― Maya Angelou
For this to happen, the teachers need to be in a position where they understand how to handle cultural diversity and convert it into a strength rather than having it work as a limitation (which it can easily turn into if it is not channeled well enough). In that direction, certain cultural diversity training exercises for teachers need to be undertaken. In this Buzzle article, we will take you through the varied activities, exercises, and games that can be used for this purpose.
In this exercise, a story in an unfamiliar language is written on the blackboard, and the trainees are asked to write an end to the story. They are not allowed to interact with each other or take each other's help. There are three responses that are recorded―either they refuse to do the exercise because they do not understand the language, or they write the ending in English (a language that they are familiar with), or they attempt to construct a response in the unfamiliar language.
Why it helps
This exercise aims to sensitize the teachers and help them understand the difficulties and frustrations that students from other cultures may face in the classroom. This then allows them to plan their lessons keeping in mind the difficulties faced by these students.
One of the simplest and most effective activity is a game called 'I Am'. In this game, each student is asked to write something about their name and provide other details about the same―like the meaning, how they got their name, the importance of their name in their culture, and if they think they are anything like their name. This will provide an insight into the culture and background of that student.
All the students are made to sit in a circle. Each student is called aside by the teacher and asked to pick two students from the circle whom they know nothing about. They are then asked to state a few things that they think about them, like their background, what their parents do, etc. Make sure that these questions highlight the cultural background. It is important that these questions are predetermined so that it does not get too personal or offensive. All this is done in a one-to-one interaction with the teacher.
This opens up the minds of the students and changes their attitude to make them more accepting of their diversity.