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TOPIK 1

KONSEP DAN TUJUAN PERSEKITARAN FIZIKAL BILIK DARJAH YANG MESRA BUDAYA

Sebelum kita bermula, fikirkan tentang persekitaran fizikal bilik darjah. Mengapa guru perlu menyusunkan bilik darjah sebegitu rupa? Apakah aspek-aspek yang perlu diambil kira apabila ingin menyusunkan bilik darjah anda? Bagaimana anda dapat mewujudkkan sebuah bilik darjah yang mesra budaya. Mari kita sama sama membincangkan ciri-ciri fizikal yang perlu diberi perhatian dalam mewujudkan suasana bilik darjah yang mesra budaya. 1.1 Konsep dan Tujuan Pengurusan Persekitaran Fizikal Bilik Darjah

Konsep pengurusan persekitaran fizikal bilik darjah yang mesra budaya adalah amat penting dalam pengajaran dan pembejaran dalam abad yang mencabar ini dan lebih-lebih lagi melibatkan murid-murid dari pelbagai latar belakang etnik. Konsep pengurusan fizikal harus melewati bukan hanya dari aspek kemudahan prasarana serta kemudahan fizikal sahaja namun hasil dari pengurusan persekitaran fizikal dapat mewujudkan satu suasana serta iklim pembelajaran yang kondusif dengan mengambil kira keunikan perspektif dari pelbagai latar belakang budaya dan sosial. Pengurusan persekitaran fizikal bilik darjah telah di rumuskan oleh Fred Steele(1973) sedemikian the effects of physical setting in a classroom is a setting for social interaction, symbolic identification, growth, security,shelter and pleasure. Kenyataan yang diutarakan oleh Steele (1973) disokong oleh Lambert (1994) yang menyatakan bahawa aspek persekitaran fizikal seperti dengan siapa dan di mana pelajar duduk dapat membantu dalam interaksi antara mrurid dari latar belakang lingustik dan kebudayaan yang berbeza. Kriteriakriteria Fizikal Umum Untuk Mewujudkan Persekitaran Bilik Darjah yang Mesra Budaya 1) Aspek Fizikal : Terdapat meja dan kerusi yang sesuai dengan murid dan boleh diubah mengikut keperluan aktiviti. Mempunyai pencayaan dan pengudaraan yang baik. Mengecat dinding dengan warna - warni yang ceria dan lembut. Memasang langsir dengan warna yang ceria, terang dan lembut. Melukis mural diswekitar kelas. suai

Keselamatan yang terjamin seperti pelan kebakaran dan pemadam api.

2) Sudut-Sudut Pembelajaran:Dalam bilik darjah, terdapat pelbagai sudut pembelajaran dan aktiviti yang dapat membantu perkembangan intelek murid seperti sudut boneka, kognitif, kinestetik serta sudut kreativiti dan sebagainya. Di samping itu, terrdapat sudut-sudut bacaan seperti buku cerita dan majalah pendidikan dan sudut multimedia seperti komputer, televisyen dan multimedia. 1.2 Kriteria-kriteria Fizikal Spesifik Untuk Mewujudkan Persekitaran Bilik Darjah yang Mesra Budaya 1) Aspek Fizikal: Menyusun atur tempat duduk semula murid-murid dalam bilik darjah supaya terdapat kesamarataan taburan di antara murid-murid dari pelbagai kumpulan etnik dan tidak hanya satu kumpulan etnik dikelompokkan dalam satu kumpulan. Apabila ada perbincangan kumpulan atau aktiviti-aktiviti kumpulan ahli-ahli kumpulan akan terdiri dari pelbagai kaum etnik. Secara tidak langsung kepelbagaian kumpulan etnik dalam satu-satu kumpulan secara tidak langsung dapat mewujudkan serta memupuk satu suasana mesra budaya secara tidak langsung.

Aktiviti mengecat dinding dengan melukis mural -mural biasanya dilakukan oleh guru kelas sendiri atau beberapa murid yang menjadi pembantunya. Adalah sesuai sekiranya tema lukisan mural berkisar mengenai perayaan-perayaan serta kebudayaan perihal pelbagai kaum etnik di negara ini. Aktiviti sedemikian juga merupakan salah satu aktiviti yang sesuai yang boleh dilakukan oleh murid-murid dari pelbagai latar belakang kumpulan etnik supaya dapat memupuk perasaan kekitaan dalam kalangan mereka. Perbincangan serta persediaan untuk lukisan mural secara tidak langsung akan dapat memupuk nilai serta belajar untuk bertoleransi dan bekerjasama. Secara tidak langsung guru telah berjaya secara tidak langsung untuk memujudkan persekitaran mesra budaya.

Ruang untuk bekerja adalah penting untuk memupuk nilai kerjasama dan tolong menolong antara murid dari pelbagai latarbelakng dan budaya. Tugasan yang di berikan oleh guru dapat di bincang diruang ini; di mana secara tidak langsung Ali, Kumar serta Kim Moi dapat berbincang untuk mendapatkan jawapan atau fakta untuk tugasan mereka. Keberkesanan konsep ruang bekerja atau work space ini

disokong oleh Woolfolk (2001) yang menyatakan sedemikian bahawa the physical environment of the classroom such as use of space, classroom setting and cocial dimensions interact to shape classroom culture 2) Sudut-Sudut Pembelajaran dan Bacaan:Selain daripada sudut-sudut yang biasa guru juga boleh mewujudkan sudut baru seperi sudut budaya, sudut sejarah dan sudut patriotik. Sudut-sudut ini dapat mendedahkan murid-murid kepada pelbagai agama, adat resam, kebudayaan serta kepercayaan dari pelbagai kaum etnik di negara ini. Secara tidak langsung muridmurid dapat memupuk nilai-nilai murni seperti sabar, toleransi serta hormatmenghormati yang merupakan komponen penting untuk mewujudkan perpaduan kaum . Guru juga boleh menyediakan pelabagai aktiviti - aktivti multimedia atau interaktif di setiap sudut pembelajaran tersebut untuk menarik minat murid-murid. Contohnya di sudut budaya ini Ali dapat mengetahui tentang kebudayaan serta agama Samy dan sebaliknya agar terdapat satu pemahaman yang jelas dan tidak prasangka agar tidak menyentuh isu-isu sensitif serta menjaga sensitiviti sesuatu kaum etnik. Begitu juga dengan murid-murid dari Sabah dan Sarawak. Tindakan mewujudkan sudut-sudut pembelajaran disokong oleh Morrow dan Weinstein (1982) yang menyatakan sedemikian keep in mind to include a literacy center in your classroom to allow pupils to explore, investigate and discover knowledge. Guru juga harus mewujudkan sudut-sudut sejarah dan patriotik; di mana sudut-sudut ini akan meyedarkan murid-murid betapa pentingnya perpaduan antara kaum-kaum dari pelbagai latar belakang etnik untuk mewujudkan sebuah negara yang aman dan makmur. Secara tidak langsung ini akan mewujudkan satu suasana mesra budaya dalam bilik darjah.

