Effective Teaching for the Multicultural Classroom

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America is considered to be a melting pot because of the many people who have immigrated in search of a better life. Immigrants have brought with them their own unique cultures. Different genders, poverty and students at risk are some examples. When working with the public especially children within a school system, it is imperative to become somewhat knowledgeable of different cultural beliefs and practices in order to help these children adjust to the traditional classroom. Some children’s cultural backgrounds can have a negative impact on them within a modern classroom. Some obstacles that stand in the way of these children are culture shock, cultural mismatch; gender roles, socioeconomic status and events leading to the choice to prematurely end educational services are involved with these. Defining and dissecting the term culture shock is the beginning step to take to better understand how to make a classroom more culturally inviting. Culture shocked as defined by Ormrod, J. E. (2011). Educational Psychoogy Developing Learners, is “sense of confusion when a student encounters a new environment with behavioral expectations very different from those previously learned.” An example of this would be a Puerto Rican American who is asked to look his teacher in the eye. This behavior is seen as disrespectful and can be a struggle for the student. An example of how to make this student more comfortable in the classroom would be to get to know the child by asking questions and listening for a response rather than physically looking for one (Ormrod, 2011 pg. 109). Cultural mismatch is the next topic up for discussion. Cultural mismatch can be defined as a child’s school and home behavior expectations are culturally conflicting. An example of this would be an Asian American boy who does not participate in open class discussions. Asian children are taught to listen and observe as the best way absorb information (Ormrod, 2011 pg. 109). To support this student’s cultural method it would be beneficial to explain why it is important to openly discuss different ideas amongst our classmates. It would be helpful to this student to gradually introduce him to the discussion by asking him questions during class or have the class answer questions in chorus. If possible allow time for all the student’s to write a short summary of what they learned afterwards.

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