The Perfect Classroom - Varsity Tutors Scholarship Essay
Close your eyes for a second and imagine the perfect classroom environment. This classroom would be a room filled with ambiance of success, independence, motivation and leadership. A student of any race, gender, learning strategy, financial situation ect. would be able to learn successfully. This student would be able to walk in, sit down and not be afraid of where they are at. They will not feel the need to be ashamed of their knowledge or lack of some. They will be motivated to attain more knowledge without hesitation. This would be my perfect classroom environment.
If I were to walk into this ideal classroom, the walls would be filled with motivational posters and quotes that serve as inspiration rather than a distraction or “escape” during a lecture or assignment. l will be able to look at one of the quotes or mottoes and say, “I can do this.” I will be able to feel and see at least a slight amount of encouragement when things get a bit tough. These posters will aid in boosting my self-esteem and give me a more positive out look on school. Instead of thinking of school as an 8 hour routine; I will see it more as 8 hours to better myself as a person and to strengthen and gain knowledge.
The set up of the classroom will be varied from individualized and more spacious to clustered group work and collaboration. I believe that every student has a different work ethic that fits best and will lead them to success. I for one work well individually and in a group. In some subject areas, I prefer to work individually because I am able to think to myself and clear my thoughts out on my own, as well as be self paced. However, in other subject areas I prefer to work as a collaborating group because I find it helpful to hear other ideas and opinions that can broaden my own and present other ideas that I hadn’t thought of and probably wouldn’t have without the collaboration. Both of these set ups would help in my education because I would learn how to be an independent worker and thinker as well as be able to communicate with others and be open minded. These few qualities would definitely help lead me to success in long term education as well as in my career.
The teacher would be one of the most vital aspects to my ideal classroom environment. He or she would be friendly and easy to talk to. A very sociable and congenial teacher would help in my success, because I wouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, make a mistake or intimidated. The teacher would relate the subject to ideas or events that are going on today that are easily relatable. This would help in my success because I will be able to to comprehend the knowledge better, which will help retain the information. He or she will be very knowledgeable in the subject area and not read verbatim from a power point or paper but explain thoroughly bullet points posted and ideas. This aspect would lead me to success, because I would be comfortable and trust the teacher to teach me the right information rather than spit out verbatim what is on the syllabus.
It isn’t impossible to come across well developed, ideal classroom environment, however it is a choice to make the best of where you are at. Whether you are at a school you enjoy greatly or not, education is education. Success will be granted and the outcome if you are willing to put in the income. The environment is merely an extra helping hand.
The focus of this assignment shall be on components of an ideal classroom. ‘Multicultural education and technology’ has been chosen as the subtitle of this assignment topic. This subtitle indicates that multicultural education is one of the key factors required for developing an ideal classroom. Theoretical frameworks have also been included in this assignment so as to provide clearer picture on impact of multicultural education. The entire assignment is divided under some sub-sections. They are ‘multicultural education and technology’, ‘theoretical frameworks’, ‘culture and educational collaboration’, comparison of educational structure in different countries’ and ‘effectiveness of advanced technology’. These subs-sections are centred towards multicultural education strategy. This strategy is not implemented in many countries due to varied reasons but it ensures productive results. Primary school pupils should be aware about basic cultural differences so that they do not develop negative attitude towards culturally diverse people. Intercultural conflict in later phase of life can be eradicated if pupils are provided with multicultural education. This assignment also encompasses comparison of educational frameworks in different countries. In this sub-section possibility of multicultural education can be effectively analysed. Flexibility in curriculum design is closely knitted with this innovative concept. School curriculum restructuring is at times considered as a way to implement multicultural education. Specific competencies are also key requisite because it helps teachers to accomplish set goals. Virtual learning platform has supported teachers to convey aim of multicultural education to pupils. This platform enhances efficiency level of the entire process and builds an ideal classroom.
This study would revolve around multicultural education and technology. Technology based equipments have enhanced effectiveness of curriculum design. Teachers as well as pupils benefit a lot from multicultural education. Cultural diversity should be taken into consideration by school authority. This in turn eliminates issues related to transforming education from one culture to another. Multicultural content is a comprehensive curriculum offered to pupils. Mono-cultural opinions or views restrict pupils from succeeding in future career path. The research topic would highlight various advantages linked with transforming school curriculum into a technology based multicultural environment. Teaching wide range of diversity values encompasses detrimental effect of sexism, racism, etc. The topic chosen for this study would explore two-fold purpose. It shall reflect upon multicultural education along with outlining impact of technology based tools on overall educational system. Workshops are also conducted in classrooms so as to observe behaviour between culturally diverse pupils. Teaching environment is greatly dependent on diverse groups. With passage of time, school curriculum design has also been upgraded. Curriculum currently is not only based on course materials or basic education but it even incorporates additional features like knowledge about cultural diversity. Social variables have an impact on decision making process and understanding level of pupils. Multicultural education is associated with incorporating native culture in the system. It is a form of peaceful education which is established within the system. Natural learning ability is enhanced through this approach and it is a way to promote respect for one another. Cultural knowledge is a key factor that contributes towards career development. Higher learning should incorporate acceptance and respect for culturally diverse pupils. Multicultural education is also supported by wide range of advanced technologies like tablets, virtual learning environment and computers. Technology enables better understanding on cultural dimensions in terms of local as well as international environment.
