From many years ago up until now, teachersare being faced and challenged to widen their knowledge on teaching strategiesto meet the needs, strengths and weaknesses of students from a differentdiversity of backgrounds, cultures and abilities. Students can unfortunatelyface social discrimination, live in poverty, suffer from certain mental orphysical disabilities, or could be immigrants or feigners, and numbers are onthe increase. On the contrary, every child is born with her or his owncharacteristics, abilities and learning interest.
What teachers will teachthese children will affect their educational development, social skills andalso will enrich every student’s knowledge on diversity and differences.Children bring certain experiences, stories and cultures to the school whichoffer diversity and are a great opportunity for the teacher and children toengage and learn new things that would be very hard to learn without hands-on experiencepassed on through the student’s prior knowledge. These types of students are resourceswho have the chance to enriching the other students. They bring differentideas, arts, language, food and abilities. The classroom community will then beable to develop skills and respect for others. Minoritygroups need to be included and this inclusion is a process.
A limitedconception on multicultural education is given. Changes need to be done toinclude different ethnic groups, women, students with disabilities, LGBTstudents, people with a low income and cultural groups, from the early yearsall the way to the work place in society. The education system should developeducational guidelines which should be obeyed and respected when taking intoaccount the diversity of the children’s characteristics and needs.
Early yearsettings must not treat disabled and culturally diverse children with lessrespect, love or care than non-disabled and local children. Also, theenvironment must be accessible for everyone, by making correct adjustmentbefore it’s too late. Avery stereotypical statement made by educators is that they have very lowexpectations for students who come from a diverse, racial, ethnic, minority andlow-earning backgrounds. The stereotypical fact is that they perform badlyduring tests. Their tendency is immediately give up on them and fail tochallenge and bring out their true knowledge. They associate them withuneducated and low-class families.
Once that assumption is made, then theyquestion ‘Why bother?’. The family would be blamed for being labelleduneducated and therefore the teachers give up trying on educating these typesof children. Each and every child has his or her own intelligence that needs tobe found through the teachers help. Teacher can challenge the children withsuitable yet demanding activities. Also, these children can bring their owncultural experiences and traditions in to the class.
Children should never bediscriminated for who they are because there is always something positive thatwill one-day aid society. Anothercommon fixated thought is related to children with disability. The initialthought of any person who has to take care of a child with disabilities thinksthat he or she is going to be a burden. A teacher who has a child with either amental or physical disorder will begin to become frustrated because it meansthat there is going to be that extra hassle and effect all because of thischild. When in fact, this child who has his own experiences, can be just likeany child and not cause as much stress.
The teacher should be privileged as sheis now going to begin to see things from a different view and also has theopportunity to bring the child out of his or her shell and break thestereotype. This can be done through the support of the parents and schoolstaff. The teacher could plan activities that incorporate the children’sknowledge, ability and skills. Whilst providing these activities, the teachermust keep in the min that the area must be safe and that the activities supportlearning, development and support a positive reflection towards diversity.
Through the collaborative work between the children and the teacher, the workcan be monitored and accessed and self-report can be done by the teacher as asort of. Furthermore, the community will help the teacher develop a diverselyresponsive classroom for all children of all needs. Therefore, this createsaccess to a mainstream school and accommodate the children with a child-centredapproach according to their needs and interests.
According to Hugh Mehan, research hasshown that schools do not provide students with equal educationalopportunities. These types of students are automatically placed or ranked inlow-graded classes and would rarely manage to make their way up to higherranked classes. This leads to a lack of preparation and etiquette for thefuture social and economic life.Early year teachers explore the values andpractices of children with families of diverse cultural backgrounds. There areinstances where parents feel the lack of connection, all because they have adifferent background. Some parents feel it during ‘sports day’ or duringphysical education lessons because their child would not be given enoughattention or allowance to participate. There are ways of including physicallyunable children during sports.
Another instance when the parents feel a lack ofconnection is when they cannot afford to buy their children everything thatthey may need for school, or sent them to after-school activities or outingwith their friends. Unfortunately, in this case, both the parents and thechildren feel the lack of connection towards the school. A different instancewhich is mostly felt is when feasts and traditions are celebrated at schoolbecause they are local things, while the foreign feast, traditions and ritualsare not respected. Also, the children who do not follow a local religion, wouldstill be present in class. Therefore, this is a lack of respect to the childrenand their families. A way of trying to involve the families of these childrenis through asking the parents what they expect from their own children. Theywould have different perspectives and interests that would descend from theirinnate values. Parent involvement can aid the whole community of the school asit would bring equality and new challenges that communities can work throughtogether.
Teachers can also do hands-on projects regarding different abilitiesand cultures in the class. The school would provide all materials so no extraexpenses would be made by the parents. Once a project is complete, then an openday for the parents of the class could take place and the children can show offtheir work and receive feedback from the parents.Students from diverse racial, ethnical andsocial class groups should receive educational equality just as the locals do.Also, equality in both male and female education is something that needs to beworked on in developing countries. In the current situation, female childrenare neglected in some schools and no excepted into others.
They would live anilliterate life and work from home for the rest of their life. Only indeveloped countries are educators intelligent enough to accept females intoschools, as well as males. But, one global problem is when it comes toaccepting different racial and ethnic groups. Teachers should support theidentity of all the children.The child’s wellbeing and heath must besupported and protected.
