Cultural Diversity Presentation Essay
Cultural diversity in schools is important in equipping children with the knowledge of different cultures and helps them learn how to relate and embrace cultural differences and eliminate the barriers of Sexism, racism and prejudice (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). Most importantly, it prepares them for citizenship in a multicultural democracy. The American public school system is founded upon the principle that all people, regardless of their special circumstances or cultures, are entitled to free and quality education to enable them become productive, contributing citizens in the society (Little, 2014). Modern-day education has taken up that vision to create global citizens. Students therefore, need to learn how to interact and function in a diverse multicultural, multiethnic environment. Public schools are becoming culturally diverse as different countries in the world embrace cultural and ethnic diversity (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). This has been helpful in assisting the students develop an understanding of the outlook of children from different backgrounds and with the diversity, there have been demands to find the effective ways through which students can learn to get along with each other and succeed academically.
Educators need to recognize the uniqueness of all communities, languages and cultures (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). They need to respect themselves and learners as individuals with culturally defined identities. With increasing multicultural classrooms teachers need to work towards valuing, respecting and celebrating the students’ unique strengths and in doing so create equitable classroom communities. Educators must put aside personal, traditional and professional boundaries in order to attain social justice and equity. Students should be taught mainstream dialogue that would help them learn language and also have their home and street codes honored (Little, 2014). Teachers must incorporate the student’s knowledge and experiences into classroom practice. They need to model cultural and socially responsible practices for students to engage in. These are among the reasons why schools need to foster an atmosphere of cultural inclusion.
Schools have come up with experiential classroom activities that foster a caring, safe and respectful culturally sensitive learning environment. These activities require parent’s participation to encourage the students and teachers. Teachers, who work closely with the parents, form a positive relationship, which proves beneficial to the student (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). These activities honor families’ concerns and hopes for their children. Studies by the National Center for Education Statistics show that students from families with significant parental involvement showed 30 percent higher success rates than those from families with no parental involvement (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). This is measured by performances in the general papers assessments, student’s school attendance, social skills and general behavior. Student’s achievements increased with direct proposition with the extent of parental engagement in the program. There is great importance in organizing special events that raise awareness about diversity in school. These events, however, should not be a onetime deal but should be incorporated into the fabric of the school. It is also important for multicultural students to witness more multicultural parents working in their schools since they will serve as role models of involvement, commitment and accomplishment.
Certain factors increase parent’s engagement such as offering transport to and from meeting; offering snacks and recruiting volunteers to assist with childcare service on-site (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). These eliminates barriers for attendance and also takes care of competing priorities and parent’s busy schedules and gives them time to concentrate on the activities. Parents also need to understand on the importance of their involvement in the meetings. The school should strengthen school staff capacity to work well with families. The purpose of this meeting is to assist families use specific monitoring and communication strategies to support their children’s learning. It also provides families with resources and training to support early literacy. It fosters a mindset of acceptance and appreciation of Cross-cultural diversity creating a safe, welcoming environment for cross-cultural training.
An activity involving the parents, teachers and students, would be a cultural fair (Ricken, Terc, & Ayres, 2006). Schools should create a day of activities that are devoted to learning about different cultures. The fair celebrates the school’s diverse roots and talents. Cultural fair teaches about customs in other countries and different people around the world. Students get the opportunity to grow with regards to their tolerance and sensitivity to other people’s cultural needs and beliefs. Activities that are included in the cultural fair are ones that promote cultural awareness (Ricken, Terc, & Ayres, 2006). These include samples of food from around the world, costumes from around the world, assemblies that provide specific art form, music, or dance demonstration and keynote speakers. Students should be encouraged to wear ethnic attires. When deciding on the speakers, teachers should survey their colleges, senior students or any person within the local community who may wish to participate as a speaker. Parents, grandparents, and other relatives of the students should also be considered. Teachers must ensure that the speakers know exactly what to present. It should be in the way of conveying information to the students. Speakers need to elaborate on specific points related to the customs and food, country’s location and the language. Invite the speakers to bring in various visuals such as items made in the country, samples of money and attire worn by the people that allow students to see differences. There can also be virtual field trip through videos and live cameras. Students are allowed to take basic notes to share in the discussion with parents later. It is also important to give students an opportunity to share what they have learned with the other students (Ricken, Terc, & Ayres, 2006). Older students can be included in preparing cultural talks for younger students. The students can research information about other countries through the Internet or surveying people and relatives who have lived or visited a different country. They can also be creative and create a museum of words and phrases, pictures and collage representing the country they are presenting. Lots of learning can be obtained from this activity as both the teachers and parents gain new knowledge of the different cultures in existence.
