Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Promoting Respect for Cultural Diversity in the Classroom

Taken from: Matthew Lynch, Ed.D. The Huffington Post

A primary goal of culturally responsive education is to help all students become respectful of the multitudes of cultures and people that they'll interact with once they exit the educational setting. This can be a daunting task for the educator, given that the world at large is infinitely more complex and diverse than the microcosmic environment that the student inhabits. In typical educational and social settings there is a marked tendency for students to exhibit classic in-group/out-group behaviors.

In general, most students are comfortable interacting with people, behaviors, and ideas that they are familiar with but react with fear and apprehension when faced with the unfamiliar. Among its other goals, culturally responsive instruction aims to teach students that differences in viewpoint and culture are to be cherished and appreciated rather than judged and feared. 

How might a culturally responsive educator push against human nature's natural aversion to the unknown and help students become more respectful of cultures with different ideas? The best way to combat this tendency is to provide students with ample evidence that people that don't look like them are, at the core, people just like them. Such a viewpoint can be taught by promoting a culture of learning from one another rather than a culture of passing judgment on differences in values and beliefs. Read more...