Building Relationships with Families

828 words | 3 page(s)

Access to education is one of the many basic human rights that all children are entitled to. However, in spite of the many resources that have been channeled towards it, there still exist numerous challenges that end up having an impact on the outcome of students as they go through the system. In this system, the culture of both students and teachers has been found to have an impact on the education process (Alsubaie, 2015). In this case, culture can be taken to mean all those characteristics that differentiates a particular group from the others such as language, literature, values, food, clothing, beliefs, and many others. Evidently, these diversities in cultures, in a multicultural environment like that of the U.S., is bound to bring forth several challenges for educators and schools that ultimately affect student development. Furthermore, despite discussing these challenges, it is also important to discuss the ways through which educators adopt to navigate through these cultural conflicts.

Common Cultural Conflicts
Racism is arguably one of the major challenges that students face in a number of education institutions. This is a challenge because it is used to devalue the identity of a particular minority group (race or ethnicity) thus disempowering them (Alsubaie, 2015). These acts are mostly conscious with a particular aim, whereas at times they are unintended. For instance, a biased curriculum material might come up unknowingly as the educator is teaching a multicultural class. As a result, Hickling-Hudson and Ahlquist (2003) noted that students could be exposed to violence, harmful assumptions, and low expectations.

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In order to perform ones’ duties with competence, there is need for proper training of the educators. Even when in a single culture environment, the process of teaching and learning is still a daunting task for both parties involved (Alsubaie, 2015). This challenge is, therefore, aggravated by the multicultural diversity that is characteristic of most western schools. Sadly, not many teachers are highly trained on how to handle these many cultures. To add to this challenge, some students for instance those from Asian and Arab countries, are required to learn English as a second language when they enroll to American schools. A lack of proficiency in these second languages are likely to have a negative impact on a student’s comprehension of the content that is being provided to them by the teachers.

A study by Robertson, Line, Jones, and Thomas (2000) revealed that some educators fail to understand the linguistic challenges of the foreign students and blame them for the challenges that they are facing academically. Some professors form prejudices over foreign students with limited proficiency in English based on the argument that they were not prepared to take the class (Terui, 2011). Nonetheless, it could also be argued that some of these challenges that affect a student’s outcome are not only linguistic but also from a change of cultures. Wu, Garza, and Guzman (2015) noticed that the time take by foreign students to settle in their new environments, especially the new ways of doing things, is likely to impact on their initial academic performance.

Bridging the Cultural Conflict Gap
Educators need to be taken through a comprehensive training program where they will be trained on how to handle these diversities. This includes being made aware of the content and gestures that students from certain cultural backgrounds might find offensive. With this knowledge, the educators are likely to avoid those unintended racist moments that usually end up alienating the offended groups. In this regard, the schools and educators could modify their teaching methodology as well as the content in order to accommodate the diverse cultures. Additionally, in order to create a mutual relationship between a student and the educator that is built on trust, there is need for an emotional relationship to be developed first (Alsubaie, 2015).

Cultural diversity is a new reality in many education institutions, and with it has come several challenges that could negatively affect a student’s performance. For instance, racism, foreign language proficiency, un-empathetic educators and the challenge of a new culture and environment. Resolving these challenges and making the students feel comfortable is of utmost importance, and this can be done through proper training of the educators, modifying the content and teaching methods, and encouraging the students and teachers to form an emotional connection.

  • Alsubaie, M. A. (2015). Examples of current issues in the multicultural classroom. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(10), 86-89. Retrieved from
  • Hickling-Hudson, A., & Ahlquist, R. (2003). Contesting the curriculum in the schooling of Indigenous children in Australia and the United States: From Eurocentrism to culturally powerful pedagogies. Comparative Education Review, 45(1), 64-89.
  • Robertson, M., Line, M., Jones, S., & Thomas, S. (2000). International students, learning environments and perceptions: A case study using the Delphi technique. Higher Education Research & Development, 19(1), 89-102.
  • Terui, S. (2011). Second language learners’ coping strategy in conversations with native speakers. Journal of International Students, 2(2), 168–183.
  • Wu, H., Garza, E., & Guzman, N. (2015). International student’s challenge and adjustment to college. Education Research International, 2015, 1-9.

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