Blog #2 for week 5: How can teachers educate multicultural citizens?
Today in schools, children lack the knowledge and importance of multicultural and diversity. I believe that this involves teachers as well. I think that people only know their own about their own culture and what they do know could be very limited. I believe that it is very important for teachers to educate themselves about their cultural and their students’ culture so we can all educate each other about all cultures and to respect other cultures.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie demonstrates the importance of this in her TED talk speech called, “The Danger of a Single Story.” She states that when she grew up in Nigeria, she only had British and American books to read. As a result of her non diverse readings, her writings and art were about white children with blonde hair and blue eyes and they drank ginger beer even though she had no idea what it was. This is all because of a single story that she had growing up and preconceived notions about Caucasian people. This was not only a problem for her, but for her American college roommate. She did not know that the official language of Nigeria was English and that Chimamanda listened to other music besides tribal music, like Mariah Carey (Adichie, 2009.) This is all because of a single story and our preconceived notions about different cultures. This is all because of lack of proper reading materials and student involvement and proper teaching in the class about all the different cultures that they have in the classroom.
This is a problem that teachers need to be aware of when teaching. We need to be aware of different cultures in the classroom and to make sure that students help teach others about other cultures so we do not have a single story but everybody else’s story. We also need to make sure that we do not bring our single stories to the classroom. In order to make sure to not only teach students about other cultures but we need, “to engage students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, we must see them as capable learners.” (Villegas & Lucas, 2007.) We need to know the students backgrounds. We need to make sure that they feel valued and that they know that they offer so much to the class. I feel that this is very true and I wish that I experienced this when I lived in Switzerland for a year and attended a French public school. It was very hard for me because I did not know the language. There was no communication between my classmates and I, and I felt very alone. Nobody knew my talents and I did not feel that I learned anything that year because of the language barrier. They only knew me as the American who did not know French. Students should not feel this way. Everyone should feel valued and commended for their skills and talents.
In order for students to feel valued and willing to be more engaged and participate with the class students you need to build a relationship and rapport with your students in order to have trust with them and that you are the teacher and you are there to help them learn and exceed at everything. Herbert Kohl gives a great example of a student who was perceived to not be able to read at all and got upset every time he was asked to read. The next year his teacher learned that this was a learned behavior and that he was more than capable of reading and because the teacher took the time to figure out what was going on and spend time working with him; he was able to read and more importantly, enjoy it. (Kohl.) I feel that it very important for students. I want them to know that school is not just a place to learn a bunch of things that they do not feel is important, but that learning all these things can be fun and enjoyable.
C Adichie. (2009, Oct). The danger of a single story. Retrieved from
Kohl, H. (1992). I won’t learn from you!: Thoughts on the role of assent in learning. Rethinking
schools, 7(1), 16-19.
Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2007). The culturally responsive teacher.Educational Leadership, 64(6), 28-33.