If you applied for international school jobs in the Philippines and was accepted as a teacher or instructor, chances are you’d be dealing with students of different nationalities and cultures. A multicultural classroom could be a challenge on its own, but as a teacher, it’s up to you to properly manage a room filled with students of different backgrounds and then be able to maximize and put that to their and your advantage.
Be Aware of Your Students’ Cultural Background
The first step to teaching a multicultural classroom is to know the cultures; to be able to connect with your students and better facilitate their learning, you have to know them and their background. And, much more, you have to be sensitive about their beliefs, cultures, and customs. So as an instructor, it’s your job to be aware of your students’ background. You can have your students introduce themselves and share a little about their nationality and customs. That way, you’d be promoting cultural awareness and would serve as a learning opportunity for you and the class. You also have to be aware that a student’s background could also influence their personality and learning styles, so keep that in mind when planning your lessons and how you approach specific topics. Your lessons and how you tackle topics should be respectful and inclusive and should be culturally sensitive.
Show Interest and Showcase the Ethnic Background of Your Students
Now that you and your class know the different cultures and backgrounds in the classroom, you can proceed with having activities such as roleplaying or show-and-tells that give a real glimpse of the students’ diverse beliefs, traditions, and customs. This would allow you to promote not only understanding and acceptance of various cultures and backgrounds, but also encourage cultural appreciation and broaden the minds of your students. When you and your students are exposed to different cultures and beliefs, you’d be able to see the world in other people’s perspectives, thus opening your and your students’ minds and promoting critical thinking.
Make sure to Facilitate, not just Instruct
As a teacher, you have to go beyond mere instructions and teaching the curriculum. When dealing with a multicultural classroom, you have to be able to facilitate learning and create a nurturing environment for your students. An authoritarian or by-the-book approach in teaching may not be as effective as compared to having an interactive and safe environment for students to exchange ideas and opinions. For example, when you’re tackling literature or sharing stories, have your students share their interpretation of stories. Not only would it give insight as to what they learned, but could give a glimpse of their and their culture’s perspective on things. This would be much more appreciated by students as compared to instructing and enforcing a book’s interpretation of a story.
Be Wary of Language Concerns
One of the biggest challenges with international schools and multicultural classrooms is the language barrier. Although international schools often employ English as the primary language for the curriculum, you have to be aware of your student’s fluency in the language and be sensitive to the needs of non-native speakers. If you teach literature while assuming that everyone is fluent in English, chances are, some of your class would not be able to catch up and may even feel alienated. So when teaching, try to use simple English, and, for the benefit of non-English speaking students, explain or define words that you think may be advanced or unheard of for them.
Teaching a diverse and multicultural classroom can be daunting, but with the proper guidance and approach, it can be quite rewarding to both the students and the instructor. So make sure to keep these tips mind so that you could learning from each other, and provide your students with an excellent education and a wholesome school experience.