Because of the diversity that’s inherent to Singapore, it’s natural for schools to have a population of students who come from different backgrounds. And because of these backgrounds, they also have different beliefs and rituals. These are the things that affect their studies. It also affects their relationships with other students and their plans for their future. So, as teachers of such students, it’s important to foster cultural diversity.
The best international high schools in the country are developing students’ interest in the world around them. So, even in their youth, it’s important that they understand the value of the inclusion of people from different backgrounds. They’ll carry this lesson throughout their lives. And it’s especially so when they become the people who travel to different countries and try to adapt to other cultures in a more globalized world. Here’s how teachers can foster cultural diversity in their classrooms.
Curate the Right Source Materials
Of course, the first step to developing a lesson plan is gathering the source materials. For example, if you’re teaching literature, then you get to choose the books that your students will read at home. And these are the books they’ll discuss with you in class. You can look up to the National Library Board for a list of government-approved recommended reading. This list includes novels for teens such as Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah and Lion Boy and Drummer Girl by Pauline Loh.
You are helping your students be exposed to the world of cultures. And you can easily do so by assigning reading materials that come from different backgrounds. They’ll gain a deeper understanding of the stories, histories, and beliefs of their fellow classmates and fellow Singaporeans.
Encourage your Students to Speak
English is the language of instruction. This is the case for many schools, especially international schools, around the country. Singapore takes pride in its robust, transformative, and competitive education system. They develop students who can compete with other students in world-class universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford. But it’s important to note that some schools do also promote the teaching in bilingual mode. Some schools teach in Chinese, Malay, and Tamil as second languages.
This openness to other languages will help encourage the students to speak in class. They’ll be more confident in engaging in discussion with you and their classmates. Yes, English is the main mode of language when teaching. But your students may need a confidence boost to articulate their thoughts properly. So encourage them to speak in their native tongue.
In this way, your students will have more confidence in sharing their ideas and stories. Thus, everyone is more exposed to cultural diversity in the classroom.
Conduct Awareness Activities
Engage with your students through various activities in the classroom. This is another effective way of highlighting their rich backgrounds. For one, you can have a “Cultural Diversity Day” wherein your students can share stories and traditions from their culture. You can set up an exhibit. Perhaps, there could also be a form of talent show where students can show their classmates traditional songs or dances.
Such activities would give the students a much-needed break from their academic work. After all, as mentioned before, Singapore’s international high schools are known for their competitiveness. And what’s great is that these activities give students a chance to enjoy each other’s rich cultures. With this enjoyment, they’ll start to foster not just understanding but appreciation as well for other cultures.
Go on Field Trips to Museums and Historical Sites
Sometimes, teaching something as deep as cultural diversity can’t be contained within the four walls of a classroom. Teachers also need reinforcements from other sources. And they can turn to museums and historical sites around the city-state. Students will be more exposed to the country’s cultural diversity that prevailed throughout its history.
You and your students can visit places such as the Thian Hock Keng Temple. As a result, your students will have a richer understanding of the Chinese culture that developed in Singapore. You can also go to the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which was built by the Hindus in the early 1880s. Such places would help your students develop a deeper appreciation for the country’s multicultural character.
Singapore is known for many things. For one, people would often associate Singapore with urban prosperity in Asia. It’s known for the sculpture of the Merlion, which is a lion with a body of a fish. But, really, the most notable thing about this city-state is its rich diversity in culture, religion, and ethnicities. It’s the home of the Chinese, Indian, Malay, and other communities. So it’s important for students to be exposed to books, lessons, and other teaching resources that come from different backgrounds.