Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recognition and Celebration of individual students’ backgrounds and stories in the Classrooms

The background of my students and their diverse stories play an important part in the design and implementation of our learning activities.

When faced with a classroom of students from diverse backgrounds, I usually try integrating these differences into the learning materials. By creating learning materials that allow students to express their cultures this allows the others to understand them better.
Such learning materials usually include:

 Ms PowerPoint presentations highlighting:
o Names of different things in diverse languages,
o Counting (1 – 20) in different languages,
o Local foods of different tribes,
o Tenets of the various religious faiths,
o Dressing styles of different cultures.

 Bulleted/Numbered lists in Ms Word outlining different aspects of diverse cultures.

 Use of online search engines to learn about foreign cultures and lifestyles.

Apart using the learning materials to teach students about the pluralities of our cultural heritages, I regularly make sure there is one question in the weekly group homework that requires the students to learn something about another culture other than theirs. Examples of such questions could be: -
 Using nested lists, write out 5 important crops from different parts of Nigeria.

 Design a ‘Happy New Year’ greeting card with the words “HAPPY NEW YEAR” written on the card in 5 different local languages.

What amuses me is that the more the students get talking about their backgrounds and diverse cultures, the more you see previously strongly held misconceptions and prejudices being cleared up.

Another important feature of my classrooms is the cooperative group approach , which ensures that the students learn, and work together in a group. Strong relationships are built as a result of collaborating on the various learning activities. This relationship really breaks down many barriers among the students, you see many reclusive or shy students opening up and participating radiantly in learning activities.

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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi (mallamibro@gmail.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.