Effective Ways of Handling a Multi-Cultural Class

Cortez Deacetis

Academic institutions of learning are now turned into international communities with diverse students of varied and complex cultures. As a result, instructors must strive to put in structures to accommodate all the cultural diversities of students in his/her class. This is very important because educational institutions must be communities where cultural hybridism is encouraged to serve as a pilot community of peace and unity. However, instructors must be assisted with practical steps in knowing how to handle a class of students with varied cultures. This would prevent any form of culture abuse that may stir anger, chaos and mar the unity that should be the hallmark of every academic institution.

The instructor must provide a learning context that is friendly to all cultures. To be able to do this, the instructor must take time to study the different cultures of the students in his/her class. S/he must research and know more about the cultures of the students so that s/he wouldn’t offend any of the students via the instructional delivery, demeanor or attitude. For instance, when citing examples to illustrate points highlighted in lessons, the instructor must not use a particular ethnic society or culture and paint a bad image about them. It would even be better not to cite any example using a particular cultural group. Also, offensive language of particular cultural groups must be taken out of instructional materials such as reading materials to be given to students. In addition, the instructor must bridle the tongue so as not to say anything offensive. Students must notice from the instructor’s speech that s/he talks well of every culture and does not favor one culture over the others.

Another powerful way of dealing with a multi-cultural class is for the instructor to ensure cultural integration amongst students. When group works, assignments and presentations are given, the instructor must carefully pair students from the different cultural backgrounds in each group. This would promote cultural tolerance even amongst the students. More importantly, the students would learn how to relate respectfully to people of different cultures. These working groups would afford them the opportunity to see the good traits evident in members of different cultural groups. It would help them in correcting the wrong perceptions people have about people from specific cultural backgrounds.

Instructors must constantly vary individuals who act as facilitators in the class. This would erase any mental biases in the minds of the students. If possible, an instructor can show through his clothing that s/he accepts people of different cultures by wearing to class the noted attire of the particular cultural groups in his/her class. This is, in fact, a personal decision, though it is one of the sure means of preempting any cultural bias that may be in the minds of the students.

In addition, instructors must tolerate the values and norms held in high esteem by the different cultural groups in the class. In no way should the highly valued systems of a particular cultural group be mocked at, reduced as unimportant or negated against. Students who disrespect the cultures of their colleagues must be punished to serve as a warning for the others not to tread their steps. Expensive jokes that poke fun on the cultures of particular groups must be avoided and must not be entertained by the instructor in class discussions. This would ensure that all cultures are appraised and appreciated, bolstering respect for the diversified cultural groups while fostering unity in the class which are the required tools for the provision of an enabling environment for discharging effective teaching and learning activities.

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