Why is it important for teachers to discern the cultural differences among their students? What are some things that a teacher can do to learn more about the cultures of their learners? How could this influence lesson planning?
Hi there! Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question!
Most of my answer is based on the book by Davis, B. G. (2009). Tools for teaching: John Wiley & Sons. Chapter 5: Diversity and Complexity in the Classroom: Considerations of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender.
Underrepresented students can experience a wide range of bias and discrimination during their education. These discriminations might be subtle and even unintentional, but can still affect the academic performance of the student. Understanding and discerning the cultural differences can help prevent these situations.
There is no specific formula a teacher should follow, but being informed is always the first step. Teachers have to be proactive, try to recognize their own biases and double standards. Teachers should treat the students as individuals, and make no assumptions about the students' backgrounds (especially avoiding making assumptions that relates to the students' race, or skin color or gender).
Finally, all these steps can be incorporated into the lesson plan by small careful insertions. For example, when introducing a word problem in mathematics, it is important to use both male and female names. When giving general examples, one can alternate between "he" and "she" to be gender inclusive. The last step is to be very careful about terminology in referring to cultural groups such as "African Americans", or "Hispanic" vs "Latino". These are small considerations that can be carefully included into lesson plans, to create a more culturally aware learning environment
Please let me know if you need any clarification. Always glad to help!
Aug 26th, 2015
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