“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” ~Wade Davis
How do teachers help students understand the perspectives of others? It starts simple — reading books or watching videos about people from other cultures is a start. It’s even more powerful when there’s a way to make a personal connection. Start simple but find ways to build in real connections with people from other countries. Some strategies I recommend:
- Model cross-cultural curiosity and friendships
- Bring in guest speakers (in-person or remote)
- Invite students to have cross-cultural conversations in their own communities
- Plan field trips that get students out of the classroom engaging with people from other backgrounds
See examples below:
From the blog:
Strategy 1: Model Cross-Cultural Curiosity and Friendships ~ I’ve written and presented quite a bit about how I’ve used my blog to help students connect with the world beyond their own community. If you click on the “explore” tab on the top menu, you will find many examples of how I engaged students while traveling. My culture scavenger hunt blog entry has been used at many other schools too! I don’t believe that you need to travel to model cross-cultural curiosity though. If you love learning about other cultures, you will find ways to model that love for your students.
Strategy 2: Find the Global Locally~ There are so many ways to help students have cross-cultural experiences without leaving the classroom. You can help students appreciate the diversity in the room. You can bring in parents and community members to be guest speakers. It’s amazing what resources you’ll find when you just ask. Finally, find ways to support students in connecting with members of their communities who can teach them about other cultures.
Strategy 3: Get out of the Classroom on Field Trips ~ I love traveling with students (like I did in China), but it’s not always possible for students to get that far afield. Field trips are always so memorable to students. One of my favorites was a field trip to 5 different local houses of worship. All within a few miles from our school, we were able to visit a mosque, Jewish temple, Hindu temple, Greek Orthodox church, and a Buddhist temple. Living in Massachusetts, we were also lucky to be able to visit many historical sites, such as Plimoth Plantation and the Boston Tea Party Museum.