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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Embracing differences can only be a change for the better

By Anita GonzalezSpecial to CSMS magazineMulticulturalism is a huge thing in the United States. Everyone in America has roots in another country; therefore everyone is part of more then one culture. Some citizens have a harder time adapting to being “American” because they experience a drastic change in culture throughout a typical day. For example, many families in South Florida are of Hispanic decent. Some of these families use Spanish as their first language in the house. Children in such families speak Spanish at home and English during school. This could be a difficult adjustment, especially if the student is young. Being multicultural, however, means that no one has to give up any part of their culture. It is adding to one’s own culture and forming a new, personal culture, which is a crossbreed of all the cultures that have impacted one’s life.            Being multicultural is an excellent way to feel more involved in the community. A person who has knowledge of other cultures can share that knowledge with the community. Children in school may feel out of place because they belong to more then one culture, but they should learn to embrace all their experiences and realize they are better off being part of more then one culture. This realization, however, will not set in until the child is older. Being young, a child may feel he/she does not fit in. As a teacher, I would try to embrace all my students’ differences and teach tolerance. This way everyone would feel comfortable in my classroom.Religious views shape our ideas about reality. There are many different religions in the United States. Understanding the religious aspect of a particular co-culture’s lifestyle might help in teaching ESOL students from that cultural heritage.  It is important to understand students’ beliefs and backgrounds before attempting to teach them. Some families hold Religious views very highly. If a teacher says something to offend a particular religion, a student who believes in that religion will most likely shutdown. For example, Christians are against abortion. If a teacher in a health class was to say a woman should definitely have an abortion with out first considering other options, a Christian student may disregard everything else the teacher has to say because that one statement did not match her beliefs.As a teacher, it is extremely important to watch what you say to your class. You should never offend anyone with the things taught or said in the classroom. Teachers must be people- pleasers to keep the community happy. Racism and biasness should, under no circumstances, be reflected in a lecture.Note: Anita Gonzalez is an ESOL teacher from the Broward County School District. She wrote this piece exclusively for CSMS Magazine.  Also see Cultures from other countries as opposed to my own invented culture

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