Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Aiding cohesion in multicultural classrooms starts with celebrating the presence of different cultures and the new things that they bring to the group. Learn how to create a welcoming multicultural classroom for young children and teach them to appreciate their different backgrounds. Updated: 11/30/2021

Multicultural Classroom

If you are a teacher, you may have noticed that your students are different in many ways. If you're not a teacher, trust me when I say that every single student is different. It's not a difficult thing to notice. One of the key differences among your students is their cultural background and upbringing. A classroom that embraces and celebrates these diverse cultural backgrounds is a multicultural classroom.

In this lesson, you will meet a teacher named Mr. Wade, a 4th grade teacher in St. Louis, who makes it a priority to create a safe and welcoming multicultural environment for every student. Through his story, you will learn you can make your own classroom a celebration of cultural diversity.

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  • 0:03 Multicultural Classroom
  • 0:44 Learn About the Students
  • 2:01 Diversity Every Day
  • 3:46 Encourage Sharing
  • 4:45 Educate Yourself
  • 5:09 Lesson Summary
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Learn About the Students

The first thing Mr. Wade does at the beginning of a school year is to get to know his students, their families, and their backgrounds or experiences. This takes some extra effort, but it pays off. By getting to know his students, Mr. Wade shows that he values each of them as an individual, including their backgrounds.

Mr. Wade plans some activities for the first few weeks of school where students can write about, talk about, and present information about themselves and their background. For example, Mr. Wade engages his students in a family tree project in which students are encouraged to learn as much as possible about their ancestors and backgrounds. Students then present their family tree to the class. This gives students the opportunity to see how diverse their backgrounds are and also gives Mr. Wade some insight into his students' lives.

Additionally, establishing a partnership with parents and families helps Mr. Wade learn about important holidays or events in his students' lives. Mr. Wade meets with parents as soon as he can, usually at back-to-school night. During this meeting, he learns as much as he can about parents and establishes an open communication policy. With such a diverse group of students, there are many different holidays being celebrated. Mr. Wade learns about these so each student feels like his or her experiences are important.

Diversity Every Day

Mr. Wade makes creating a safe multicultural classroom environment his top priority. One of the main ways he does this is by celebrating diversity every single day. This doesn't mean that his students share something about their culture or parents come in with food on a daily basis; it simply means that every day Mr. Wade makes sure to make every belief and value important. He carefully selects stories, videos, and materials that reflect different types of families, traditions, and belief systems. In doing this, Mr. Wade treats every story as valid, indicating that everyone is deserving of respect.

For example, Mr. Wade might have his students read a story about a single mother and her children. This family might look different to some students and familiar to others. However, Mr. Wade treats the story as he would any other story, indicating to students that many different family structures and value systems exist and should be treated equally.

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