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Teachers must first understand their own cultural background for example, their heritage, and upbringing before trying to understand about the different cultures of students that they will be teaching in class. Teachers must be multicultural themselves before they can automatically teach students to be multicultural. (Gay, 2003, p.4). Teachers not only need to develop a strong cultural identity but teachers also need to teach students such as giving personal experience to students to understand how every aspect is linked to each other even from classroom teaching to out of school compound. (Hackett, 2003, p.239). Teachers must relate teaching content to their cultural background to be effective in multicultural classrooms. Through my observation on 19th January 2013 during human communication class, there were four students from Thailand, Nigeria, and China. The lecturer, Ms Melati explained using examples of different cultures. It was an inclusive environment whereby the students and Ms Melati appreciate, recognise, on diversity to the overall learning individuals. Ms Melati encourage open, honest and respectful class discussion. Ms Melati was able to converse a little in different languages during communicating with the students. By communicating a little with different language, student feels comfortable and feels accepted in the classroom. Ms Melati asked questions from different students for their views on certain topics. I personally think Ms Melati is culturally responsive in teaching in the classroom. According to Olneck, Teachers that ignores studentâ€™s norms of behaviour makes student feels left out and provoke student resistance.
Teaching is a learning process because it puts knowledge into practice. It is crucial for teachers to reflect their practise to detect about how students learn best in the class. By having knowledge of multicultural theory and practise, it helps teachers to discover cultural insight, to handling pedagogical issues in their lives. (Ambrosio, 2003, p.37). I agree with the statement above because as teachers, it is best to know how students absorb existing knowledge on top of adding additional knowledge to their prior knowledge. Thus, it is a learning process especially for students and teachers to share knowledge and it is a good practise in school or out of school. Teaching can only take place when the classroom feels safe and comfortable. The environment of the class, quality of interaction among students and teachers has tremendous affect whether learning would take into place. Classroom climate that are cold, isolative, and stressful are not conducive for a proper learning process. In fact, most students perform much better in emotionally warm, caring and supportive classroom climate. (Gay, 2001). There are few characteristics on culturally responsive pedagogy as I elaborate below.
Firstly, positive perspective on families and parents. Whether it is parentâ€™s day at school, or small talk with the teachers in schools regarding students, teachers can result in learning about each other through interaction. Parents involvement should not just be during school functions, but also other activities that includes cultural differences even by communicating with teachers during sports day, parents teachers meeting, students concerts, or just by dropping by to know about the students progress. Parental involvement is crucial in studentâ€™s education because teachers get a better understanding of their studentâ€™s background, knowledge, abilities, and how they learn best.
Secondly, learning within the context of culture. Since diversity among schools is increasing, teachers should develop a more understanding concept of culture if we are planning to bring true understanding among diverse populations. Children from rural areas, or from home in which language and culture do not correlated to the classrooms may have difficulties in the learningenvironment. This is due to different culture learning in different ways. To overcome this issue, teachers should gain extra knowledge of the cultures represented by the classroom and adapt to their lessons so that they reflect ways of communicating and learning that are familiar and similar to them. This is because, children learn about themselves and the world around them within the context of culture. (Northeast and Island Regional Education Laboratory at Brown University, 2002). Teachers can increase culture awareness by talking to students about differences among individuals, show how differences among the students can make for better learning. Nevertheless, teachers can also use different teaching strategies such as assign students to study concepts that apply to their own community or different cultural group.
Thirdly, student-centred instruction. In student-centred, students are geared towards working with others and are encouraged to direct their own learning on assignments that are both culturally and socially related with each other. By using student-centred approach, students become confident, independent, and proactive. This method can be done by creating classroom projects that involves the community. For example, organizing a cultural workshop or bazaar that demonstrates student cultures with the other community or, participating in a talent show whereby different cultures showcase their unique cultural background. Teachers shares different culture celebrations. Example, there are many holidays in the world due to different cultural celebration. Hence, in a cultural responsive pedagogy, students will learn about many different cultures and traditions.
There are several strategies for teachers to recognize on students differing strengths. Building trust and understanding are one of the strategies. To have an effective classroom, mutual trust as well as understanding between teachers and students must be develop thoroughly. Teachers who build these two main factors with students would make students feel comfortable and increase the level of confidence and believe that what they are doing in the class are meaningful. Teachers need to examine their relationships with their students to determine how effectively they are building. (Jackson, 1994, p.299). Another strategy would be using effective questioning techniques. By using higher order questions, it promotes the development of analytical and evaluates thinking skill. This allows the students to think critically and most of the teaching methods nowadays require students to be able to think creatively and differently in comparison to the older generation.
Diversity in classrooms has many categories such as culture, ethnic, types of learning process which suits the students, and others. Despite all of these issues, it is important for educators to grasp their pedagogical skills to handle different instructional practises to meet the needs of the students in the classroom. Effective educators incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy to ensure all students succeed. (Sroka, 2006). Besides that, every classroom should established caring relationships whereby the strengths of every students are respected, recognized, and valued as students and teachers share the role of being the learner, and the students as the researcher. By culturally responsive teaching in class not just create a harmony environment and better understanding about different cultures, but also enables students to be a better human beings and more successful learners in the future.
Based on the researched that I have found above, I can conclude that both culture and pedagogy play a very significant and crucial factors in determining one behaviour in building the concept of trust and understanding, being a well-known diverse country with multi-racial races that lives together in harmony. Not only that, teacher's role and guidance are very important towards developing the values of students to be able to appreciate other people and learn to accept the culture and diversity. In fact, being a student I have thought me so many valuable thing which makes me to respect my peers as well as teachers regardless of their races.