Our world is an ever-evolving place, and the classroom is no exception. With various ethnicities in any one class, language barriers come to exist, as students struggle to stay abreast of assignments and new concepts. More than differences in language are cultural disparities. However, diversity doesn’t have to be viewed as an obstacle; it can and should be acknowledged by teachers as they encourage students to embrace it, regardless of age bracket or location.
Studies show that students learn more effectively when they feel included. Teachers are the foremost entity to establish this inclusivity. It is their responsibility to familiarize themselves with the cultural differences that may exist within their class, and maintain a sensitivity to them. As noted by Timmons-Brown and Warner in their article on culture in math pedagogy:
Culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) has the potential to empower students’ learning and to generate high levels of success among racially and ethnically diverse student populations.
The thought process extends far beyond mathematics, as students begin to understand and value the points of view of their peers. They are more motivated to do their best when they feel comfortable expressing their opinions, and feel they are viewed as equal amongst their classmates. Intrinsic motivation is key to student success in any classroom.
Classrooms can be made more culturally relevant with relative ease. Including content in lessons from multiethnic public figures, career-people, and historical figures – just to name a few – subtly diversifies the classroom, allowing students to understand and appreciate the capabilities and accomplishments of all cultures.
Subsequent open-mindedness of different cultures follows students long after school ends and into their careers, a powerful asset to possess in the modern workplace.
Genius Plaza aims to maintain cultural relevance in all our lessons, communication, and professional development sessions for teachers. We recognize the necessity of this in all facets of education, from content creation in our diverse offices, to content presentation and use in schools everywhere.
Cultural relevance stems from the individual, but spans further, leading to social responsibility and societal understanding. It is a must in education, and in the world overall.