Multicultural education and technology
Multicultural education is one of the progressive approaches to transform educational system. Discriminatory practices in the field of education can be well addressed through this approach. The approach is based on education equity, learner’s potential, social awareness in global, local and national context and social justice. Multicultural education appreciates societal transformation and eradicates justice or oppression. There are certain principles which govern entire multicultural education. Development committee needs to review syllabus as per principles of this framework. Culturally inclusive subject matter should be chosen for structuring curriculum. This would comprise of divergent interpretations and opposing opinions. Unity within groups is the major objective of multicultural education. Ideal classroom can be designed only when pupils have wider knowledge regarding different cultural values, norms and beliefs. Subject matter to be included needs to be well aligned with place and time. From pre-school to class 12, multicultural initiatives should be incorporated in the curriculum. Pedagogy needs to comprise of wide array of interactive learning modes. Mutual learning based on advanced technology can be utilized to promote multicultural education. Cultural settings of all pupils are included in this innovative curriculum design. This helps in exploring wider set of cultural values. Building a safe classroom environment should be primary area of concern for any teacher. It can be considered as the major responsibility of primary class teachers since behavioural aspect is structured in initial stages of learning. Zero-tolerance policies have to be central component in designing safe environment. These policies help to encounter bullying, disrespect, racism and discrimination. All these factors are sufficient to disrupt learning environment of an individual. Each pupil belongs to different cultural background and so there are variations in their learning ability. Safe classroom environment enables them to be comfortable and even enter into a group discussion on various emotional aspects. Multicultural education has still not been introduced in many geographical regions. However this educational approach promotes democratic citizenship, human development, academic excellence and education equality. It is key responsibility of teachers to include multicultural education in curriculum design, school policymaking, etc. This aspect should be used while teaching science, social studies and mathematics. Mutual learning also is an important component to develop safe classroom environment. Advanced technology plays a critical role in order to facilitate mutual learning. Virtual learning environment is one of the most innovative platforms to initiate multicultural education. It is a web based platform where primary school teachers can directly communicate with pupils through emails, chats, blogs, etc (Williams, 2003). Curriculum can be shared on this platform and pupils can be grouped so as to participate in interactions or activities. Participation report and multiple assessment stage can be created with the support of this platform. Computers enable teachers to visually display diverse cultural entities and associate them with course framework. Technology based platform can utilize ethnic demographics to demonstrate mathematical concepts like greater than, less than, etc.
There are five different teaching approaches in order to address cultural diversity. The first approach indicates teaching culturally different and exceptional pupils. This relates to designing traditional classroom and curriculum so that pupils are able to succeed in existing society. The major job role of a teacher is to help culturally diverse pupils to adjust with a dominant cultural norm. Human relations are the second approach of the model. Interpersonal harmony is key objective of multicultural education. This approach facilitates improving communication and feelings in school as well as classroom. Third approach is termed as single group studies. It is an examination of identity or single culture group. This is centred towards improving conditions of a particular social group. Multicultural education is the fourth approach of this model. This approach is based on two important factors like cultural pluralism and equal opportunity. Privilege and power is addressed by teachers in classrooms to eradicate dominant hegemony. Teachers reflect upon injustice and ensure education equality for pupils. The fifth approach is education is social reconstructionist and multicultural. This approach incorporates necessary skills within pupils to develop a world that address full human diversity and is without oppression. Democratic schooling is all about nurturing social action skills. There are three multicultural frameworks like liberal multiculturalism, critical multiculturalism and conservative multiculturalism. Conservative multiculturalists are focused on equality. As per this framework, social mobility also initiates equality. This is facilitated when culturally different pupils acquire skills or knowledge needed for indulging into mainstream culture. Liberal multiculturalism is also known as human relations approach. It is focused on celebration of cultural difference and cultural pluralism. There is insufficient attention paid by liberal multiculturalists to control, power and privilege. Diversity programs in classroom encourage cultural differences and eradicate implications of such differences (Kagan and Chesnut, 1993). Critical multiculturalists associate educational equity with power relationship. Educators are influenced to efficiently work in socio-political context. Purpose of multicultural education is to understand orientation and values of real time practice. Teachers can be considered as the major factor in imparting multicultural education. Cultural competencies should be possessed by educators in order to enhance skills and knowledge base of pupils. These competencies are responsible for instructing pupils on cultural domain. There are six traits which should be present in all teachers introducing multicultural education. These traits are attitude to acknowledge all pupils belonging to different cultural background, socio-cultural conscience, closely identifying all pupils, acting as a change agent to transform society and school environment, and appropriate teaching style based on cultural aspects. The competency dimension for teachers in multicultural education has been highlighted in Appendix 1. There are three main dimensions which enable teachers to achieve objectives of multicultural education. First dimension reflects cultural competence components. They are awareness, attitude, knowledge and skills. On the other hand, second dimension outlines cultural competency contexts like social, personal, professional and institutional elements. The third dimension of the framework is inclined towards cultural competence foci such as transformation, socio-cultural perspectives and pupil teaching (Denby, Butroyd and Swift, 2008). These qualities in teachers helps to support pupils accomplish their academic goals. Teachers should explore opportunities related to understanding social, philosophical and cultural perspectives.
