Providing little windows into our classrooms gives us an opportunity as educators around the world to teach each other our perspectives and stay connected in our profession. As teachers, we positively influence education by leading with a global perspective. We can advance educational opportunities for the next generation by exposing differences among cultures and by teaching others how to embrace these differences. As we empower the next generation to be global-minded citizens, our role as teachers evolve around the world. We now have the opportunity to be empathetic, understanding and empower our student voices. In researching for this article, I have kept unity, peace, and global development as the core values. This, I feel, allows us as a human race to build relationships with each other and share best practices as educators. Race is a socially constructed concept therefore in this article the focus has been shifted to culture, religion, languages and gaining a deeper understanding for the importance of our unique voices as individuals. I value the concepts of racism, racial bias, discrimination and colourism that can be brought into the topic as we look at culture through the lens of race. Valuing the lived experience is the most important when we understand that our skin colour somehow really does matter and should be seen and noticed. Moreover skin colour will continue to play a significant role in the lives we lead.
The classrooms we teach today and in the future will become more diverse as the world population changes over the generations. Through immigration and displacement due to conflicts there have been multiple generations of mixed racial groups throughout the years. This is mirrored in our classrooms and in communities. An important consideration from the Century Foundation (2016) research states that it is essential to consider the advantages of research in educating children in diverse communities this day-in-age. It definitely is a trend around the globe to see racialized children in all classrooms in our generation.
Staying Connected as Global Educators
Wouldn’t it be phenomenal to be connected as a global teacher network, see each other’s classrooms, embrace diversity perspectives and learn about lessons that our classrooms hold?
Start a global cultural revolution where teachers can see other perspectives and genuinely make connections?
Create opportunities to share our daily work, the challenges and obstacles we face teaching in our communities, and how we make a difference in our neighbourhoods by being involved and advocating to make a difference?
How do we keep EQUITY at the heart of our instructions?
Give every single student in your classroom the opportunity to be successful in their own way. Eliminate the barriers, take away the obstacles and instead provide them with the opportunity to become the leader that they are meant to be.
- Look at teaching with a positive mindset and provide opportunities to reflect on global peace, the students you teach, and the community you serve.
- Examine implicit biases. Consider reflecting on how you will address them. Understand that no one is perfect, and that you will have biases that you will have to learn to unlearn.
- Teach skills of resilience, and not giving up since everyone has a struggle, and ups and downs. The path is not always straight or easy.
Equity allows us to look at a situation and level the playing field so that every student’s voice is heard and considered prior to planning instruction, organizing a field trip, giving leadership opportunities and providing them with the opportunity to succeed.
When it comes to equity and equality there is no debate. Don’t ever hesitate to treat each individual student in your classroom differently so that they can be successful, and learn with opportunities to ensure that they can attain success. Through differentiation, modification and accommodations individual barriers that students face are eliminated in classrooms.
When you are speaking for someone else, consider their perspectives and listen to ensure that their voice is heard and understood.
We all teach in different communities, and I think that it is invaluable to see them, connect them and advocate for them all because that is how we are successful as a global community.
Learning about world cultures means accepting DIFFERENCES!
Learning how to accept differences, be understanding towards all religions, cultural backgrounds and accept and value diversity no matter which country we live in should be the core value. No matter which language we speak, we need to value humanity and in order to be inclusive, to consider embedding peace as an idea into the curriculum that we teach daily. What makes us different is what will connect us to others to find common ground and to dig deeper into understanding the historic points of view on race relation concepts.
The following three books were selected from my classroom library. I have taught with them and I share reflection questions with you: I hope it inspires some awesome global minded conversations in your classrooms. My goal is to ignite courageous conversations about the importance of learning and valuing differences in society. Research from the American School of Research states that teachers need to gain a better understanding of diversity and how to create inclusive spaces in their classrooms. To be inclusive, consider valuing differences, empowering others by being equity oriented and being open minded since we as educators will learn along the way from each other. Here are three picture book recommendations to spark courageous conversations in classrooms.
I am Peace (Author: Susan Verde)
It is hopeful that our world will remain peaceful one day at a time as we learn from the historical events that have occurred. These events can teach us to maintain peace and harmony and avoid conflicts in the countries that we teach in.
- What is our responsibility to teach peace education?
- How do we teach unity and acceptance of differences to our students?
- How do we address implicit bias?
For Every Child (Author: Unicef)
I love this book because it gives voice to the children and introduces Human Rights of all children that we can bring into our classrooms and apply to our daily practise as we teach children’s rights!
- What are the human rights for all children as we as educators teach children who have been exposed to civil wars, conflict and learn to accept differences?
- How do we emotionally support children to ensure their rights are respected?
- What is our role as an educator to give students the ability to succeed by eliminating barriers in the way so they learn how to be resilient?
If the World were a Village (Author: David J. Smith)
This book brings it all together by teaching perspectives on privilege vs. needs of others in our world as well as how global citizenship is imperative, in order to stay connected as a group of educators move humanity forward.
- Why is there a concept of developing nations vs. developed nations?
- What impact of the colonization era do we have today?
- How can we seek global solutions where all perspectives are considered when making decisions?
Classrooms around the world look very different and we are empowering the future leaders, the creators and citizens to consider global perspectives when problem solving and coming up with innovative solutions to global issues. As teachers, currently teaching online we can include the cultural heritage of students in a given school year to be inclusive in our programing. We can create the spaces required to expose the differences that we bring with us into our communities. The different languages we speak, religious backgrounds we hold, the traditions and cultural heritage become an opportunity to learn from an asset based mindframe.
American University. “Benefits of Inclusion”. Retrieved from https://soeonline.american.edu/blog/benefits-of-inclusion-and-diversity-in-the-classroom
Eakins, Dr. Sheldon L. “Teaching Through a Culturally Diverse Lens”. Leading Equity Center. “Teaching Through a Culturally Diverse Lens” coursework. Retrieved from https://www.leadingequitycenter.com
Ratwatte-Henstridge, Delani Nilmini. (2021). “Three Qualities to possess as an educator”. Teach Better Blog. Retrieved from https://www.teachbetter.com/blog/three-qualities-to-possess-as-an-educator/
Wells, Amy S. & Cordova-Cobo, D. (2016). “Racially diverse schools and Classrooms”. The Century Foundation. Retrieved from https://tcf.org/content/report/how-racially-diverse-schools-and-classrooms-can-benefit-all-students/? agreed=1&session=1&session=1