Australia has a strong immigration history and Sydney is home to a large range of cultures from all around the globe. It’s crucial that early childhood teachers support and validate the cultures of children with a multicultural heritage in any learning environment. The culturally responsive teaching method responds to the cultures of students and incorporates their traditions and practices in multiple facets of learning. The culturally responsive teaching approach also encourages early childhood teachers to expect high achievements from children, no matter where their heritage lies.
The effects of the culturally responsive teaching approach include more engagement from children, higher levels of motivation and a more profound connection to the learning process. Teaching strategies in the culturally responsive teaching approach are focused on incorporating learning resources from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, strategies aim to build good relationships with parents so that early childhood education is continued to great effect at home. Teachers are encouraged to learn about global cultures themselves in order to gain perspective on ethics, morals and values different from their own.
Global Learning Resources
During literacy lessons, where children are learning to read and write, it’s important to expose students to content from around the world. Books that are representative of children’s heritage will give them the chance to shift from a single cultural viewpoint and learn a global perspective. Expose children to multiple languages and let children help you pronounce words when reading bilingual books. This helps them feel valued and gives them a sense of contribution to the learning environment.
During times of transition, in between lessons, it can be a good idea to play music that reflects a child’s community. Contemporary learning experiences can be enhanced by playing music that is popular at home in an early learning environment.
If representation is used at any time, for example, during numeracy lessons, try to use objects that are familiar to children from a different cultural background. Shells, coins and other household items can be used to teach numeracy. Using objects from other cultures helps children with a non-Australian heritage engage in subjects that they may be initially resistant to.
Fostering Relationships With Parents
Culturally responsive teaching can be augmented by developing a positive relationships with parents from a foreign background. One method of nurturing a relationship with children’s parents is to distribute a survey at the beginning of the semester to ask about language, technology use and family activities at home. Surveys can be made available in multiple languages. Translations of homework can be given to children whose parents struggle with English at home. Invite parents to participate in activities and excursions you’re hosting. All of this will foster a respect for your teaching method and will help kids engage to a greater degree at home.
Teachers, Become Students
Teachers should learn a few words and phrases from children’s native language to assist in communicating with parents. Frequently review books, podcasts and articles that describe the ways issues of gender roles, ethnic differences and bias in non-Australian communities. This provides a foundation for a culturally responsive teaching method.
Being culturally responsive helps teachers stay flexible and adaptable and create meaningful learning experiences for children. Culturally responsive teachers bring out the value found in other cultures and develops a positive attitude to learning in children, their families and their communities.