The days of traditional classrooms has changed drastically in the past few decades. Students from identical socioeconomic, cultural and religious views sitting quietly in age-based rows, hands folded quietly, lips sealed unless spoken to has been transformed into a globally diverse, highly informed student population. Today’s students come to the classroom from around the globe, bringing with them views of the world that may be different from those held by the local community, making it important that students learn to respect, understand and appreciate the variety of ways people perceive.
The diversity present in today’s classrooms, workplaces and neighborhoods increases the need for tolerance, courtesy and respect for the rights of others. Without the courtesy and respect that comes from recognizing that there are many perspectives, outlooks and belief systems, conflict and even violence are more likely.
Just as each family has its own culture, moral code and traditions, today’s classrooms contain a wide variety of learning styles, social skills and academic abilities. Orchestrating this diverse group into a cohesive whole that can work together is no mean trick. Classroom management policies, teaching methods and lesson plans must all be customized to satisfy the needs, circumstances and personalities of culturally diverse teachers and students. Children who are taught to understand and accept that other people may feel differently about things are better able to handle themselves in a wider range of social and professional situations.
Children who enter today’s classroom expecting everyone to view the world the way they do are likely to experience social and academic difficulties. These children are also more likely to be involved with bullying. Bully is often the result of poor social skills, a sense of inadequacy and insufficient knowledge about other people’s views. By actively teaching students to appreciate the unique characteristics of each culture and of individuals, students experience a richer perspective themselves.
Cultural learning styles
Recent brain research has demonstrated that different people learn in different ways. Teachers can create lesson plans that help students understand their own learning style and those of others. Small groups work can be conducted by placing a variety of learning styles within each group. This way, students are able to benefit from seeing how other students approach assignments and solve problems, expanding the abilities of everyone involved.
It is unrealistic to expect everyone to view the world the same way. Failing to address that limitation can have long-term emotional, intellectual, social and professional ramifications. Teaching children to understand and appreciate other perspectives enriches them and makes them more successful and amiable as adults.