by Yang (Emily) Li, Graduate Assistant, Reinert Center
Transformational learning is a reflection process to rethink life changes and events and gain new meaning out of our classroom, community and society (Alexander, 2007). For teachers who are designing courses for higher educational institutions, one transformational learning strategy is including multicultural reading material in classroom discussion.
In order to determine if multicultural discussions are right for one’s class, teachers could reflect on the following two questions:
- How could discussing multicultural reading material help to achieve my teaching goals and objectives?
- How could discussing multicultural reading material assist in assessing students’ learning?
As for teachers who may want to know more about the benefits of including multicultural reading material in their classes, the following are some examples.
Four benefits of multicultural approach:
Discussing diversity in the classroom is positive for science courses
Teachers may think that diversity discussions are only applicable in arts and humanities subjects; however, diversity discussions are also very important for science subject instruction. Students are invited to share their different backgrounds and discuss openly in class, which creates an equal and respectful environment to build a higher student self-efficacy.
Infusing different cultural teaching and learning styles evolves teaching
As for higher educational institutions, research is of great importance. Teachers can shape their teaching to activate students’ motivation in their particular research area through the use of this multicultural teaching strategy. Learning different teaching and learning styles from students’ cultural background enables teachers to become more flexible to students’ learning and research needs.
Using students’ reading reflection assists in assigning discussion groups
In large classes, teachers can assign students into different discussion groups based on their reflection assignment. For instance, teachers can assign students with similar reflection ideas into different groups to share their unique ideas. The teacher also can assign students with similar ideas to the same discussion group to deepen their discussion into realistic problem-solving situations.
Multicultural reading material pairs well with textbook material
Teachers can pick some reading materials with opposite opinions compared with the textbook. Students can then compare the similarities and differences between textbook and the additional reading material. This discussion will develop students’ critical thinking skills to distinguish information from different sources.
Kaplan, M., & Miller, A. T. (Eds.). (2007). Scholarship of multicultural teaching and learning.
San Francisco, CA: Wiley Periodicals, Inc.