Selain daripada sudut-sudut pembelajaran, guru juga boleh menyediakan sudut bacaan di mana bahan bacaan adalah terdiri dari buku-buku atau risalah-risalah dari Sabah dan Sarawak atau sebaliknya yang mengandungi informasi mengenai sesuatu kaum atau kumpulan etnik.

Sudut pembelajaran elektronik adalah penting; di mana murid dari pelabagi latar belakang etnik dapat menggunakan perisian software yang di sediakan oleh guru seperti aktiviti interaktif dan multimedia untuk dapat melaksanakan tugasan dalam kumpulan. Semasa membuat tugasan murid-murid dapat memupuk serta

menghayati nilai-nilai seperti bekerjasama, tolong menolong serta toleransi.

Selepas kita telah dan fahami konsep dan tujuan pengurusan fizilkal bilik darjah cuba anda bincang dengan rakan anda, Apakah ciri-ciri persekitaran fizikal spesifik selain daripada yang telah dinyatakan di atas dapat mewujudkan persekitaran bilik darjah yang mesra budaya ? 1.3 Peranan guru sebagai Physical Enviroment Designer. Sekiranya anda hadapi murid anda daripada pelbagai budaya, nescaya anda perlu mengambil perhatian terhadap kepelbagaian / perbezaan individu dalam bilik. Apakah ciriciri yang perlu ada pada seorang guru yang berperanan sebagai Physical Enviromet Designer agar dapat mewujudkan satu persekitaran yang mesra budaya? Antara ciri-ciri yang perlu diambil perhatian termasuk: Perlu mengetahui latar belakang murid terlebih dahulu Perlu faham dengan mendalam perasaan setiap murid Mengkikis pra sangka Perlu mengetahui latar belakang kebudayaan, agama dan adat setiap murid dengan mendalam. 1.4 Rumusan Pengurusan fizikal harus mengambil kira bukan sahaja kemudahan prasarana serta kemudahan fizikal tetapi hasil dari pengurusan persekitaran fizikal dapat mewujudkan satu suasana serta iklim pembelajaran yang kondusif dengan mengambil kira keunikan perspektif dari pelbagai latar belakang budaya dan sosial.

Susunatur bilik darjah harus memberi perhatian kepada cara susunan tempat duduk pelajar harus samarata dari segi kumpulan etnik

Sudut sudut pembelajaran dan bacaan dalam bilik darjah perlu mengambil kira bahan bacaan pelbagai kumpulan etnik, mural sesuai dengan semua bangsa dalam kelas.

Guru perlu berperanan kepelbagaian pelan budaya

dalam mengetahui

latar belakang

pelajar,

dan

perbezaan individu pelajar letaknya

apabila

mengatur dan melakarkan mesra

bilik darjah serta

sudut-sudut pembelajaran supaya

Reflections on the Impact of Culture in the Classroom Giselle Mora-Bourgeois Gunston Middle School Arlington County (VA) Public Schools Submitted June 2000 Introduction A year of teaching 8th graders at Gunston Middle School provided me with many lessons on the impact of cultural differences and communication styles on the teaching-learning process. I discovered that my communication style was so different from that of my students that it led to many unpleasant and conflictive moments in the classroom. Additionally, I became more aware of my personal identity and more appreciative of the diverse cultural backgrounds of my students. This paper summarizes some observations and reflections on how cultural differences bedeviled my interactions with my students in Arlington County, Virginia. In general, culture refers to the ways in which different groups of people organize their daily lives within national or ethnic groups, urban neighborhoods, companies and professions, and other settings. Culture includes what people actually do and what they believe. Culture influences greatly how we see the world, how we try to understand it and how we communicate with each other. Therefore, culture determines, to a great extent, learning and teaching styles. Addressing cultural differences in the teaching-learning process is both important and controversial. It is important because we are confronted with an increasingly diverse

population of students and the wide achievement gap between minority and non-minority students. It is controversial because we may fall into the trap of cultural stereotyping and making naive attempts to explain achievement differences among our students. Teachers cannot escape the fact that their communication "styles" reflect their cultural background. Much of what they say, the way they say it, and their relationship with students, parents and colleagues are deeply influenced by the way they have been socialized. As a recent migrant to the United States from Costa Rica, this fact became abundantly clear to me. I came with 14 years of teaching experience and a solid knowledge of science. I felt confident and prepared for my first teaching job. This job, however, proved to be puzzling and difficult. Besides issues of classroom management, loads of paper work, school

administration and general expectations, the single most important challenge I faced was coping with the enormous culture shock I experience in the classroom. Following are my reflections on how culture and communication impacted my experience at Gunston. Research Questions