Easily accessible areas for children with physicaldisability must be respected and taught thoroughly through. A classroom can bemade accessible by leaving enough space between one table and another, byproviding low shelving and also a daily ‘chores’ chart that allocates certainhelping jobs that the children can do to help the differently abled child. Apartfrom the classroom, the whole school must be fully accessible by all students,such as lifts, railings ramps, and these things must be done before anydifferently abled children enter the school.
Educational multiculturalism is trying toform equality and justice against the school social culture, throughintegration. There are many ways to how one can change an average early year’sclassroom to one that is a multicultural classroom with multicultural goals.Each change or goal comes with a number of steps that need to be tackled beforereaching the final aim. The initial step of a multicultural classroom is to aidchildren to recognise the differences and similarities of all the people aroundthe world.
When children have the freedom to explore different cultures, itexposes them to different rituals, values, traditions and customs. These alllead to different opportunities for the children to share their backgrounds tothe others. It is also a form of interaction between all kids. Such experiencesallow children to realise that everyone has their own story which makes themdifferent and special, yet similar. The realisations help today’s youngchildren learn to accept differences and to eliminate judgement and racism.Therefore, encouraging children to accept, respect and including people fromall cultures and backgrounds, from such a young age is of utmost importance.Another goal for a multicultural classroom is the encouragement of the correctsocial skills especially when dealing with different cultures, so that childrenas well as adults can work and get along well with others. The children willstart to see and listen to the other’s opinions and reasons as well asindividuality.
Once the bond, respect is build and strengthened, then theforeign children feel much better about themselves and appreciated even more.These goals will aid in integrating all the children in the early year’sclassroom as well as build the missing self-confidence that many children wouldbe missing. All this can take place only the teacheris well informed and prepared with regard to the knowledge and sense of thepresent cultural identities she or he has. They must be educated on thecultures beliefs, customs and traditions. The role of the educator in theclassroom is change and implement new and different methods to compliment thediversity that the modern world is facing and that these young children areseeing every day in the classroom. Teachers can express diversity throughdifferent techniques, such as project work. This is done by challenging thecurriculum by utilising the cultural resources brought to the school by thechildren.
The resources are the students themselves who talk about their heritageand from that, the teacher would develop some games and learning activities.The teacher would use examples from the various cultures, to bring out a pointthrough activities. Like this, the teachers help students to understand andinvestigate the differences in cultures, perspectives and traditions.
All thishard work and preparation comes from previous and continuous training done byall the teachers and kindergarten assistants. Multiculturalism is not thoughtby the book but through experience.Another aspect the teacher must have, is a correctattitude towards acceptance and respect for the other cultures. This is done withan open mind. The children learn a lot from the teacher, so this attitude wouldbe picked up immediately. They would pick up the acceptance and respect thatthe teacher would have towards other students.
Teachers help settle racialattitudes, but this is first done through the teacher herself, and thenpresented to the children. In this way, teachers are supporting the culturalidentity of each and every child present. They develop a bond with theirstudents, through which, one finds it easier to communicate the positivity andsuccessfulness there would be present. Unfortunately, if teacher have a lack ofexperience in the field of diversity and positive attitudes towards minoritygroups, then process cannot be made and we remain in the say situation. To connectwith the children of this modern world, teachers must use technology during theiractivities. The children are growing up in a world surrounded by technology sothey are exposed to it from a young age and therefore they naturally speak thelanguage of technology.
In class, the teachers or assistants should try toinclude the children’s interests into online activities, as well as in thecurriculum. This connects the children’s interests and their technologicalskills. The learners would be engaged in useful and meaningful learning, also,it engages students to find out the link between their interests and thecurriculum, by themselves. This too helps the teacher teach about internetsafety to the children. Another modern movement is the student-centredapproach. This gives the children the opportunity to make certain decisions thatinvolve the whole class. This enforces class participation and encourages teamwork.
The teacher is there to act as a facilitator who watches over the children andsupports their ideas. They will develop the children’s interests and formactivities that will teach the children new and interesting, yet informativethings This cross-cultured sharing is being encouraged and emphasised by the TeWh?riki. It also emphasises on the critical role of society and culturallylearning, such as language, arts, traditions and histories, and relationshipsof children with people, places and things. Children learn through collaborationwith adults, through parent/guardian connection, and peers, also throughobservation of others, as well as through individual exploration andreflection. Culturerelates to the traditions, beliefs and values shared between a community. Everysingle person forms part of a community from birth and one could even be partof a multicultural community from birth too. During one of the lessonactivities, an early year assistant might want to introduce culture as a topic.
In this situation, she or he could ask the class for some information on whatthey know about knowledge, as this is encouragement for prior knowledge and alsoconfidence. From here, the teacher could draw up a web diagram by usingpictures to describe that the children would have said, and then doing researchto back up what was said. After this stage, activities and projects can beformed and done in class for a number of weeks. Their work and progress wouldthen be displayed in class for others to see. Most youngchildren come to school with negative racial attitudes as well as lack ofrespect to those who are differently abled.
These attitudes are reflected offtheir parents/guardians onto the children who then repeat. School helpsstudents to form a positive attitude towards diversities around them. As aresult, children understand the capability of reason as well as integrationbetween all students which eliminates separation and judgement. Students whoexperience diversity and integration from a young age, are more likely to beginto play collaboratively with classmates and then progress to facing the futurewith more respect and confidence.