Teaching with a Multicultural Perspective
When I stand before my classroom, the faces looking back at me do not look like my own. Often, this is the case in most middle class classroom where teachers try to bridge the difference with an embrace of ‘color’ blindness or emphasizing treating others the way we would want to be treated. Regardless of the approach teachers take when dealing with a multicultural class, the truth is culture does matter. It’s not just about language, but about lived experiences, background knowledge, and linking them to current curriculum in the classroom.
This allows discovering many different perspectives within different cultures indicating that there are many acceptable views and examples. In the article “Teaching with a Multicultural Perspective,” by Rey Gomez, stereotypes often are developed within the classroom when they recognize differences amongst their peers. Gomez continued to say that students continue to make connections between their home life and school groups supported by negative stereotypes and opinions. I believe it is important as a teacher in a multicultural community to help diminish or avoid the onset of stereotypes by integrating a variety of activities.
Activities could include working in groups that are diverse in culture and ethnicity which allows for students to collaborate and share their personal ideas and explanations. In biology, I am able to present Genetics with a multicultural perspective such as Gomez’s example under ‘Dispelling the Myths’. I believe students find it unique and personal to be able to identify their differences between each other through the sharing of genetic traits that create them to be who they are. Students are able to expand their knowledge beyond their own culture or ethnicity by sharing the uniqueness of traits within different cultures.
Students now receive explanations of why there are differences and are more likely to rid the stereotype. In science it is easy for me to take an approach that all ethnic and cultural differences, that cause the stereotypes, really aren’t all that different from one another. Students begin to see that everyone inherits all the same genes but express some differences and now they understand why there is such diversity in our society. The stereotypes are often just a lack of education and exposure to the true explanation of nature.