Author: Rasheedat Sadiq | Published on 1 February 2024
Question: How can I encourage students to appreciate and respect other cultures?
Answer: By modelling respect for other cultures and diversifying your curriculum to include multicultural elements.
Ways in which to diversify your curriculum include:
- Celebrate diversity and encourage learners to express their cultures through food or clothing by creating a safe and judgement-free environment. You can model acceptance and curiosity about food choices. In addition, co-create guidelines with learners to promote inclusion and acceptance irrespective of differences. Include classroom activities that promote sharing cultural practices such as sharing of proverbs, storytelling, drama, reports, posters, poetry etc.
- Invite people from varying cultures to the classroom to talk on a variety of topics such as professions or any other current issues so learners can see the human face of all people and give them direct access to people from other cultures they might otherwise not get to meet.
- Organise cultural days for show and tell from different cultures. In mono-cultural settings, assign different cultures to groups of learners to encourage research and exploration.
- Introduce diverse literature. Include books, articles, blogs etc. from different parts of the world as reading and study materials. Incorporate the translated/English works of authors from numerous cultures and backgrounds to expose learners to differing contexts and promote intercultural understanding.
- Adopt instructional materials from various cultures. This should be considered when using images or realia. For example, a unit on food can include kitchen utensils, crockery and eating norms/table manners from different parts of the world.
- Organise class trips to cultural centres or other places (embassies, restaurants, shops) where students can learn about different cultures.
- Liaise with teachers from other countries to start a pen-pal/email exchange program or online interclass visits.
- Explore stereotypes and encourage learners to question these and overcome biases through respectful, empathetic discussions