The Importance Of A Culturally Inclusive Classroom

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In Australia an increasing number of students come from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. These students come to school with different levels of proficiency in Standard Australian English (SAE) and will acquire second language proficiency at different rates. (Department of Education & Training, 2010). In order for teachers to be good educators they need to develop empathy for other cultural behaviours and beliefs. When teaching EAL/D students, teachers should be willing to learn from another culture and committed to teaching others how to communicate across cultures. A culturally inclusive classroom is one where students and teachers acknowledge diversity as a way to develop the learning experience for all students. Teachers’ should be aware of the cultural resources EAL/D students can bring to the classroom. Different perspectives on issues as well as different knowledge and experiences can benefit teachers and students alike. Within a Year 3 classroom of 20 students, there are 6 Indigenous EAL/D students from North Queensland whose first language is Yidinji. These students have developed good oracy skills in their first language. Students bring to school a wide range of literacies developed within the context of their cultural background before entering school. All of the six EAL/D students are in the emerging phases of English language learning and have a growing degree of print literacy and oral language competency with English (ACARA, 2011). These students have had some exposure to Aboriginal English before coming to school. It is important for these students that their home language is valued in the classroom. According to Wigglesworth and Simpson (2008) the sociocultural connection of language and culture sees... ... middle of paper ... ...ngaged with their learning and class discussions, it is important to be aware of a number of issues that could be the cause. Conductive hearing loss as a result of otitis media is a very significant problem for many Aboriginal children as it can significantly hinder oral language development and cause delays in language comprehension (Department of Education and Training, 2006). There are a number of effective teaching strategies for students with conductive hearing loss that have been found to be effective in improving educational outcomes. Modifying the physical environment to maximise listening and learning and ensure that external noise is minimised, organising the classroom to allow children with hearing difficulties to be seated close to the teacher and ensuring students can see the faces of all speakers as well as gaining student’s attention before speaking.
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