Teaching in a multicultural classroom is essentially a new ballgame. The complex dynamics involved in teaching and learning take on new layers of meaning when we consider the ways in which we are similar as well as different from one another.
When creating a plan for a culturally diverse classroom it's important to consider and recognize age, gender, ethnicity, race, intellectual ability, socio-economic level, language, culture, education, and religion. With all of these differences a good starting point would be to create a classroom environment that fosters respect and welcomes viewpoints. There are no universal solutions on specific rules for responding to diversity in the classroom. The overriding principal is to be thoughtful, sensitive, do the right thing by being professional.
Let's assume that the cultural make-up of my classroom includes at least five different ethnic and religious groups. First, I would recognize any biases and/or stereotypes that I may have absorbed.
Do I have double standards when interacting with students? Do I under value comments that are different than my own? Do I assume most African Americans/Latinos are labeled and in special programs? Next, treat each student as an individual and respect each student for who he/she is. It is important that I not project my experiences with, feelings about, or expectations of an entire group onto any one student. I must not demean or exclude any groups. I need to use terms of equal weight when referring to boys and girls. I will use boy he and she during discussions and encourage my students to do the same. It is important to refrain from remarks that make assumptions about student experiences such as "When your parents were in schoolÃ¢ÂÂ¦" Avoid comments about student's social activities that assume that all students are heterosexual. I must use anecdotes from a...