A typical classroom consists of students with different backgrounds, races, religions, and cultural identities. These differences can make learning together in the same space difficult for students and, in turn, jeopardize your efforts as a teacher. However, you can avoid such by creating a culturally inclusive classroom - one that is closely-knitted in diversity. Wondering how to do so? Don't worry. We got you covered. This article explains—in detail—the meaning of a culturally inclusive classroom, its benefits, and how to create one by leveraging technology.
What is a Culturally Inclusive Classroom
A culturally inclusive classroom is a classroom that upholds the cultures, values, and linguistic preferences of its students in all aspects of learning. In other words, a culturally inclusive classroom is conducive to diverse ethnic and religious groups.
The primary essence of a culturally inclusive classroom is to ensure students do not face any form of discrimination or harassment based on their ethnic or religious affiliations.
How to Use Technology to Create a Culturally Inclusive Classroom
We believe you must have identified your students' cultural and religious backgrounds via their personal information provided upon registration into the school. So, here are ways to create a culturally inclusive classroom using technology.
Create or translate lesson content for major ethnic groups
While English is a universal language, presenting lessons in other languages is a great way to acknowledge the roots of your students. For example: if the major ethnic groups in your class are Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba, you can create the lesson content in the English language and use tools like Google Translate, iTranslate, or Stars21 to translate it to their languages. You can also have different sessions for each language, but it is best to encourage students to participate in all sessions. This will help them learn to communicate in other languages.
Take students on virtual field trips
Visualizing life from different cultural perspectives helps students appreciate their differences. This is why taking them on virtual trips is a great option for creating a culturally inclusive classroom. Virtual field trips provide a digital view of any geographical area through pictures, videos, audio, and animations. For example, virtually visiting the Northern part of Nigeria helps them see the natural attributes of the region, types of foods, and other cultural practices. Some EdTech tools to use are Discovery Education, Google Arts and Culture, or Google Earth.
Promoting collaboration among students is an effective way to help them learn to thrive in the same environment irrespective of cultural differences. They get to learn about their backgrounds and work together on projects. You can use EdTech tools like Google Hangouts, ePals, or Skype. While using any of these tools, they could discuss the unique things they like about each religion or ethnic group, their foods, and their dress style. You can also provide real-time feedback via the comment section or screencasting.
Benefits of a Culturally Inclusive Classroom
Helps students gain proficiency in other languages for effective communication.
It fosters unity in diversity.
Increases students’ sense of belonging
It helps correct cultural biases and stereotypes from an early age.
A culturally inclusive classroom is an effective tool for nation-building.
Another salient tip to creating a culturally inclusive classroom is dealing with your biases as a teacher. Irrespective of your lesson content and strategies, endeavor not to discriminate among your students because they learn from your actions. Finally, a culturally inclusive classroom empowers children to become responsible adults and contribute to nation-building. So, do not take it for granted.