Addressing the Needs of a Multicultural Classroom

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In teaching a diverse classroom, the educator is committed to providing a well-balanced plan that empowers students toachieve their highest potential, which in turn demands an equal, fair, and a culture-sensitive teaching-learning process. This process involves specific teaching methods and practices that address the different needs of a multicultural environment. To successfully decide on teaching methods that facilitate students’ learning, a teacher must initially be familiar with the students, both as an individual and as a group (Burnette, 1999). These students will originate from varied backgrounds and may have different learning needs. A classroom may have students with different ethnic, cultural and religious beliefs, or may consist of immigrants who speak only their own native language. Some students may have a different sexual orientation. others may come from lower economic status, or have been raised by a single parent. Instances are also rampant when students have specific learning and physical disabilities that require special teaching provisions. At the beginning of the school year, it may prove beneficial for teachers to complete a student profile. The profile includes anecdotal records, questions that elicit helpful information regarding their individual backgrounds. Informal interviews may also help gain further information and build teacher-student rapport. Promoting Human Relations with Emphasis on Respect and Dignity Because the classroom environment influences effective learning, a teacher must ensure that all students feel welcomed and accepted. In an open and friendly environment, rules must be firmly set against oppressive remarks and verbal abuse that are highly discriminatory. While teaching general values such as human respect and justice may be vague, setting positive examples and providing reinforcement to positive behaviors may be effective. The way teachers relate with the students impacts the students’ confidence, outlook and their capacity to learn.