Successful multicultural experience in a virtual classroom

After setting up an online school or starting your first online course, you’ll enter a brave new world of educational challenges and will surely need a diverse teaching approach. To successfully create a multinational classroom, you’ll have to incorporate some working strategies that will help your online course and students.

Different cultures – different learning styles

Multicultural education is a progressive approach for transforming education based on educational equality and social justice. The components required in implementing a multicultural education are content integration, prejudice reduction, and an empowering school and social culture. These are all connected and all require attention as they relate to the efforts of conflict resolution in today’s world. Multicultural education cannot be taught in a textbook. It must be developed by each educator based on a particular student group.

The virtual classroom makes learning far more accessible, but also has some limitations. Current multinational educational realities make creating a supportive environment for learning extremely important for online educators. Instructors should strive to be aware of each student’s learning needs and to treat each student as an individual while building a multicultural classroom that enhances student learning.

To fully understand the significance of multiculturalism in the classroom, educators must first thoroughly examine their own cultural beliefs, values, and biases. Then they will be ready to begin learning about other cultures – to become familiar with their values, traditions, communication styles, learning preferences, contributions to society, and the relationship patterns of multinational students. While some of this education can be achieved by simply reading about cultural diversity, it is difficult to find a real substitute for genuine interaction and discourse with students from different cultures.

Interested in Foreign Language Teaching in the Virtual Classroom? Learn some tips here.

Benefits of a multicultural learning experience

Creating a positive multicultural e-learning experience for your online students should be a priority for every teacher in a diverse-nationality group. Studies show that the lack of cohesion between races, sexes, and cultures is due to mistrust, stereotyping, enclave deliberation, and language problems.

Multicultural e-learning environments allow people from all walks of life to freely discuss topics. They can share their ideas and opinions without the fear of being judged. As such, they are able to collaborate with their peers and benefit from one another’s experience.

Through multinational courses online learners can develop their skills and enhance their understanding by interacting with their peers. Cultural diversity and awareness helps online learners feel confident about who they are and what they have to offer. They understand that their unique backgrounds and talents will benefit the group as a whole. This empowers them to be their most authentic selves and to actively participate in the process.

Some of the other top benefits of a multicultural environment are:

  1. Increased understanding and respect for cultural differences
  2. Additional creative stimuli as a result of being exposed to different ideas and perspectives
  3. Learning or strengthening a second or third language
  4. Encouraged understanding and tolerance between groups
  5. Boosted curiosity due to diversity

Ten proven teaching strategies for your multicultural online course

  1. Be familiar with the learning styles of your students and treat each student as an individual.
  2. Enable role-playing with students to allow them to express and to examine their attitudes, beliefs, and feelings about prejudice and discrimination. Poetry, biography, and powerful fiction are excellent sources for both discussion and role-playing.
  3. Develop classroom activities to learn more about students, evaluate early feedback from classroom participants, and create a relationship of trust between instructor and student in order to contribute to the reciprocal learning process.
  4. Rely on questioning techniques that personally involve students. This will allow them to respond in a way that reflects their cultural diversity and that will expose their fellow students to those differences.
  5. Group students together for hands-on activities or projects in order to stimulate the exchange of knowledge between students who speak different languages.
  6. Give students an assignment that they can work on together so as to offer them an opportunity to build relationships and share skills.
  7. Use experiential learning: practicum hours, field trips, demonstrations, lab hours, or other activities.
  8. Use visuals in the classroom like photographs, artwork, drawings, and graphs to provide nonverbal methods that help learners find meaning and connect educational concepts with specific learning outcomes.
  9. Celebrate multiculturalism with different assignments involving family stories and traditions. All of these can play a significant role in gathering information about a students’ cultural heritage.
  10. Collaborate with other professionals and educators to ask questions, share experiences, and assist one another in order to create better multicultural learning environments.

The most important aspect when developing multicultural e-learning is knowing your audience. Conduct surveys and focus groups beforehand to delve into their backgrounds, preferences, and experience levels. This will help you cultivate a supportive multicultural environment that celebrates diversity.

 

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Tanya Ilieva has strong experience in journalism, advertising, creative copywriting and digital marketing. She has a PhD in Graphic design from Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication in Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Some of her creative works in advertising has been rewarded both in Bulgaria and abroad. Her fields of interest include: philosophy of language, semiotics, visual metaphors, linguistic.
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