A Positive Change in the Classroom
Previously published by Ashley Hooser on Linkedin in 2017
Are you looking to:
- Have zero stereotypes and prejudices between students in the classroom
- Help students have a world view of cultures
- Have learning a second language stick with students after graduation
- Change out the literature you have been using for years in the classroom
- See how discussion on literature in the classroom erases contention
- Build student self-esteem and motivation
- Increase confidence in student reading skills
- Change a school’s environment to appreciate diversity
- Improve the classroom environment?
You will be surprised to discover the answer can be very simple, especially for all these benefits and useful aspects within the educational system.
The Answer is Multicultural Literature!
Here is a quick overview of how this simple answer is relevant to these important issues and even recommendations on literature you can use in your classroom.
No More Stereotypes and Prejudices
With multiple cultures coming together to receive an education here in America, there are stereotypes and prejudices that come with the package. With a solution, such as using multicultural text in the classroom, it is necessary to reach all cultural backgrounds. By using multicultural text with students, a new focus on teaching can occur with the goal to develop intercultural competence of the language and culture being adapted to benefit students’ lives. This will attempt to value student’s home culture rather than converting them into a new culture. A new cultural identity can be formed along with their own personal identity they have grown into for years.
New Literature for the Classroom
Literature verses textbooks are already having a strong impact on children in their learning growth. Views on other’s lives and the joys and sorrows people go through are helping students be put in others shoes. Literature usage in the class is motivating students to learn and enjoy reading. Shirley Koeller’s research found that multicultural literature “fosters cultural and personal pride within students and promotes cultural awareness, tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding among students from diverse backgrounds. A wide range of literature that offers ideas and stories can promote interest in and greater sensitivity toward problems that have an impact on people’s lives.”
Many social studies and English classes have already developed a learning model to discuss literature and topics as a class. With discussions on multicultural literature, this helps to connect student learning to deeper learning. With different cultures coming together in classrooms today, discussions on cultural and sensitive topics can erase contention and judgment between the students.
Increasing Motivation, Self-esteem, and Helping Disruptive Students
Students coming from all cultural backgrounds have common issues develop such as lowered self-esteem, motivation goes down, become disruptive, and disrespect adults. An affiliation to an individual’s culture greatly influences their development in lifestyle choices, values, opinions, attitudes, and approaches to learning. Their self-esteem is essentially benefited from including multicultural works in their education. The school’s climate changes to appreciate diversity as well.
Good literature will inspire a sense of belonging and community in the classroom no matter the student’s physical ability, gender, and race. The literature will make them feel good about themselves as well as provide them with more incentive to read. The simple fact that good literature affects students in such a powerful way creates a better learning environment. Motivation is key for students! Anything to help them study and retain information will impact them the rest of their lives.
Increased Confidence in Student Reading Skills
The most surprising part of these studies was finding that the environment had a very direct and positive impact on students’ confidence in their reading skills. School academics show an increase in higher language arts and reading achievement because of the efforts to better an educational institution’s environment. One-aspect teachers can do to make this positive impact in their classrooms is through developing strong teacher to student and student-to-student interactions through class discussion on the text.
Multicultural Literature You Can Use In Your Classroom to Produce These Results
To give a nice big list for you to choose from for your individual lesson plans and curriculums, top readers and researches recommend these books:
As with all new lessons for a teacher, make sure you read up on these texts and make sure they are good references to better understand people, cultures, and history. Work as a team of educators to approve texts for the school if necessary. This is our student’s education and it can make a difference in their lives. Let multicultural literature be the change you are seeking in your classroom.