejudice is a common problem in educational settings. It can be seen that all the time in classrooms where a student thinks the teacher to be unjust or where grading processes differ from one student to the next (Goldhaber et al., 2019). This perception may or may not be correct, and our prejudices may impact educational judgments. Recognizing that all people have prejudices will not make them go away, but it may help teachers make better judgments and respect differences from diverse perspectives so that inequity is not perpetuated.
Hollie, S. (2019). Branding Culturally Relevant Teaching: A Call for Remixes. Teacher Education Quarterly, 46(4), 31-52. Web.
Olson, B. (2016). Tensions in the Third Space: Examining the Digital Visual Culture of Teenagers. Visual Arts Research, 42(1), 8-21.
Wanless, S., & Crawford, P. (2016). Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom. YC Young Children, 71(2), 8-15. Web.
Goldhaber, D., Theobald, R., & Tien, C. (2019). Why we need a diverse teacher workforce. The Phi Delta Kappan, 100(5), 25-30. Web.
Finkelstein, C. (2016). Thank you so much for the truth! The Phi Delta Kappan, 97(7), 19-24. Web.