What were the main cultural challenges I faced as a teacher? What were some of the areas in which my teaching style was in conflict with the learning styles of the majority of my students? To what extent did cultural differences result in class management problems? Methodology I used entries from my personal diary, conversations with colleagues and friends, evaluations of my administrators, and copies of my disciplinary referrals of students to the principal's office to identify the major conflictive moments of this year. For most of these moments, I analyzed whether they were partially or completely based on cultural differences between my students and me. I also interpreted the results of the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction relevant to whether differences in communication styles were partly responsible for continual conflicts between my students and me. Findings and Reflections: Sources of Cultural Conflict The major sources of cultural conflict I identified in my interaction with my students can be separated into two categories. One relates to the development of scientific concepts and to ways in which we see the world and try to understand it. I called these "conceptual

conflicts". The other category I called "behavioral conflicts". These conflicts were related to interpersonal interactions and had to do with general expectations, attitudes and behaviors. Conceptual conflicts. Conceptual conflicts with my Gunston students arose mainly because I approached teaching science by facilitating learning based on cognitive patterns and generalities. I tried teaching science and the world around us more by looking at and explaining patterns than by concentrating on the details. I had never experienced difficulties with this approach when teaching in my country. I found that the majority of my students in Gunston preferred to see the trees before they saw the forest. They were more comfortable understanding components, facts and specifics of an idea than thinking and talking about general concepts. I lost them easily because they got impatient and wanted "the bottom line." They complained that I talked "too big." I discovered the majority of my students learned through linear logic and I had to adapt my teaching style accordingly. Another source of conceptual conflict arose from the fact that students demanded an immediate and concrete utility to the material presented to them. They got impatient about wanting to see immediately "the point" to what I was presenting. This conflicted with the teaching style I was accustomed to using. Students in Costa Rica trust that the material taught at school is something you are supposed to know. They do not question its immediate utility and they are much more willing to go along with a teacher's lesson plan. My Gunston students lost interest in the subject very quickly and were not willing to explore an idea beyond its immediate or possible utility.

I believe that the cultural conflict I felt was partly due to the fact that most American students view school principally as a means to getting a job and making money. School in my country is not only about preparing for the job market but also about learning things you did not know before; therefore, no matter how impractical a topic may look, Costa Rican students try to learn about it when presented by the teacher. This difference in expectations on the part of my Gunston students caused frequent class disruption. They refused to discuss a topic if they saw no practical utility to it or interrupted lectures to ask why they had to learn about a particular subject. Such conceptual demands generated great frustration for me, and a general feeling of miscommunication and misunderstanding in the classroom. Behavioral conflicts. The main source of behavioral conflicts was that students interpreted my soft speech and calm disposition as a sign of weakness and tried to step over me all the time. They were very loud and disrespectful at the beginning of the school year, did not pay attention, nor tried to understand and follow directions. They very clearly needed to hear a stronger voice and expected me to identify misbehaving students publicly. As the school year progressed, I had to raise my voice and become more forceful, a communication strategy with which I was very uncomfortable. In the schools I had attended and taught in Costa Rica, respect for the teacher is a given. The teacher is the authority figure. In Gunston, I spent a great deal of effort and class time trying to maintain control of my students. By the end of the school year, I perceived that my students had a very ambivalent feeling regarding classroom power structure. I felt that my students needed and wanted a very strong teacher figure, but at the same time they resented the power of a teacher and needed to feel they were in control. My students sent a loud and clear message that they wanted more freedom in the classroom. But I did not find them willing and able to take responsibility for their own learning and they very seldom showed me they would use their time and resources wisely. They needed constant, direct, clear and very specific directions in order to complete any assigned task. They wanted to get from me the specific answers to the exercises presented to them and they felt very uncomfortable when I told them that several different answers would work. I found myself spoon-feeding them more times than I felt was reasonable. This need for constant supervision was new to me. Eighth graders in Costa Rica are already in a high school setting and do not expect so much individual attention. My Gunston students, on the other hand, demanded lots of individual attention. Many times they screamed for it! This constant need for attention and the way in which it was demanded resulted in many class management problems. Students wanted me to attend to them constantly and simultaneously. They also wanted to have instructions repeated individually and then given the answers to the written exercises quickly. Few felt challenged to try to

figure out a problem on their own before calling me. Many chose to misbehave to get my immediate attention. For example, if I did not attend to a student immediately after he/she had called me, she/he began playing, walking around the classroom, or calling me loudly and repeatedly. Practice and repetition are important aspects of the learning process in the Costa Rican school system. It is how students master a new skill. Conflicting moments arose in my Gunston classes when students refused to complete exercises because they felt they were too many or because they did not see the point in doing more if they got the first ones right. My insistence on having the students do multiple examples produced negative reactions that frustrated me and created an uneasy atmosphere in the classroom. For example,

sometimes students began screaming, "This is boring" or "This is stupid" or "What is the point?" interrupting students that were working and inducing others to quit doing the exercises. Students would also yell, "This is boring" anytime an assignment was difficult, long, or self-directed. As a general rule, students may be more inclined to learn when engaged in fun activities. But students in many countries do not expect to have fun every day and every minute in the classroom. They would not refuse to complete a task just because they do not find it

entertaining. I was very puzzled and frustrated by the complaints of my Gunston students that we did "too much work." Any difficult or challenging task was not fun and therefore was not worth doing! Another area of cultural conflict was my students' need for individual recognition, constant praise, and instant material rewards. This need for instant gratification was alien and

surprising to me. For example, at the beginning of the school year I almost had a revolt in one of my classes because I did not give students a pizza party the day after I returned from a leave of absence. They said they were very good with the substitute teacher and

demanded a pizza party. When I said I was glad they were good since I expected them to do just that, and that a pizza party was not necessary, they felt I was being unfair to them and began screaming at me. They also complained that I did not give them candy when they behaved well. I realized that I had to adapt my style to meet the needs and

expectations of the students, and as the year progressed I began giving treats to my students. However, I believe they remained with the feeling of not being rewarded in my classes and I never felt comfortable with the idea of providing rewards for everyday tasks that they were expected to complete. Not being aware of these student expectations created many behavioral conflicts and increased my frustration. Communication in My Classroom A 64-item Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction was applied to two of my classes: one class of Spanish immersion students and another of regular Physical Science students.

