Let's Embark on a Cultural Adventure in Your Classroom!
Updated: Jul 27
Today, we're diving into the vibrant world of different cultures and discussing why understanding and appreciating diversity is essential in creating a dynamic and enriching classroom environment. As a passionate advocate for incorporating arts and culture into the curriculum, I'm thrilled to share the top five practical tips and insights that will make this cultural adventure fun, relatable, and impactful!
Top 5 Strategies to try with your class right now:
1. Cultural Show-and-Tell:
The first option is to embrace your students' heritage and help them to know each other better. To foster an environment that shows appreciation to all races, religions, and most important, identities, it is important to give students a voice.
In this activity, you can encourage your students to share their cultural traditions, artifacts, or stories. Maybe you have a more diverse classroom that you can imagine!
Some helpful insights:
1. Put yourself out there! Show pictures of you family members, your parents and grandparents, ask your students to point similarities and differences between you and your relatives. This activity can be integrated with any subject: visual arts, if you ask students about colors, shades, tints and others aspects about the photographs; science and explain a little bit about what is a family tree; math if you decided to create a graphic to point out how many similarities and differences they can find; or even ELA or ESL if you focused on the names and last names that you and your family have!
2. Let your students to bring artifacts that they know that belongs to other members of the family and it is meaningful to them. Of course, we need to think about if it's a valuable object, maybe the student will not be allowed to bring it to school. In this case, ask if the parent can send a picture to you, and encourage the student to write the story.
3. Ask the students about stories that they heard from elder people in their families, and create a chart to put the stories into different categories, like fun, lovely, scary, mysterious, etc. Depending on the grade level, make sure to hear the story from the student prior to share with the entire class, to avoid surprises!
2. Virtual Field Trips:
This is an old but gold strategy. Since the pandemic, virtual field trips became a thing and made museums, art galleries and education institutions open their doors for teachers to explore, even without leaving their classrooms. Take your students on virtual journeys to different countries or communities. Explore their customs, art, music, and traditions through interactive platforms or multimedia resources.
Some helpful websites:
3. Art and Crafts:
Even not being a Visual Arts Teacher, you are able to integrate arts into your curriculum. There are many benefits of connecting arts and crafts with core subjects. Arts Integration provides an opportunity for students to engage with materials in a way that is different from traditional instruction. When you incorporate culturally diverse art projects into your curriculum, you give to your students a chance to foster creativity and appreciation to different techniques, and they can broaden their horizons to a new way to present a difficult subject, for example.
Some Arts and Crafts activities that you can get today:
4. Literature and Stories:
Multicultural Literature has many benefits: it sparks discussions, deepens empathy, and encourages students to embrace different perspectives. Using books, audiobooks or reading alouds that showcases diverse voices and experiences can help your students to recognize themselves in those stories and creates a classroom space where students will feel appreciated.
Take a look at our Multicultural Library and find a variety of books to include diversity into your classroom.
5. Food and Festivals:
One of the best ways to connect your entire school and advocate for more space and resources for your classroom is organizing a multicultural food tastings or celebrate a cultural festival. It provides a sensory experience that allows students to connect with different cultures through delicious flavors and engaging celebrations.
Search what festival fits your curriculum standards and make sure to be aligned with school policies. The same works for bringing food from outside. You need to reach our your administration and PT Team to have all the necessary information to make this activity runs smoothly.
Once you reached out other members, invite all of them to bring ingredients and recipes from their traditional heritage, and you can also create a notebook (or virtual document) to share with all the people involved.
Let's sprinkle in some evidence to support the benefits we've mentioned:
Research shows that exposing students to diverse cultures enhances their cognitive abilities, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving capacities (Banks, 2016).
In today's world, teachers hold a key role in creating inclusive and welcoming classrooms for students of all ages. No matter the grade level, it's crucial for teachers to embrace culturally responsive teaching methods. When you incorporate multiculturalism in your classroom, it gives you the opportunity to students from various backgrounds to shine, not just in terms of race and ethnicity, but also encompassing different religions, economic situations, sexual orientations, gender identities, and language proficiencies. It's a beautiful mix of uniqueness that teachers can celebrate and nurture, making learning an exciting adventure for everyone.
Let's dive into this cultural adventure and witness the transformative impact it will have on your classroom. Stay tuned for our upcoming newsletters, where we'll dive deeper into these strategies, share captivating stories, and provide you with valuable resources to make exploring different cultures a joyful experience.
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Wishing you a vibrant and culturally enriched teaching experience!
Passionate Educator and Advocate for Exploring Different Cultures
Banks, J. A. (2016). Cultural diversity and education: Foundations, curriculum, and teaching (6th ed.). Routledge.
Drexel University School of Education. (n.d.). Importance of Cultural Diversity in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://drexel.edu/soe/resources/student-teaching/advice/importance-of-cultural-diversity-in-classroom/