Ways to Improve as a Multicultural Educator
Multicultural educators can improve in three primary areas:
- Awareness of self
- Knowledge and appreciation of others' cultures
- Use of effective classroom skills
AWARENESS OF SELF
The way we view the world impacts the ways we treat our students. Educators may unwittingly further the inequitable treatment of students because of personal biases or judgments they passively place on some of them. The following help us to become more self-aware:
- Understand that our own preferences and expectations do bias us.
- Be aware of how our biases impact our relationships with others.
- Reflect on how our past experiences influence the way we see other people.
- Accept and invite critique from colleagues, both positive and negative.
- Build relationships with people from a variety of cultures and learn from them.
- Recall our own student learning experiences, both positive and negative, to gain insight into how these experiences affect our current teaching practices.
- Recognize that all people are similar to and different from others.
APPRECIATION OF OTHERS' CULTURES
- Desire to learn about others' experiences.
- Reject 'color blindness' as a goal. We are not all the same. We are similar in many ways, but we have some positive differences based on heritage and experiences.
- Understand power dynamics. We react differently in a room full of people who are like us than in a room full of people who are different from us.
- Try to understand others' misjudgments. Others may hold opinions of you, based on their past experiences, which may or may not be true. Do not take these judgments personally if they are based on experiences you did not create.
- See the whole picture. Students display and understand their skills and knowledge in a variety of ways—not always your way.
- Understand the motives and reasons behind others' behavior. You're likely to be wrong when you try to judge why people do what they do.
USE OF EFFECTIVE CLASSROOM SKILLS
- Pronounce every student's name correctly.
- Talk openly about issues of culture and heritage that are brought up in the classroom. Don't dismiss important topics just because they may be uncomfortable for you.
- Welcome constructive criticism from students; be willing to make changes accordingly.
- Model active listening skills.
- Use varied teaching styles. Accommodate different learning styles.
- Critically evaluate sources of information, including information from your own instruction.
- Monitor and facilitate equity among students of different races, genders, religions, etc.
The points on this page were adapted from Paul Gorski's 20 (Self-) Critical Things I Will Do to Be a Better Multicultural Educator .
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