Willingness to talk about race can foster inclusiveness in multicultural classrooms
- Recent research indicates that a sense of psychological safety — ” a sense of confidence that members of a group will not be embarrassed, rejected, punished, or ridiculed for speaking up” — is necessary for successful collaboration and innovation, GlobalEdToolkit.com creator Homa Tavanga writes for Edutopia.
- In public multicultural classrooms, this means that schools need to create a safe space to include students of various sexual orientations and ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds, a difficult task when over 80% of American teachers are white.
- Tavanga offers teachers and school leaders several strategies to create an inclusive school culture, including focusing on how you might personally experience deep empathy, building your social justice vocabulary, valuing diverse stories and perspectives, displaying class values prominently, learning to say unusual names correctly, and building global competence.
School is usually one of the first places where students learn how they fit in the global framework of society. They can begin to see themselves as victims or trend-setters, as weird or unique, as a part of something larger than themselves, or someone who is left out of the perceived social hierarchy.
Schools, especially those that have a strong multicultural presence, can affect a student’s perception of themselves and others around them. By creating a collaborative school culture that celebrates diversity in a psychologically safe environment, a school, like a business, can improve the performance of all involved
However, teachers and school leaders need to take extra measures to make this happen. Depending on their backgrounds, a teacher may need to educate themselves on social justice terminology and on the racial history of our country. They also need to explore ways to increase global competence in the classroom and discuss racial issues in an open and non-confrontational way. By taking these measures, schools can embrace the societal richness that comes from diversity instead of seeing it as a challenge to be overcome.
- Edutopia Creating an Inclusive Classroom