People often think about cultural diversity in the classroom in terms of skin color or religious beliefs, but another very real cultural divide in the classroom is cultural learning style. If students come from oral traditions, teachers can engage them more effectively by using oral forms of communication. If students are on social media, teachers can require answers in 140 characters, just like a Tweet. Teachers can even encourage creative hashtags for events in history. This way of teaching can engage students in the formats with which they are already familiar.
Create Healthy Competition
When teachers make learning more social through games and competition, students pay better attention in order to win. This engages students and helps them work harder, which ultimately leads to better learning situations. When teachers pursue an online master’s degree in education, they may learn to build these games into their lesson plans. Using games and social-based learning helps students connect learning to their own lives.
Capitalize on Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
Many cultures are steeped in oral tradition; the brain is used to connecting seemingly unrelated bits of information into stories to aid memory. Stories and songs also help students connect new information to their previous experiences. When teachers ask students to create songs and stories from lesson material, they allow students to work in ways that feel familiar.
More of a Process than a Strategy
When teachers think about cultural responsiveness, many think of strategies to engage students of color. However Zaretta Hammond, author of the book Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, explains that teachers need to recognize the resources diverse students bring to the classroom. The process of acknowledging and appreciating cultural diversity in the classroom will transform a classroom into a learning community.
One of the more important lessons teachers can learn in an online master’s degree in education program is the range of different cultural expectations. For example, in Japan children learn that it is rude to look into an adult’s eyes. However, many teachers in the U.S. feel that eye contact shows respect. If teachers learn the basics of our cultural differences, then they can foster cultural diversity in the classroom to help students thrive in global environments.
Learn more about the LSUS online M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction program.
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