Tip # 4:
Be aware of the variety of ways /methods students attain academicliteracy, and employ strategies for each.
Some students are embarrassed to identify what they do not understand, so offer multiple ways forthem to ask about aspects of the classroom culture. For example, facilitate communication byallowing students to first conference in groups about classroom procedures and then share theirconclusions with you. Or elicit information through student polls or written responses. You maywant to ask questions such
as, “Do you prefer
to work in a cooperative group or i
Tip # 5:
Consider alternatives to “U.S. or U.K. centric” choices when selecting
course readings and audiovisual materials.
Provide readings that are written in English by culturally diverse authors and not necessarily fromBritain or America. These are important resources that indirectly provide linguistic and cross-cultural explanations and demonstrate how language and culture are interrelated. Locate filmsabout world cultures and/or with cross-cultural themes to show in your classroom.
Tip # 6:
Have students design their own course materials.
Avoid depending heavily on ready-made course materials. Create an open-ended assignment that gets students to work in pairs to describe some aspect of their way of life for the benefit of theirforeign partners. Have the students design web sites or make individual or group presentations oncultural issues of relevance to them. This is most suitable for ESL (or mainstream) courses withhigher-proficiency L2 students.
Tip # 7:
Set aside time (before the start of a new semester/quarter) to reflect upon your own cultural values and biases.
Our own cultural assumptions can subtly but profoundly affect how inclusive a classroomenvironment feels. The following set of questions can serve as a heuristic:
Are classroom norms clear, so that if they are different from what students are used to at home or intheir communities, they are able to understand and negotiate alternative ways of being?
Have I examined the values embedded in my discipline that may confuse or disturb some students?
Are the examples I use to illustrate key points meaningful to and respectful of students?
Do I have creative and effective ways to learn about my students’ lives and interests?
Am I aware of nonverbal communication from a multicultural and cross-cultural perspective?