Teach English in Qianpu Zhen - Anqing Shi

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Cultural sensitivity in the classroomCultural Diversity is increasing in today?s schools and classrooms. One of the biggest challenges for teachers is how to modify the curriculum to meet student needs in relation to culture. A teacher in a culturally diverse classroom should try to enhance their own cultural sensitivity, they should attempt to shape the curriculum so that it is culturally responsive to students, and use cooperative, learner centered instruction. These practices, along with many others, are important for "making explicit connections between multicultural education and subject-and skill-based curriculum." Enhancing cultural sensitivity is the first step to accommodating students from diverse cultures in the classroom. "Cultural sensitivity requires that teachers interpret their students' behaviors within the cultural context of the student." Learning about the nuances and customs of a particular culture in addition to the artifacts of the culture is key to developing cultural sensitivity. Knowing the cultural background of students and developing cultural sensitivity will be a crucial part of teaching in the classroom. Teaching content is the ultimate result we as teachers must achieve; framing the content within the curriculum so that it is culturally responsive to the students in the classroom will ultimately make it more relevant. Children should feel valued and respected as their identity and culture will be respected and talked about within the preschool and primary school setting. Each child is an individual and their identity should be respected, teachers should be culturally aware and willing to be open to diversity and comfortable teaching this area in a child friendly way. Teachers should aim to provide an intercultural classroom. Identity and belonging is about children developing a positive sense of who they are, and feel that they are valued and respected as part of a family and community. (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, NCCA, 2009) Aistear, an irish curriculum framework for children celebrates ?early childhood as a time of being, and of enjoying and learning from experiences as they unfold. This early learning also lays important foundations for later learning. Because early childhood marks the beginning of children?s lifelong learning journeys.? (NCCA, 2009) This framework was developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in partnership with the early childhood sector. The framework is built upon the input of practitioners, children, parents, people in education and training, researchers, and policy makers. The framework provides adults with information that will help them to plan and provide enjoyable and challenging learning experiences for the children within the setting. Aistear was developed in order to encourage children?s growth and development as competent and confident learners. Aistear is being implemented into the early childhood sector on an incremental basis, and childcare settings are gradually adopting the curriculum framework. The NCCA identify four main themes in the framework: Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Communicating, and Exploring and Thinking (NCCA, 2009). These themes are not mutually exclusive or discrete areas; rather, they are interconnected elements in children?s learning and development. Aistear specifically identifies Identity and Belonging. It states that identity and belonging in this context is about the children developing a positive sense of who they are, feeling valued and respected. Children develop a sense of who they are from the moment they are born. Relationships that babies have with people, who care for them, play a huge part in forming their identities. Children will have a strong sense of belonging when they feel they have a secure relationship with particular people. When children have this sense of belonging they become emotionally strong, self-assured and they have the ability to deal with challenges and difficulties. The NCCA states that Identity and Belonging is important for the foundation of children?s learning and development. Identity and Belonging plays a significant role in the development of children, and should have some focused placed on it in order for practitioners to promote and develop it within the sector (NCCA, 2009). Appropriate materials are an important key to creating a culturally enriched environment. Children need to be provided with as much appropriate materials as possible in order for them to be less judgemental, and more culturally sensitive. In today?s world, due to the high population of cultural diversity within classrooms, it is extremely important that teachers teach themselves about cultural diversity and implement cultural sensitivity within the classroom in order to promote it and make it a normality to the children they teach.