Schools can also hold a diversity week (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). These are events that foster and teach respect for persons of different races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, classes and individuals with disabilities. The aim of this event would be to make everyone feel appreciated, respected and their opinions highly valued. It forms an environment of equality. The first few days of the week could include parent teacher meetings to discuss the progress of the students. Parents will be free to review the performances of their children and discuss on the problems the children are undergoing in adaptation to the school’s environment. Teachers could give insights to parents on how best to assist with coping and performances of their children (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). This would include assisting them with their homework, motivating them and rewarding them on a good performance and also ensuring that they spend time teaching them English by minimizing ethnic language in their homes. This would prove beneficial to English learners. They should also ensure they teach their children how to relate with others and how to respect and appreciate the differences in other students. The meeting sets up an opportunity to set goals for the children and the school general performance. Parents can also be encouraged to volunteer to be part of the school PTA. Parents can also ask questions regarding school’s operation. They can share the obstacles they face and seek assistance. This meeting is helpful in strengthening the parent teacher relationship (Little, 2014). The third day would involve children’s presence in the meeting and here, general rules would be laid down. Students would be asked to share on the challenges they face and solutions to the problems would be identified (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). The fourth and final day of the week should be fun days where the students, parents and teachers will engage in activities, in honor of diversity. This should include representation from all members. The disabled group could perform plays that show, disability is not inability. Cultural diversity would be represented through cultural attire, cultural foods and also cultural teachings. Parent’s contribution on their different cultural practices would be necessary. An informal outdoor gathering with music under the stars would create a mood for relation and bonding as they listen to music and dances from all cultures. These activities serve the purpose to learn ‘we are all alike’ and the need to respect the ways we are different.
Another such activity to engage in would be personal home visits by teachers (Ricken, Terc, & Ayres, 2006). This would give the teacher a deeper view of the environment of the children. Teachers can identify families in need of help in assimilating into the educational culture and other challenges the parents and children are facing and try to assist them directly (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). This ensures that teachers are able to engage even with the parents that fail to attend school meetings. The educators also have a chance to communicate with both parents and even the siblings in order to gather accurate findings. Teachers also attain information that parents are not comfortable giving at large parent meetings. They can also set up meetings at the local community center or library where multicultural parent orientation can occur. The meeting should be at a place where they all feel comfortable. Teachers should Identifying issues that are of importance to non-English speakers in order draw them to meetings. Classes on Basic English words and strategies to improve homework activities and home reading for their children can be offered (Govaris & Kaldi, 2010). The meeting also offers a chance to learn behaviors that are uniquely American like the need for students to participate in classroom discussions and also the importance of maintaining eye contact with teachers, which could be contrary to other cultures. Teachers can also engage the parents constantly by asking them to assist the children with assignments. Such assignments could include asking children to draw the flag of their country of origin with the help of parents (Little, 2014). Ask parents to give recipes of their cultural foods and publish a cookbook for the school or having children dress up laminated paper doll with the help of parents. The purpose of this activity is to encourage the parents to support the children and let them know they are not alone.
There is a continued disparity between the cultural roots of English educators and their students. Teachers therefore need to involve themselves in projects that enable them to study their cultural lives as well as those of their students .This way, they will recognize their confines and cause their victory in crossing personal boundaries appreciated. Cultural awareness is important for students. Children must learn about the diversities existing throughout the world in order for them to accept and recognize differences among other people (Ricken, Terc, & Ayres, 2006). Whether there is diverse multicultural population among the student in a school or not, teachers need to promote interest among students by arranging cultural activities dedicated to learning about people throughout the world. This would involve studying culture, learning language and visiting students and their families.
Ricken, R., Terc, M., & Ayres, I. (2006). The elementary school principal’s calendar: A month-by-month planner for the school year. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.
Govaris, C., & Kaldi, S. (2010). The educational challenge of cultural diversity in the international context. s.l.: Waxmann Verlag.
Little, D. G. (2014). Managing diversity in education: Languages, policies, pedagogies. Bristol; Buffalo : Multilingual Matters.