Intercultural Communication Plan for a Multicultural Class
The education field provides many unique challenges to educators and learners. Teachers have to deal with student absenteeism, tardiness, classroom management, creation of learning plans, and many other issues in creating a safe comfortable environment for learners to thrive in (Nissman, 2000). Today's globalized society has enabled populations to be filled with diversity. The modern teacher and learner must strive to overcome and conquer the challenges of diversity in the classroom. The profession of teaching is a challenge in itself, but the inclusion of English Language Learners, physically and mentally disabled children, autistic learners, and behavioral issues, the challenges of teaching can become overwhelming and cause disturbances in the learning.
The demographics of the community are an important element that teachers must take time to explore to understand his or her learners better; communities lacking diversity still needs the teachers to have a keen awareness in the cultural and learning needs of the students. The educator can look to the community for resources and services that are sensitive to culture, race, disabilities, and ethnicity. At some point communities and schools must support one another in an effort to promote a multicultural learning experience for a diverse community of learners. A bevy of multicultural techniques and strategies are available to help the educator create a diverse constructivist learning atmosphere.
Community Demographics and Cultural Predictions
The city of Cincinnati, Ohio has a stronger economy than most cities in the United States. Cincinnati may not be a flourishing economy, but they do very well because major corporations such as Procter & Gamble, The Kroger Company, Macy's Incorporated, American Financial Group, Convergys, Chiquita Brands International, Great American Insurance Company, The E.W. Scripts Company and many major financial institutions reside there (Ohio Means Business, 2011). The strength of the big businesses has helped the community's small and medium businesses and together is a vital part of Cincinnati's community and economy (Ohio Means Business, 2011). The average income in Cincinnati is 25,000-49,999, but despite signs of economic prosperity in a downtrodden global economy, Cincinnati is plagued with high rates of theft, property crime, robbery, and violence because of a poorer inner-city population (United States Census, 2011).
The 2010 Census reported 296,943 people residing in Cincinnati (United States Census, 2011). The population is very diverse. Forty-eight percent of the population was non-Hispanic white, 44.6% non-Hispanic Black or African America, 0.2% Indian and Alaska Native, 1.8% Asian, 1.5% Hispanic, and 0.1% Native Hawaiian (United States Census, 2011).
For such a diverse population, Cincinnati's school districts are reporting that the students have made tremendous strides in alcohol, tobacco, and drug awareness. According to a student drug-use survey Cincinnati's teenage learners had lower numbers in alcohol, tobacco, and drug use compared to the national averages (Drug Free Cincinnati, 2011). With the teenage learners in Cincinnati demonstrating a high awareness to issues plaguing most national students, teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are also not a major concern as compared to the national averages (Drug Free Cincinnati, 2011).
Cincinnati, Ohio Demographic Table- United States Censes for Cincinnati, Ohio- 2010
Average Household Income
Per Capita Income
Teenage Alcohol Use
Teenage Tobacco Use
Teenage Drug Use
National Average- 19.6%
Source: Data for illustration purposes only- Source U.S. Census
The above demographic information shows the diverse population in Cincinnati, Ohio. English is the primary language, but Spanish and other dialects are spoken at higher rates than before. The school-aged teenagers are below the national average in alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Diversity is a part of the population, but with the proper multicultural educational practices the students in Cincinnati are ready to meet and exceed the challenges of diversity in the classroom and within society.
Three Cases of Cultural Groups in my Classroom
The author works with a culturally diverse group of learners daily. The three groups are: 1) Learners who speak primarily Spanish, 2) Learners who are Asian, 3) Learners with physical disabilities. The challenges to educating at this time are: 1) Lacking of a full-time Spanish-speaking professional to assist the second language learners, 2) Having more than one Asian professional to help with the cultural and learning needs of the Asian students, 3) Not enough aides to work with the physically disabled learners.
The first group of culturally diverse learners the author has worked with is the students who speak primarily Spanish. According to Judith Lesson-Hurley students who are second language learners can often be shy and afraid to communicate in the classroom discourse (2003). This is a challenge for the teacher and the other learners; children recognize when a peer is struggling with learning the basic elements of a daily lesson. This situation can cause feelings of awkwardness and embarrassment to the second language learner (Lesson-Hurley, 2003). It is not a situation any learner would want to be a part of. According to education professor, Richard Kellough, the educator's job is to provide a classroom that allows all students to feel comfortable and safe to learn (2005). The school and the teachers have lobbied for and received a bi-lingual aide who can better assist the second language learners and offer advice to the teachers for ways to enhance the learning experience.
The second group of culturally diverse learners the author has worked with is the students who are Asian. The Asian learners are fluent in English and typically display strong communication skills. Many of the Asian learners experience trouble with the American culture and some of the children wish activities were more structured to his or her social norms. Social norms are the accepted behaviors within a society or group (Hechter, 2001). The curriculum is continually modified in an effort to incorporate the diverse population of learners in the school. The Asian learners have thought they were out of place and at times; this has affected his or her achievement level. The school has hired an Asian professional who can better relate to the cultural needs of the Asian learners; this step has helped the Asian children to become more accepting of the American culture. The professional has been beneficial; the ethnic food day she suggested was a big success as all the children had the opportunity to share some of his or her cultural beliefs with the class.
The third group of culturally diverse learners the author has worked with is the students who are physically disabled learners. Physically disabled learners encounter limitations with the use (s) of his or her limbs or a gross motor ability (Kirk, Gallagher, & Coleman, 2008). One of the challenges to working with physically disabled learners is that he or she needs a bevy of one-on-one attention (Kirk, Gallagher, & Coleman, 2008). The teacher is in a difficult position because the entire class is his or her responsibility. Learning aides are assigned to the physically disabled children. Sometimes a class can have multiple learning disabled children and only one aide to help them. Disruptions can occur in the learning process when the physically disabled learner (s) does not receive the required attention necessary. The school is in the process of trying to hire more learning aides; but in the meantime teachers are trying to help the learners and the aides in any way possible. The author and teachers assisting the aides has been somewhat beneficial, but this is not the long-term solution for mainstreamed academic success.
Community Resources and Social Services
Alliances between schools and the community can be created in a variety of ways. The community serving greater Cincinnati has many avenues in which schools and children can become active participants. The most important components of the programs are that the activities must appeal to the diversity of the student population. It is important for the schools to reach out to the community programs and vice-versa because students must be afforded social opportunities to grow and understand diversity at home, in the community, and in the classroom.
The community of Cincinnati has a wide variety of community resources and social services that encourage student and parent involvement in the school and inside the community. Here are the following resources and social services:
1. Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati- This is a social service organization that provides assistance and support to students and parents (Cincinnati and the Tristate, 2011). The organization offers operation school bell, learning together programs, and college starter kits (Cincinnati and the Tristate, 2011).
2. Boys and Girls Clubs of greater Cincinnati- The Boys and Girls Clubs offer afterschool and summer programs for children from the ages of six to 18 (Cincinnati and the…
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