Culture and educational collaboration
Multicultural education is related to various cultural and ethnic groups. Irrelevant content is a major problem for teachers since they cannot relate curriculum with cultural aspects. A range of disciplines are required so that teachers can well understand intricacies of multicultural education. While implementing multicultural education there are certain dimensions which should be followed. They are content integration, prejudice reduction, knowledge construction process and equity pedagogy. All these dimensions work in collaboration to deliver desirable results in context of multicultural education. Content integration is closely knitted with designing a structure where information can be acquired from various cultures. Key concepts, theories, and principles regarding subject area are integrated within the framework. Cultural and ethical content are integrated with basic subject areas (Bannick and van Dam, 2007). Knowledge construction process is also encompassed within multicultural education framework. It is the degree to which teachers help pupils to determine impact of cultural assumptions on knowledge development process. Historical opinions can be explored by pupils so as to have proper knowledge about evolution of cultural differences. Westward movement or European discovery is some of the basic areas which can be studied. Prejudice reduction is another dimension of multicultural education. This indicates activities and lessons used by teachers to facilitate pupils develop attitude towards varying cultural, racial and ethnic groups. Children usually enter school premises with negative attitude towards particular culture or race. Teaching materials which consists study on diverse cultural background initiates positive intergroup attitude (Rao, 2005). There are specific cultural conditions adopted by multiculturalists so as to ensure that there is positive impact on pupils. These conditions are likely to be positive image of different cultural group, multiethnic course materials, etc. Positive interracial actions have to be developed in pupils so that there is no such barrier between pupils belonging to varying cultural background. Intergroup relations are improved only when certain conditions are efficiently accomplished. These conditions are cooperation, equal status, interpersonal interactions and sanction by authorities like administrators or teachers. These abilities play a key role in transforming school environment as a whole. Ideal classroom can be developed only when cultural barriers are completely eradicated and focus is on maintaining harmony. Subject areas when linked with ethnic values tend to create long term impact on pupil’s mind. It can be stated that multicultural education is a part of ‘hidden curriculum’. This form of curriculum cannot be published as primary course material but is important in terms of building democratic citizens. Equity pedagogy is also an essential factor in multicultural education. On the basis of this approach, teachers can effectively analyze their teaching styles. This analysis shall highlight whether specific style is being able to mitigate multicultural issues (Luiquis and Pe?? rez, 2006). Equity pedagogy is about modifying teaching styles so that pupil’s academic achievement from various social-class groups, gender, race and culture can be accomplished. Dimensions of multicultural education have been further demonstrated in Appendix 2. School culture empowerment is one of the critical aspects in the entire process. Multicultural education is a type of culture which aims at promoting social-class, gender and racial equity. All school staff members should be able to examine organization and culture of school. This provides a better understanding on what shall be delivered to pupils. Restructuring is a common approach accompanied with multicultural education. Labelling and grouping practices in classroom is a preferred way to establish multicultural education. Sports participation, special education programs, etc., are mechanisms to empower pupils who belong to diverse ethnic and racial groups (Valentine, 2006). Formalized curriculum structure is not sufficient to develop knowledge base of pupils. Democratic knowledge shall enable them to stay competitive in society for long run.
