APPROACHES FOR TEACHERS
There are some defensible approaches that can be taken to stimulate substantive conversation between the students about cultures. This approaches encourage a cultural competence environment in schools, instead of just a cultural awareness (Higgins & Ventura, 2012). The first approaches is being able to confront and openly discuss differences. As children starts noticing the difference between themselves and their peers, chances are the child is just making a fact known. However, how a teacher response to it will turn these situations into learning opportunities. According to Higgins and Ventura (2012), an appropriate response by the educator consist of three important elements. The first element to the response should be acknowledgement. The teacher should acknowledge the difference a child has observed and validate it instead of opposing the difference. The second part of the response should be explain why this difference is apparent. The last element is to let the child be aware to having a more respectful and understanding attitude. The following is an example of the three elements used in a scenario:
Child: ‘Jessica always eat those black coloured long stringy things. They look like worms. Are they worms?’
Teacher’s response: ‘Yes, Jessica does like to eat those black coloured noodles, it is different from your sandwich. In fact, a lot of other students eat different foods too. Jamie is having spaghetti, while Jordan is having curry. There are lots of different types of food in the world and each country has its own special types of food. Jessica’s lunch is not worms but it is type of noodles, just like Jamie’s spaghetti, it is just covered in another sauce. It’s okay to be curious about food you might have never seen before, next time we could just ask Jessica to explain what it is. Did you know noodles was actually originated from China?’
In this scenario, it can be seen that the child was simply stating the fact that Jessica always have noodles but without having the right vocabulary to describe it, she assimilates what she can see with the closes thing she knows which are worms. The teacher uses the three elements to turn this observation into a learning opportunity for this child and her friends.
TEACHING THROUGH DIFFERENT APPROACHES
To overcome the issues brought up by Thomas (1995) about multicultural teaching, it is essential to teach through different approaches. Thomas (1995) raised an issue regarding how cultural influences the learning of immigrant children. It is mentioned that immigrant children who is used to a different education system might find it difficult to integrate into an unfamiliar teaching approach. For example, in Asian countries their teaching approaches are based on lecture approach and for Western countries uses more discussion and questioning approaches (Thomas, 1995). This may be uncomfortable for immigrant children to immediately be custom into this type of teaching styles. Due to their lack of language and unfamiliar education system, they might not strive in the Western teaching approaches. Thomas suggested to uses different styles of teaching to encourage an inclusion of multicultural teaching style. These teaching approaches can range from a flipped classroom, lecture approach, group and individual work.