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Challenges of Education in a Multicultural Environment

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Bela StanticDept of Mathematics and Informatics, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Novi SadEmail:bela@dmi.uns.ac.rsGriffith University, Gold Coast, AustraliaEmail:B.Stantic@griffith.edu.au
Challenges of Education in a Multicultural Environment
Globalization
Theglobalization process refers not only to typical consumer markets, but also toeducationalmarket, which has become more and moreinternational.Therefore, many lecturersteach partially in theirnative andEnglishlanguageand students also use foreignlanguagewhilelearning.Therefore we are entering into realmulticulturaleducation.However, intercultural communication and understanding is not only restricted with the language.Teaching in multicultural Australia where academics and students are from diversity of countries and cultures is a real challenge.The way people view the world is determined wholly or partly by the structure of their native language."culture" refers to a group or communitywhich sharecommonexperiencesthat shape the waythey understandthe world.
Multiculturalenvironment
Teachingand learning in a multicultural environment has, undoubtedly, advantages anddisadvantages.Studentsenrolled in courses taught by professors coming from different ethnic or linguisticbackgroundsexperience discomfort, tension and conflict.There are students who do not appreciate opportunities createdbyinteraction with culturally diversified people and who have biased opinions of minorityprofessorseven before coming into contact with them.Students avoid enrolling in particular courses after seeing foreign names of instructors listed in a course schedule.
Multicultural Education
Theproblems often encountered by teachers andstudentsare:Problemsofcommunicationbreakdownsbetweenstaff andstudentsbecause of poor foreign languageabilities and Englishpronunciation,Cultureshock (what is common and normal in one culture it is not acceptable in another)Thelack of knowledge of differentcultures,which leads to misunderstandings concerning students’ manners.Respect, addressing, interrupting, participation,dress style, hygiene, etc.
Challenges
If thestudentsdonot respect the professorthey donotlearn effectively and they do not benefit from the class.Lecturer needs tobe open to othercultures andto try to familiarize the students with the differences between the patterns ofbehavioroftherepresentatives of various nationalities,sub-cultures,etc.The role of the teacher is vitalbecausethe teacher is the person who builds the atmosphere during the class and throughequaltreatment he/she can make it easier for the students coming from different backgroundstofeel good in the group.Teachers must be prepared to effectively facilitate learning for every individual student, no matter how culturally similar or different from her- or himself.
Advantages
Ithelps to develop students’ intellectual, social, andpersonalabilities.It creates professionals with abilities to be employable on Global market.
ReexaminingallEducational Practices
Learningand teaching inmulticulturalsettings is inevitabledue to the globalization.Therefore, we should take into consideration all aspects and challenges ofmulticulturaleducation and learn how to teach in multicultural environment and overcome problemsoften encountered by teachers andstudents.Educators must take moreactive role in reexamining all educationalpractices:assessment methods,delivery forms,school psychology and counseling practices, educational materials and textbooks, and so on.
Required Changes
Thetransformation ofself:understandthe people and happenings aroundyou,examiningwho is (and whois not) being reached byyour teaching,relearninghowyour identityaffectsstudents’ learningexperiences.Tobe an effective multicultural educatoryoumust be in a constant process of self-examination and transformation.Thetransformation of schools and schooling;MulticulturalCurriculum,Supportive School and ClassroomClimate.Thetransformation ofsociety
References
Lustig, M. W. and Koester, J. (2006).Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures. Boston MA: Pearson Education.Marshall, P.L. (2002). Cultural diversity in our schools. Belmont: Wadsworth.Martin, J.N. and Nakayama, T. K. (2000).Intercultural Communication in Contexts, 2nded. California. Mayfield Publishing Company.Meier, C. (2007). Enhancing intercultural understanding using e-learning strategies,South African Journal of Education, 27, 655-671.A.Wieczorek, A.Wieczorek, (2009). Problems of teaching in a Multicultural Environment – Some insight from Poland,Proceedings of the 2009 EMUNI Conference on Higher Education andResearchPaul C.Gorski,(2010).TheChallenge of Defining "MulticulturalEducation“,http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/initial.html
Thank you for your Attention!

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Challenges of Education in a Multicultural Environment