The Importance of Celebrating Different Cultures and Diversity in the Classroom
As an educator, one of the most important lessons you will ever teach is about diversity. Did you know that being culturally aware can have a significant affect on your student’s success? “Diverse classrooms promote creativity, high level thinking, and collaboration.” Our classrooms represent different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicity, language, religion, and physical ability. Being diverse is defined as all the ways we are alike and different. You may be wondering why this is such a significant lesson for children to learn.
As educators here are some reasons behind the importance of celebrating different cultures in the classroom.
- It is important for students to be culturally aware. Learning about other cultures, languages, religions, and holidays aside from their own will help children learn that their classmates may be very different from them. Being culturally aware is a wonderful way to promote inclusion for all in your classroom.
- It is important for students to appreciate cultural differences. In addition to being aware of the fact that their peers may be different, it’s also important for kids to learn about some of the unique and amazing things that come from other cultures and ways of life.
- It is important for students to overcome stereotypes. Celebrating different cultures will bring to light new thinking and understanding. Students need to understand there is never a right or wrong way- what is ok is that we are all different and we learn and grow together. This type of learning will encourage students to be creative thinkers.
Ways to promote culture in your school:
- Projects and Research: Creating projects that promote different holidays, religion, culture. We used these activities to learn more about each culture and celebrate them. During the holiday season is a great time to research different Holidays Around the World, and Celebrations. Different cultures celebrate differently and being aware and inclusive is important. Click here to see more about these projects.
- Allow students to share: Student love to be the experts and allowing them to share and feel excited to share will bring a positive climate to your classroom. Many times, even the shyest students will want to share with their classmates about their culture because they are EXPERTS and feel proud of it.
- Reading Books About Diversity: Reading books that celebrate different cultures. Reading books allows the voice of the culture to be heard and also you are able to show pictures and images from the different cultures. Here is a few of my favorite books celebrating diversity: What If?: Short Stories to Spark Diversity Dialogue , Happy in Our Skin , Last Stop on Market Street , Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes , It’s Okay To Be Different
- Around the World Festivals and celebrations: Having culture fairs will involve the community and show the students that each and every culture is important. Students can dress up in their culture’s attire, food from each culture is brought, music and other customs are represented. We call it “Around the World Celebration.”
- Express and Show Interest: As a teacher it is important to communicate an interest in your student’s culture. You can provide student surveys to gather information. However, an approach that many teachers take are talking to students one on one and learning more about the student. Building that relationship will have a positive long-lasting effect on both the student and yourself. Note: An important part of this is understanding and pronouncing student’s diverse names correctly.
These are just some of the reasons why it’s so important to celebrate different cultures in the classroom. It helps build tolerance, curiosity and respect for others. The more students are aware of other cultures, the more able they will be to recognize the beauty of diversity!
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