This questionnaire is designed to measure classroom interaction. The results describe how a teacher interacts with her/his students and basically maps teacher behavior. Before

applying the questionnaire, I hypothesized that I was communicating more effectively with the immersion students because (a) I was teaching them in my native language and (b) I was developing my own curriculum and materials for the class. Interestingly, there was little discrepancy in the way my two classes perceived me as a teacher. The figures obtained in both classes were almost identical. Teaching in Spanish did not give me any particular advantage when communicating with my immersion students. Although I thought my

lessons were more effective with these students, they saw me in a very similar way as the students I instructed in English. In general, communication was not felt to be antagonistic and the students did not have as bad an image of me as I thought they did by the way they behaved in class. When comparing my results with the students' opinions, I found that the students and I agreed on the areas where most of the communication was taking place but disagreed on the intensity of the interactions. I thought I was being more assertive and stricter than the way the students felt I was. A very positive result was that despite all the frustration I was feeling at that point, my communication with the students was taking place in a general framework of cooperation. Also noteworthy was a major discrepancy shown in the results of the Questionnaire concerning the perception that I had of myself as a teacher halfway through the year compared to the one that I had before I began my year at Gunston. I began this year feeling I was a tough, yet amicable and organized teacher. Halfway into the year I was seeing myself much more softened (more willing to give breaks) and helpful than I used to be. My teaching and communication styles were not working at Gunston and I had to adapt quickly, but such adaptation brought feelings of uneasiness on my part that remained throughout the year. Conclusions My personal experience as a first year teacher at Gunston Middle School has led me to recognize the important role culture plays in the teaching-learning process. I was able to identify conceptual and behavioral differences between my students and me in teaching and learning science that I believe were culturally based. Some of the differences impacted negatively on general class management. I believe I was not the only one that was experiencing culture shock. My students'

perceptions and awareness of cultural differences were strong and permeated the classroom. I also felt many times that my expectations and demeanor were out of sync with the cultural environment at Gunston. In addition, I found it interesting that students and teachers at this middle school live in a culturally diverse environment without being fully

aware of what makes us different and how we can transcend these differences to communicate better with each other. When we compare cultures we should not look for differences that make us better or worse than each other. No culture is better than another and no communication style is intrinsically wrong. My teaching and communication styles are deeply rooted in the way I have been socialized and a year of teaching at Gunston reminded me that my students' communication and learning styles were different from mine. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that I must adapt to this new environment and change the way I communicate if I wish to be an effective teacher. In the future, I hope I will be able to create classrooms where different cultures converge and where individuals are willing to reach out and meet on the common ground that we all share as human beings.

References Dunn, R. et al. (1990). Cross-cultural differences in learning styles of elementary-age Journal of Multicultural Counseling and

students from four ethnic backgrounds. Development, 18(2).

Gudykunst, W.B. et al. (eds). (1996). Communication in personal relationships across cultures. SAGE Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA. Guild, P. (1994). The culture/learning style connection. Educational Leadership, 51(8). Hilliard, A. G.III. (1989). Cultural style in teaching and learning. Education Digest, 55(4). Janzen. R. (1994). Melting pot or mosaic? Educational Leadership, 51(8). Lampe, P.E. (1988). The problematic nature of interracial and interethnic communication. The Social Studies, 79(3). Lawton, M. (1993). Differing on diversity. Education Week, 13(13). Manning, M.L. & R. Lucking. (1993). Cooperative learning in multicultural classrooms. The Clearing House, 67(1). Samovar, L.A & R.E. Porter. (1997). Intercultural Communication -A Reader. 8th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing Co. Samovar, L.A. et al. (1998). Communication between cultures. 3rd Edition. Wadsworth Publishing Co. Trachtenberg, S.J. (1990). Multiculturalism can be taught only by multicultural people. PHI DELTA KAPPAN, 71 (8). Wilson, A. (1982). Cross-cultural experiential learning for teachers. Theory into Practice, 21(3).

Creating a Multicultural Classroom Environment

Breeding a multicultural environment in a classroom today is the most important thing. The environment for children coming from different cultures should be friendly, warm and comfortable. They should also be given the freedom to understand and learn in a way they are comfortable in. As the world is turning into a smaller place, diversity of culture becomes an integral part of today's society. Everyone is everywhere! You will find Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, Hispanics etc., all together under a single roof in schools, universities and work places. Accepting a multicultural environment can be easily inculcated in today's youth through their classrooms. It is the best and most important place to teach about different cultures, as that's where you'll find kids from diverse cultures growing up and learning together. If children are exposed to a multicultural environment right from their academic years, it will be really easy for them to get along with children from other cultures. It will also cultivate in them the value of respecting other cultures and religions. The responsibility of creating a multicultural environment in a classroom, lies mainly in the hands of the teachers and the management of the school. It is important that the school authorities and teachers themselves believe in a healthy multicultural environment which treats everyone as equals. There should be no sort of bias based on cast, creed, color, race, etc. It is easy to identify who comes from which culture, just by their appearance, though accepting them as they are is what needs to be taught to the young ones.

What A School Can Do Language A school should facilitate its students with an option of choosing a second language, which could be their native language. Children may not be well-versed with English but with other languages like Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, etc. Therefore, students should have an option of learning and studying in their own language too. It is certain, that if they were tested in their native language, they could do equally well.

Library A library should have books and other study material for children from all cultures. Translation books and dictionaries should be made easily accessible in the library. It will certainly be difficult for a kid to read, write and speak in English, when he/she has used Spanish as his/her first language all his/her life.

Celebrate and Familiarize with Different Cultures Every culture has some unique features and practices. Schools should celebrate the main festivals of students coming from different cultures in a small way. This can be done by asking students to describe their festivals to the class and to showcase the staple things that belong to their culture. In this way, children from different cultures will feel important, other children will get an opportunity to understand different cultures, and the overall interaction of the kids will increase.

Strict Action Against Racism Racist comments are very common in schools, especially for children of different races. Strict action should be taken against anyone who is found making racist comments or acts. A racist act on anyone in the form of an action or words can be very hurtful and demoralizing for the victim. Giving punishments to the wrong-doer will bring a sense of security to the new students and will teach students to take responsibility of their own actions.

Academic Curriculum The academic curriculum will have to be structured in a way, that it does not focus or brag about any one particular culture or community. To make a multicultural classroom environment, a little bit from every culture should be embedded in the academic curriculum. This way, a multicultural view and perspective will dwell in the minds of children.

Variety of Instructional Approaches Children coming from different cultures will have different understanding levels and grasping capacities for different teaching methods. It is very important to improvise the way children are taught and instructed. Use of PPTs, movies, audio clips etc., should be made to describe and explain different concepts and things. For, if one has not seen or known one particular thing, then merely reading up on it will not make him/her understand it. Many times a visual or an audio clip helps in understanding a concept better.

Keep a Variety of Activities There should be a variety in the activities performed in school because, children can be good at different activities. By adding a variety, kids are exposed to all sorts of activities which enhances their overall development. Therefore all sorts of activities like sports, drama, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, etc., should be inculcated in the curriculum. Varied activities bring children together leaving behind their differences. In this way, children

with similar interests will come together, creating a healthy multicultural environment.

