What Do We Need to Know About Cultural Sensitivity?
A multicultural world urgently needs a culturally sensitive educational system. In most countries around, schools are filled with students who come from different cultures. The variety of cultural backgrounds of students in schools is beneficial for the academic community as it contributes to their different experiences that provide all students with the opportunity to learn about different aspects of life.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Dainaliz Feliberty H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Benefits of Multicultural Classes
Students in a multicultural environment learn to be culturally aware and to develop a sense of identity as individuals. Even though a diverse school is a wonderful place for students to learn and grow, it’s also important to construct a classroom environment that is culturally sensitive and responsive to the needs of the students. The teachers must foster the importance of cultural awareness in the classroom because it permits students to comprehend the differences between cultures, helps the improvement of communication skills and encourages the students to adapt their approaches for a positive outcome in cross-cultural interactions.
A culturally aware classroom can widen a student’s perspectives about the differences of other cultures. Every individual carries within themselves their culture, as it is part of who we are as humans. Students will execute actions and express themselves according to the culture they come from, which can differ from others. Therefore, teachers must create a classroom environment where the students can share, appreciate and respect each other’s culture. Promoting intercultural communication sensitivity and multiculturalism is a possible measure to overcome ethnocentrism and reduce conflicts among intergroup interactions (Dong, 1995). In such a manner, the students are brought together to respect their differences embracing who they are as a group.
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Also, building a high level of cultural sensitivity can help students to feel comfortable communicating with others from different cultural backgrounds. Multicultural variety in a classroom should not represent an obstacle, it should represent a great opportunity for the teacher, students and the school community to grow culturally and enrich their day to day pedagogical practices. Effective communication can help students who are not native English speakers not to feel marginalized or pressured into abandoning their native language in favor of English. In a culturally responsive classroom, diversity of language is celebrated, and the level of instructional materials provided to non-native speakers is tailored to their level of English fluency (Lynch, 2015).
Also, reinforcing cultural sensitivity can help students to modify the way they reach out to people, and communicate their thoughts for a positive outcome when they interact with other people from different cultures. At some point in life, the student will experience the diversity of the outside world. To facilitate students’ personal and professional success in a diverse environment, the students must adapt their thoughts and approaches for a positive outcome in cross-cultural interactions. In this manner, students can widen their perspective, while still retaining their values.
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In conclusion, a multicultural school needs a sensitive educational system that is welcoming and sensitive to the needs of the students. Teachers are responsible for building a culturally aware classroom where students can share their knowledge about cultures and respect the differences they might encounter with other students that come from other cultural backgrounds. Also, it’s important to make the students feel welcomed and establish healthy communication in the classroom. Considering many students’ first luggage isn’t English, it’s essential to make them feel welcomed and show interest in their language and encourage them to speak in English comfortably without disregarding their native language. Additionally, students will eventually have an encounter with the diverse world, therefore, to help them be success
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