Comparison of educational frameworks in different countries
The comparison of the educational framework adopted in Pakistan or in the Middle East countries as compared to the western countries are, different subjects and different methods or techniques are adopted by the teacher for imparting education to the children’s. The children’s generally learn and grasp the techniques that are taught or imparted to them by their tutors. Now-a-days globalized pedagogical tools are adopted by the teachers for imparting education to the pupils. Internet is considered as the common source which imparts training to the pupils all over the world. With the advancement in the technology the educational gap and the differences in the techniques for imparting education has decreased to a large extent (Kyriacou, 2009). Multicultural education is considered as the base for designing the curriculum materials, textbooks and the library holdings for the sexist and racist content. The primary school pupils in United States are provided more importance on development of the intellectual skills and increasing their interest in various physical activities or games whereas the primary school pupils in Pakistan or in the Middle East countries are provided more importance on developing their behaviour, manners and attitude. The course curriculums in the schools of Pakistan or the Middle East are prepared in advance. Common and generalized course is prepared for all the pupils of the particular standard, whereas the course curriculum and the methods of teaching in United States are adjusted and tailored according the need and requirement of the pupil. The attention is provided to the children on the basis of their ability to participate and grasp a particular thing. With the advancement in the technology some common and basic principles or pattern is adopted by the teachers all over the world. Multicultural education is required to be emphasized for imparting education to the primary school children all over the world. Since different pattern or pedagogy is adopted by the school teachers in different parts of the world. Therefore the little children suffer during immigration to other countries or nation. They fail to adopt with the change in the technique of imparting education. The immigrant teachers also face the same problem while delivering their knowledge or training the primary school children. Due to the emergence of the problem, the ministry of education of Pakistan adopted multicultural educational program. The subjects included in the course curriculum of the school pupils in Pakistan differs from that of United States and the language for imparting education also differs. Therefore emphasize is required to be provided for improving the course curriculum and the standard mode or medium is required to be selected for imparting training. United States prioritizes on high education therefore the primary school children are nourished from the very early stage, whereas the processes of imparting education in Middle East countries are very liberal. With the advancement and development in technology, United States adopts and implements new method for nourishing the primary pupils , whereas the schools in middle east is lacking behind in adapting speedily with the advancement in technology. The focus on multicultural education by the schools in different countries will facilitate in multicultural development of the children from the beginning (Wood, 1998).
Effectiveness of modern day technologies
Modern day technologies have been able to change classroom learning. Mutual learning is one of the major pillars in multicultural education. Cultural barriers can be eliminated only when pupils from diverse cultural backgrounds collaboratively study. Technology comprises of that power to change learning capacity of pupils. Traditional blackboard can no longer help pupils in their academics. These traditional concepts are not even used in primary schools. Tablets and laptops are utilized by many primary school pupils and teachers. Electronic learning materials save time and increases level of efficiency. Since Victorian times there have been significant changes in theoretical frameworks and curriculum design. In current scenario, there is more importance given to innovation, imagination, digital wisdom and creativity. Adult intervention in learning was the primary area of concern in earlier days. This restricted scope of multicultural education. In developing countries there are approximately 57 million pupils who are not able to attend schools due to various reasons. Digital platform provides them with an opportunity whereby they can stay updated with curriculum. Primary school teachers in some countries use tablets to explain distinct course structure (Trent, Kea and Oh, 2008). Cloud computing has greatly gained importance in teaching field. Information can be stored in the cloud by teachers and pupils individually or in groups can access it when required. It is often witnessed that visual interpretations are more effective compared to providing traditional notes. Multicultural education can be strongly associated with technology. Visual learning environment is necessary to make pupils understand this innovative concept. Emails, video conferencing, etc., facilitates continuous interaction between pupils and teachers. On the other hand, cultural study has to be supported with visual interpretations which can be offered by virtual learning methods. Young children can be persuaded with the help of advanced technology. Technologies are evolving with time and this is widening scope for multicultural education.
As per this study, multicultural education is a unique approach towards developing essential skills or competencies in pupils. In traditional curriculum design there is more focus on course materials. It is assumed that course structure regulates career path of an individual. However in current scenario survival in society is not only based on knowledge accumulated through course material. This knowledge base has to be extended so that an individual is able to become democratic citizen. Ideal classroom can be designed through multiple techniques such as changes in curriculum design, usage of modern world equipments, etc. Multicultural education is a new approach which is not implemented by majority institutions. This educational field helps in reducing cultural barriers between pupils. Cultural aspects have to be addressed in subject area so that pupils can well understand various cultural norms and beliefs. Teachers have to possess certain competencies so as to provide multicultural education. Cultural, philosophical and social perspectives need to be addressed by all those teachers who structure multicultural education. School culture is transformed efficiently with the introduction of this system. Pupil empowerment reduces intercultural issues. Human diversity was previously viewed as a barrier in educational field. In modern scenario, introduction of multicultural education has reduced such barrier within school premises. Multicultural education supports interaction between diverse cultural pupils. Exchange of views or opinions in this framework develops an ideal classroom. Pupils are not only confined to course based knowledge but are able to adapt varying cultural values. These values are essential in overall personality development in future years. Technology also supports this framework through providing a virtual learning platform. This technology based platform triggers group work and learning process without any such adult intervention. There is further scope of growth in this particular area. Ideal classroom within an ideal school is all about restructuring current procedure and incorporating societal necessities.