What Teachers Can Do To bring a multicultural environment into a classroom, it's not just the structure of the academic curriculum and the activities organized that need to be changed, but also the approach of the teachers toward the students. A teacher plays an important role in the upbringing of the children and in bridging the cultural gaps in them. It can also be difficult for the teacher to adjust with kids from different cultures, as they behave in a different way, and can be considered as rude or harsh. Here's what teachers can do to build a healthy multicultural environment in the classroom.

Learn About Different Cultures As the first step to create a multicultural environment, teachers should first learn about different cultures. Once they have understood how people from different cultures behave, it will be easier for them to understand what a child is trying to communicate. Also after teachers know how children are, he/she will not get offended by their opinions and reactions.

Appreciate the Differences As a teacher, they can learn to appreciate the differences that pertain in children coming from different regions. They can have a different tone and diction while talking, and expressing themselves. Also, how they perceive the term 'school' or 'a teacher' can also be different. Many students blindly believe their teachers, assuming that everything that they say is correct. A teacher should show gestures of appreciation and understanding in front of the class, so that other students can see it and learn the same.

Variety in Teaching Technique There should be a variety in the techniques used by the teacher while teaching. This is because many children will not be able to understand everything taught through speech or reading. It is essential that video, audio clips, and other means of technology are used whenever possible. These methods increase the understanding of whatever children learn in class.

A Teacher Should Choose the Project Partner It is obvious that a student will choose his/her friend when a project or a group assignment is assigned to him/her. But what a teacher can do is, instead of giving this option to the students, she/he can pair students coming from different backgrounds. Even if they initially refrain or look hesitant in communicating and approaching each other, soon they will get

talking and will try to explain things to each other. This will definitely increase the interaction and the understanding between the kids. The teacher meanwhile should observe how children are behaving and reacting, and then make changes accordingly to help them out.

There are many benefits associated with creating a multicultural environment in a classroom. It encourages cooperative social skills in children, and creates the feeling and understanding of unity in diversity. It also helps the children coming from different walks of life to feel comfortable with other children and have a boosted self-esteem. All of this in turn only does good to the society on a whole, as tomorrow these children are going to be the citizens of the world. By Foram Mehta Published: October 6, 2011 Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/creating-a-multicultural-classroomenvironment.html

Building Blocks: The First Steps of Creating a Multicultural Classroom by Larri Fish of Siena College Discovering diversity takes creativity, extra effort, diligence, and courage on the teacher's part. Thus, American public schools have rarely offered an enthusiastic welcome for student difference. However, a multicultural classroom must thrive on these differences and use them as a foundation for growth and development. Differences command work, resolution, openness, and understanding. Teachers who address these differences and add them to the curriculum will succeed in creating a multicultural classroom that will advance the educational goals of all students. The following essay discusses some of the very basic elements of a multicultural classroom and a brief reflection on observations made at Hackett Middle School in Albany, New York. Teachers in multicultural classrooms must be open to their students and put forth the effort needed to get to know their students inside and outside of class. If a teacher is hesitant about being open, the class will reciprocate and the students will become estranged from one another and the teacher. In order to be open, teachers must be interested in their students, fearless, willing to try new and different things, sure of themselves in order to avoid taking things personally, and non-judgmental of his or her students (Canning 196). Also, openness is not making assumptions and being prepared for the unexpected (Canning 199). In the Mexican-American culture, children are accustomed to hugging, kissing, or touching (arm squeezing or rubbing the back of) figures of authority. Christine Canning (author of "Getting From the Outside In: Teaching Mexican Americans When You Are an 'Anglo'") writes of her

experience, "I noticed that students touched my hand or arm while talking to me. I was feeling uncomfortable with this until it occurred to me that touching might be a cultural behavior" (197). Canning's initial close-mindedness toward the touching could've caused an awful situation especially because the students were doing their best to be absolutely respectful. After discussing the students' behavior with a fellow teacher, Canning learned that the students were showing her respect and in no way trying to make her feel uncomfortable. Many cultures have many different mores and folkways. Teachers must be open to what the students are doing and find out why they do what they do. This openness will create communication in the class, which will ultimately develop into a classroom that is learning, understanding, and culturally fluent. In addition to openness, teachers must know the learning patterns of the students in their class. Teachers must understand the learning patterns of the students who grew up in a culture other than their own. Israeli children, for example, are taught to readily criticize an instructor who they feel is saying something that is incorrect while Vietnamese children will not say a word during class unless called upon to regurgitate memorized material (Jones 10). Students from Israel differ greatly from students from Vietnam, which may create a culture clash in the classroom. Vietnamese students will think the Israeli students are rude, brash, unnerving, and extremely obnoxious. In fact, the teacher may find that they feel the same way about the overly critical Israeli students. However, if the teacher knows that Israeli students tend to criticize their professors and is open to the fact that they do this because it is socially encouraged and acceptable in the Israeli school system, than the teacher can calmly explain to the students that while critical thinking is wonderful it is not okay to openly criticize the teacher in front of the entire class on a consistent basis. Therefore, readjusting the participation structure of the classroom in a calm and professional manner. Vietnamese students can be hard for a teacher to understand and grow accustomed to, as well. If a teacher uses instructional methods like group discussion, student presentations, and tries to activate students as they lecture, the teacher may become frustrated, disenchanted, and may even think that Vietnamese students are below average students with below average intelligence. This is not the case, Vietnamese students are taught to sit, listen, and recite memorized information. Students in Vietnam do not participate in the class and believe everything that the instructor says is absolutely true. Teachers who open themselves up to cultural difference will effectively handle culture clash while teachers who assume that Israeli students are rude and Vietnamese students are dumb will close communication in the classroom and destroy any hope of having a multicultural classroom. The best way to handle culture clash is to be open, knowledgeable, and not be afraid to talk about the cultural differences in class no matter what discipline the teacher is teaching (Jones 12). An open teacher will create an open class and an open class will have open lines of communication that will create a positive and beneficial learning environment for everyone.

