Multiculturalism remains one of the crucial aspects of teaching in a diverse community, which is why teachers need to consider intercultural education as the means of eliminating their own cultural biases. Thus, educators can approach the needs of diverse learners from a place of sincere engagement in their progress and the willingness to support them (Hjerm et al., 2018). In her article, Aslantaş (2019) explains that intercultural education is the process of learning which allows a teacher to understand how a student can express various types of cultural differences and serves as a mediator in in enhancing intercultural communication.
Ethnocentrism is another vital concept that Aslantaş (2019) incorporates into her study. According to the author, ethnocentrism is the “attachment to an ethnic group” (Aslantaş, 2019, p. 320). Therefore, whether an educator favors students belonging to his or her own ethnicity, which is typically the case, or another ethnicity, ethnocentrism usually prevents from promoting diversity in the academic setting. At the same time, ethnocentrism can be seen as the attempt to cater to the needs of students of specific ethnic groups, thus, showing the ability to engage in a multicultural dialogue. Consequently, the purpose of the study conducted by Aslantaş (2019) is to examine the ways of using intercultural education to increase the ability of integrating ethnocentrism in education by focusing on culture-specific aspects of students’ learning process and using these observations to improve the curriculum. Therefore, ethnocentrism needs to be seen as an opportunity to create a more comfortable environment for learners.
According to the study outcomes, notable differences between the pre- and post-test groups have been identified. The outlined discrepancy can be attributed to the fact that the application of multicultural and ethnocentric strategies contributes to better learning (Abacioglu et al., 2020). The study by Aslantaş (2019) emphasizes the importance of ethnocentrism as a part of the focus on expanding the cultural competence for teachers. Namely, according to the results of the study, the performance for students in the groups where ethnocentrism and the promotion of the multicultural approach was significantly better than in the groups where the traditional approach toward promoting student engagement was used (Aslantaş, 2019). Therefore, the results of the study indicate the need to promote ethnocentrism and intercultural education as the gateway to students developing greater motivation rates and showing improved performance (Acquah & Commins, 2017). The ethnocentric approach will specifically help an educator to boost students’ cognitive ability by appealing to the notions, concepts, and constructs that are culturally familiar to them, thus addressing possible issues in building their knowledge.
Therefore, the study concludes that the understanding of diversity is vital for an educator. Personally, I have recently had diversity training that has helped me to understand how to approach the needs of ESL students and appeal to their cultural backgrounds so that they could remain motivated and interested in the learning process. Moreover, during the training in question, I have been warned about possible misunderstandings that may occur in a cross-cultural academic environment. In addition, the introduction of a multicultural perspective into the learning process will help to view specific aspects of it from students’ perspective, which, in turn, will enable an educator to locate the teaching tools that will contribute to an improved understanding of the subject. Specifically, the adoption of the guided discovery approach and the incorporation of the strategies such as peer instruction that will increase learners’ motivation will be possible once the multicultural perspective is integrated into the teaching process.
Abacioglu, C. S., Volman, M., & Fischer, A. H. (2020). Teachers’ multicultural attitudes and perspective taking abilities as factors in culturally responsive teaching. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(3), 736-752.
Acquah, E. O., & Commins, N. L. (2017). Methods that matter in addressing cultural diversity with teacher candidates. Teaching in Higher Education, 22(5), 501-518.
Aslantaş, S. (2019). The effect of intercultural education on the ethnocentrism levels of prospective teachers. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 11(4), 319-326.
Hjerm, M., Johansson Sevä, I., & Werner, L. (2018). How critical thinking, multicultural education and teacher qualification affect anti-immigrant attitudes. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 27(1), 42-59.