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Cultural sensitivity Issues in the classroomCultural sensitivity in the classroom is an issue that every teacher should be aware of. It is especially imperative for those who wish to teach abroad as classes are going to be either monolingual or multilingual. As someone who has been abroad and hopes to teach english abroad. I think it is a fair assessment that we have a responsibility to have some basic knowledge on the cultural differences in the country we plan to relocate in. If not, then how do we as teachers, plan to gain the respect of our students. I am not saying that students would have respect otherwise and nor am I saying that you need to be fluent in the language of the country you are teaching. I feel that respect should start with the teacher. As a teacher and as a human being we should treat others as how we would want to be treated. This will hopefully organically allow for cultural harmony but this is not always the case. There are however several ways to overcome culturally sensitive issues in the classroom. Classroom appearances: The first step toward ESL classroom and cultural sensitivity agreements is to create a learning environment that recognizes students? different cultures in a meaningful way (ESL Cultural and Classroom Sensitivity). This can easily be accomplished by using country maps, flags, and pictures to represent each nation in a positive way. A teacher could use this visual stimulation to create projects that will inspire students to become more interested in other nations. Culture Shock: Culture is made up of common things that members of a community learn from family, friends, media, literature, and even strangers. When a child moves to a new culture that is different from his/her own, it can be difficult to adjust to the new surroundings (Avitia and Helsel). There are different ways that children experience culture shock and it can have an impact on their class participation. Culture shock can leave a child sad, lonely, cause anxiety of being in a foreign place, they can have trouble concentrating, they might feel left out or misunderstood, and they might form a negative and one-sided view of the new culture. As the teacher we need to help the students feel comfortable with each other. When students do not understand something it can become a negative, so having them do a project about their culture and presenting it to the class will help them to be more open minded. This would hopefully lead to the students getting excited about other cultures and help to promote unity amongst the class. With students from multiple cultures you will undoubtedly have students with different accents. These students should be encouraged to participate in class dialogs and role-playing. Tongue twisters are a great activity for those who have difficulty with certain syllables. A teacher should never single out a student for a particular ethnic difference. If you attempt to favor or protect a given group of students by demanding less of them, you might undermine their self-esteem and their view of their abilities and competence (Hall and sandier, 1982). Our Students need to feel safe and valued if they are going to be vulnerable enough to learn (Avitia and Helsel). Encouraging Bicultural Students: Teachers should not only practice cultural sensitivity toward their students? native countries, but also encourage students to learn about their new culture (ESL Cultural and Classroom Sensitivity). This can be achieved through cultural immersion into activities such as visiting museums, art exhibits, and local historically significant locations. Another fun activity could be to discuss things that are similar or different from their culture, what things they miss, and what things do they now like. It is up to us as teacher to encourage our students to be comfortable in their new learning environment. If they are not then how can we expect them to be engaging in class activities? A well balance ESL curriculum will help both students and teachers overcome preconceived notions about different cultures to create a learning environment where all students are valued from their unique heritages (ESL Cultural and Classroom Sensitivity). Teachers who are sensitive to their students? unique cultures will be able to relate to the students more easily, leading to more successful instruction and more fulfilled students willing to embrace both a new language and a new culture (ESL Cultural and Classroom Sensitivity). The common experiences that students share shape their values, goals, perceptions and behavior. By being able to address cultural sensitivity in the classroom at an early age. We will be giving them a worldwide perspective that will be needed down the road in either the academic world or the professional world. Maricruz Avitia and Christina Helsel. ?the other Voices, Strategies for Working with english Language Learners.? Slideshare.net. March 9, 2009. http://www.slideshare.net/helselcm/other-voices-cultural-sensitivity-in-the-classroom ?ESL Classroom and Cultural Sensitivity.? esl.yourdictionary.com. http://esl.yourdictionary.com/lesson-plans/esl_classroom-and-cultural_sensitivity.html Hall, R. M., and Sandler, B. R. The Classroom Climate: A Chilly One for Women? Washington, D. C.: Association of American Colleges, 1982.