Language difference is another major issue that teachers must address when establishing a multicultural classroom. A teacher who tries to learn the native tongue of her or his students, if only a word or two, will convey respect for the culture of his or her students and increase their potentially suffering self-esteem (Perez 152). Introducing the language or culture of all students in the class into the curriculum will communicate that students of that culture are important (Perez 153). However, a teacher should not assume that a "Latino-looking" student grew up in the Latino culture and knows about it. Many times Latino students (and other students from different races and ethnicities) will have grown up in the same culture as all the other students who grew up in America (unfortunately this culture is most often known as the "t.v. culture" that is taking over American households). Therefore, teachers should not rely on "Latino-looking" students for information about the Latino culture. If you are teaching a unit on Latino culture, ask the students out of class whether or not they can contribute to the lesson and do not be surprised of they tell you that they do not know anything about Latino culture. Thirdly, do not "go overboard" and bring up the Latino culture in every class just to make the Latino students feel better, this will only embarrass them. Perhaps the biggest fault of a textbook that contains information from European-American perspective, whether good or bad, is that it will suggest to students that the European-American culture is the most important culture and that Caucasians are somehow superior to other cultures. Certainly this is not true, but in the immediate past and even today our educational system is sending this message to students across America. Multicultural classrooms incorporate content from different cultures EVERYDAY so that all cultures are considered valuable and wonderful. In order to establish a respect for other cultures in the classroom, teachers must move beyond "multicultural moments" or pseudomulticulturalism (Miller 88). Celebrating Black History month is a great example of a multicultural moment that many teachers incorporate into their curriculum once a year. Not only do Black History units presented exclusively in February hinder the ability for teachers to cover a wide range of cultures at the same time, creating this type of curriculum sends a message to students that Black History is separate from and inferior to European History. This is true because Black History will only be discussed once a year (Black History Month) and it will be discussed separate from the chronological order that is used when discussing European History (most of the time). Howard M. Miller suggests that one very simple way for ALL teachers to add multicultural ideas and content to his or her curriculum is to build a classroom library of multicultural literature (Miller 88). No matter what subject you teach you can build a library of books by and/or about different cultures. A math book written by an African-American man or woman will send good messages to a population of students that has seen math books that exclusively features the writing style and craftsmanship of a European-American. Incorporating multicultural literature in to the class is very important, if teachers do not do this they will fall into a trap of buying "the book that has always been used" or "a book that is good enough." Thoughts like those will lead teachers to a sad day when they're packing up all their books on the

last day of school and suddenly they realize that they have been sending a message to their students that only White people exist in Math. This is the message that many students are getting today, no matter if they are White, Black, Asian and Hispanic etc... that teachers must do away with. Teachers who own literature by authors form different backgrounds is great but it is not enough. True multicultural activities must be ongoing and integrated daily in both informal and formal activities. Gloria Boutte and Christine McCormick suggest six basic principles for teachers to use when evaluating their culturally diverse classroom, these are, "1) building multicultural programs, 2) showing appreciation of differences, 3) avoiding stereotypes, 4) acknowledging differences in children, 5) discovering the diversity within the classroom, 6) avoiding pseudomulticulturalism" (140). Showing appreciation of differences is very important because a teacher who does not show appreciation of all the differences in their class will not get the chance to attempt any of the other five principles. Teachers need to pay attention to their verbal and nonverbal language when he or she responds to students who speak differently. For example, if a child reads, "Dere go the sto-man," the teacher should avoid interrupting the student to provide the correct English version. Instead, the teacher should thank the student for reading and then model the correct English version when she or he speaks. However, the most important thing to remember about all classrooms is the premise that every child is unique. All children are different and beautiful in their own way, no one student should feel excluded from the class especially if the reason they feel they are excluded is based on race, ethnicity, or color. Teachers need to show the color of our world every time they enter a classroom whether math, science, art, or physical education. An important step in teaching children to be comfortable with their cultural background and essentially themselves is to encourage and value their input in a small group of other students. This has to do with the organization of the classroom and the development of lesson plans. When grouping students, teachers should put students from differing backgrounds together. The term "differing backgrounds" refers to (in general) two types of students from two different learning styles. Students who are from a socialized culture that prioritizes group achievement, cooperation, obedience, and respect toward authority tend to be externally motivated, dependent on praise and reinforcement from significant others, and more responsive to a socially oriented curriculum. Countries that teach using a social structure and curriculum include Israel, Germany, and Italy. While students who are from cultures that emphasize individualism, assertiveness, personal initiative, and material well-being (Vietnam, Japan, United States) tend to be analytical, competitive, impersonal, and task-oriented (Jones 14). Although it is imperative that students be considered on an individual basis, students will (to varying degrees) tend to be more like one category than the other. Grouping socially oriented children with children who are task-oriented and impersonal allows the teacher to confront, explore, and celebrate difference. An accomplished teacher should be able to create projects for a group of students from different backgrounds that will require students to work together, therefore allowing each student to be an important part of the group

and learn information through the interaction of the group. Lesson plans that can do this and interest students will become invaluable for teachers to posses as the need for teachers to become culturally fluent continues to grow. Hackett Middle School, located in Albany, New York, is one of the most diverse schools in the Albany area. The student population is mixed between students of Latino, African-American, European-American, Asian, and Mexican-American descents. While observing a team of 7th grade students on the dates of February 27, 2002 through March 1, 2002 I found their attempts to create multicultural classrooms noble and quite good but the potential for improvement is immense. The first and most striking observation I made were the percentage of White students to the percentage of students of color in the honors and "slow" classes. In the "honors" group, there are thirteen White children and only eight students that are of a different race. The "slow" class, on the other hand, is comprised of two White students and nineteen students of different races (mostly Latino and African-American). Clearly, there are some inequities in the evaluation process. The White students are probably receiving better grades because the make-up of the "honors" and "slow" classes are determined by the students' averages. However, as a teacher or an administrator, one must look at why the White students are receiving better grades. Is the evaluation process fair to all races and ethnicities? The evaluation process is too complicated and lengthy to observe in three days but if some data and observations were made at Hackett Middle School over a long period of time, investigation will probably show that the evaluation process favors the Caucasian students. Along the same lines, the two days I spent tutoring children in I.S.S. opened my eyes to another possible bias at Hackett. All the students (16 total) in I.S.S. on both days were of either African-American or Mexican-American descent including the teachers. In a school that has such a large population of White students, why are none of them in I.S.S. while sixteen students of color were currently serving time in "In School Suspension." A long investigation would be needed to find out if there is a bias among the teachers who send the students to I.S.S. but the evidence that I gathered on my brief observation is mildly alarming. Teachers at Hackett are doing a great job of using multicultural literature and the other basic principles listed earlier in this paper. While I observing Mrs. Anderson's English class, the "honors" class was reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, which is a story about a Hispanic girl named Esperanza and her search for identity while growing up in a town of mixed races. However, I saw no math, science, or history books written by authors of color while I was a Hackett. This is a huge step in creating a multicultural classroom that all teachers can do. Additionally, putting students into bi-racial groups is an area where Hackett needs some improvement. In science class the students sit two per table and only one table in the whole classroom of twenty-three students (fourteen White and nine African or Mexican-Americans) was comprised of a White student and a student that is either African or Mexican-American. Also, in an English class with a similar ratio of White students to students of color, Mrs. Anderson split the class into groups and only one

group was comprised of students of different races and it was the "who's ever left" group. Creating multicultural classrooms is a growing priority for all teachers and administrators. This includes restructuring classroom evaluation and punishment techniques, but, more importantly, it includes embracing difference and opening up the classroom for communication. Schools like Hackett Middle School in Albany, New York are making vast improvements in this area but more still needs to be done. This is a colorful world let us, the future teachers, make sure that we paint our classrooms with these colors every single day.

Cultural Sensitivity in the Classroom


Classrooms in the 21st century are melting pots of different cultures and racial backgrounds. In order for all students to achieve their full potential, teachers must create a welcoming and supportive classroom environment where cultural differences are respected and celebrated. Teaching students to be respectful and sensitive toward other cultures is an important part of this process as it creates a positive and inclusive learning environment. 1. 1 Introduce the idea of respect. As a class, brainstorm the meaning of the word "respect" and why it is important in the classroom and wider world. Ask students for their ideas on how to be respectful to other people. Ideas like "always use manners" or "never use violence" can then be the basis for a set of classroom rules. 2. 2 Teach students about diversity. Ask the students to make short presentations to the class about their family history, country of birth and any special customs or traditions they practice at home. After the presentations, ask students what they have learnt about one another. The aim is to show the breadth of diversity among students and that even those of the same ethnic or social group may have very different backgrounds. 3. 3 Celebrate a world festival or holiday. Select the festival or holiday that the class would like to celebrate, such as the Sikh festival Baisakhi. Teach students the history and significance of this festival and how it is celebrated in its country of origin. In this example, Baisakhi celebrates the Punjab New Year and the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh. Raise awareness of this event around school and devote an afternoon to its celebration. 4. 4 Decorate the classroom. Promote awareness and sensitivity by getting students to decorate the classroom with objects that reflect different cultures and societies. Country flags, maps and photographs can make the classroom environment more culturally friendly. Ask students to bring in an item from home that represents their culture and use it to make a display.

5. 5 Go on a field trip. Take students to a museum to experience and learn about a local culture. After the visit, ask students to write a one-page summary on the history and values of that culture. Compile their reflections into a file or binder to make a class culture book.

The Multi-Cultural Primary Classroom Submitted by admin on 2 February, 2012 - 14:18 Introduction You may find in your primary English class that you have children who struggle with the school language in their first year of primary school because they have a different home language. How will this affect your classroom when teaching English to 1st year primary? How can you cater to their needs? How can you simplify the language so that all your 6 year olds can learn? With a culturally rich class like this I believe it's especially important for the children to be aware of their cultural differences and the value of having difficult cultures represented in one class. Children should respond positively if you make them feel lucky for having differences. The following tips will help you move towards a positive multi-cultural learning environment. Objectives To promote cultural differences To create a safe and positive learning environment To encourage collaborative learning - i.e. working together and helping each other Tips Maps I have seen two examples of maps being used with young learners. The first situation was a map of Europe and was being used with 4 year olds. They followed an imaginary character as he travelled to different countries in Europe. Every 4-6 weeks he would go to a new country and take' the children with him. They learnt about Big Ben and London being the capital of England. They sat in their homemade gondola and they tasted foods from different cultures. The second classroom where I saw a map being used was with a mixed class of 4 year olds and 5 year olds. Here the map was stuck on the lower half of the window. When I asked what the teacher did with it the answer was: The first day I put it up because one girl came from China and we wanted to know where it was on the map. Otherwise I've left it there because it stops the children waving to their parents as they arrive to pick them up.'

Having a map in a primary English class is a first step towards having opened minded children. Using it effectively however is extremely important. Children can learn from a very young age what the different shapes on a map actually represent. If there is a mix of nationalities in the classroom the concept of different countries is even easier to grasp. Start simply by marking where you come from and naming the country. They can mark where they come from and name the country too. You will probably need to guide them here. Ask them what they think their country or your country look like. Does the shape of the country remind them of anything? Relating an abstract picture of a country to something that is familiar to a child will help them to remember the country and its name. If you have a large majority who come from the same country then give them individual maps so that they can all mark where they come from. Creating a classroom community It's important to create a sense of community in the classroom. To do this all the children should have the same level of understanding. I am not referring to their understanding of English but their understanding of what they are meant to be doing. Use non-verbal communication such as gestures, mimes and visual images to help them all reach the same level of understanding before starting an activity. Always demonstrate with at least one child or a model of your own, if you are asking them to cut something out for example, so that they can actually see what they have to do. Try to avoid talking in the school language. This will simply isolate those children who don't speak the school language and won't help anyone with their English. Imagine that you are in a context where you don't speak the school language. You may actually be teaching in this context. Just remember the more English they hear the easier it will become. In other words on week three or four of hearing you say Sit in a circle' they will understand without needing a demonstration. However, keep an eye on everyone and continue to demonstrate as long as there are some children who haven't understood. Classroom language Use copying as a way of getting simple classroom management messages across. You can make it into a game similar to Simon Says where half the class are paired up with demonstrators. By splitting the whole class in two you are not singling out the children who have a different mother tongue. Ask the demonstrators to stand up and the others to sit down and cover their ears. This way they can still see what is going on but they can't hear very well. What they can hear will be muffled.

Show the demonstrators four actions and number the actions as you say them such as 1. Open your books', 2. Close your books', 3. Draw', and 4. Cut'. They should repeat and do with you a few times. Then they teach the four actions to their partners. You say 1. and the demonstrators say and do action number 1. Their partners should copy. After doing this a few times you can let them try it on their own. Repeat the activity for other important classroom language and let the other half of the class become the demonstrators. Greetings Include all the children in the class community by making them feel important. If they can teach the class how to say hello in their own language they will feel valued rather than isolated. You can display the different greetings on the wall and during the year add to this display with different ways of saying please and thank you. They can teach the words by playing Chinese whispers in teams. The winning team is the one whose team members can all say the new word. This will promote working as a team. When they are playing Chinese whispers they can shake hands and whisper the greeting at the same time to help them understand the meaning. This activity can obviously be recycled using English words and accompanying mimes to again help with meaning. Festivals During the year you'll teach your children about some of the major festivals that we celebrate in English-speaking countries. I wouldn't expect in a 30 minute English class with 6 year olds to teach them about all major festivals from all cultures that are represented in the class but when you do start a festival lesson or project you should ask the children if they have the same celebration in their culture, if they don't then do they have a similar one? This is a simple move towards recognizing their differences and showing interest. By Jo Bertrand

How to Create a Welcoming Classroom Environment By: Colorn Colorado (2007) Watch a video clip on Pat Mora's school experience, and get tips on creating a welcoming classroom environment from a fellow teacher. Chances are that your English language learners (ELLs) come from a culture with traditions and family values that differ from mainstream American culture. These

young children not only have the challenge of learning a new language, but also of adjusting to an unfamiliar cultural setting and school system. Imagine what it would be like to step into a foreign classroom where you didn't understand the language, rules, routines, or expected behavior. On a daily basis, ELLs are adjusting to new ways of saying and doing things. As their teacher, you are an important bridge to this unknown culture and school system. There are a number of things you can do to help make ELLs' transitions as smooth as possible. Stages of Cultural Accommodation In the same way that ELLs go through stages of English language learning, they may also pass through stages of cultural accommodation. These stages, however, may be less defined and more difficult to notice. Being aware of these stages may help you to better understand "unusual" actions and reactions that may just be part of adjusting to a new culture. Euphoria: ELLs may experience an initial period of excitement about their new surroundings. Culture shock: ELLs may then experience anger, hostility, frustration, homesickness, or resentment towards the new culture. Acceptance: ELLs may gradually accept their different surroundings. Assimilation/adaptation: ELLs may embrace and adapt to their surroundings and their "new" culture. Classroom Strategies: Helping Your ELLs Adjust to New Surroundings Although there are no specific teaching techniques to make ELLs feel that they belong in a new culture, there are ways for you to make them feel welcome in your classroom: Learn their names Take the time to learn how to pronounce your ELLs' names correctly. Ask them to say their name. Listen carefully and repeat it until you know it. If a student's name is Pedro, make sure you do not call him /peedro/ or Peter. Also, model the correct pronunciation of ELLs' names to the class so that all students can say the correct pronunciation. Offer one-on-one assistance when possible Some ELLs may not answer voluntarily in class or ask for your help even if they need it. ELLs may smile and nod, but this does not necessarily mean that they understand. Go over to their desk to offer individual coaching in a friendly way. For convenience, it may be helpful to seat ELLs near your desk. Assign a peer partner Identify a classmate who really wants to help your ELL as a peer. This student can make sure that the ELL understands what he or she is supposed to do. It will be even more helpful if the peer partner knows the ELL's first language. Post a visual daily schedule Even if ELLs do not yet understand all of the words that you speak, it is possible for them to understand the structure of each day. Whether through chalkboard art or images on Velcro, you can post the daily schedule each morning. By writing down

times and having pictures next to words like lunch, wash hands, math, and field trip, ELLs can have a general sense of the upcoming day. Use an interpreter On-site interpreters can be very helpful in smoothing out misunderstandings that arise due to communication problems and cultural differences. If an on-site interpreter (a paid or volunteer school staff position) is not available, try to find an adult - perhaps another parent who is familiar with the school or "knows the system" who is willing to serve this purpose. In difficult situations, it would not be appropriate for another child to translate. ELLs can make unintentional "mistakes" as they are trying hard to adjust to a new cultural setting. They are constantly transferring what they know as acceptable behaviors from their own culture to the U.S. classroom and school. Be patient as ELLs learn English and adjust. Invite their culture into the classroom Encourage ELLs to share their language and culture with you and your class. Showand-tell is a good opportunity for ELLs to bring in something representative of their culture, if they wish. They could also tell a popular story or folktale using words, pictures, gestures, and movements. ELLs could also try to teach the class some words from their native language. Use materials related to your ELLs' cultures Children respond when they see books, topics, characters, and images that are familiar. Try to achieve a good balance of books and materials that include different cultures. Visit our recommended bilingual books section. Label classroom objects in both languages Labeling classroom objects will allow ELLs to better understand their immediate surroundings. These labels will also assist you when explaining or giving directions. Start with everyday items, such as "door/puerta," "book/libro," and "chair/silla." Include ELLs in a non-threatening manner Some ELLs may be apprehensive about speaking out in a group. They might be afraid to make mistakes in front of their peers. Their silence could also be a sign of respect for you as an authority and not a sign of their inability or refusal to participate. Find ways to involve ELLs in a non-threatening manner, such as through Total Physical Response activitiesand cooperative learning projects. Involve ELLs in cooperative learning Some ELLs are used to working cooperatively on assigned tasks. What may look like cheating to you is actually a culturally acquired learning style an attempt to mimic, see, or model what has to be done. Use this cultural trait as a plus in your classroom. Assign buddies or peer tutors so that ELLs are able to participate in all class activities. Also, check out these cooperative learning strategies you can use with ELLs. Help your ELLs follow established rules All students need to understand and follow your classroom rules from the very beginning, and ELLs are no exception. Teach them your classroom management

rules as soon as possible to avoid misunderstandings, discipline problems, and feelings of low self-esteem. Here are a few strategies that you can use in class: Use visuals like pictures, symbols, and reward systems to communicate your expectations in a positive and direct manner. Physically model language to ELLs in classroom routines and instructional activities. ELLs will need to see you or their peers model behavior when you want them to sit down, walk to the bulletin board, work with a partner, copy a word, etc. Be consistent and fair with all students. Once ELLs clearly understand what is expected, hold them equally accountable for their behavior.