Language, Culture and Learning

One of the wonders of the world is the diversity that exists among people across regions and nations.  Strangely, the claim that all humans have a common origin would most likely oppose this assertion. Evolution and migration, however, are the factors to credit for the diversity in language and culture. Different languages and cultures have made the world an ad-mixture of people from various backgrounds.  This may appear a positive aspect on the outside. However, taking a deeper plunge, the diversity has resulted to an array of challenges, particularly to teachers, who are expected to be impartial in their class work presentation (Beresford, 2003).  

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There has been an ever-increasing call to teachers to take up language and cultural diversity and turn it round from a barrier to a positive aspect. Teachers are advised to be diverse in their ways and methods of imparting knowledge. In particular, they are advised to pay personal attention to each student. This involves according each student special private time especially with regard to their language and cultural affiliation. At the same time, teachers are not expected to lay particular emphasis on such students to make it appear like they have an upper hand over the rest of the students. This requirement is in itself a contradiction as much as it is a dilemma to the teachers (Warren, 2004).

Teachers are bestowed with the crucial yet tricky task of imparting knowledge impartially to students notwithstanding their background, language or religious affiliation. The Australian government has been particularly interested in making the learning and dissemination of education process easy and fruitful for the Aboriginal people. The reality of this has been brought closer by employing more teachers from the minority groups. Non-indigenous Australians have remained particularly ignorant of the Aboriginal Culture. However, with the changing situation, the enlightenment process has been important in bringing to light and informing people of the various culture s in Australia. This has come with an array of challenges for the teachers who have the responsibility of teaching about these cultural elements, some which they hardly understand themselves.

The teaching profession requires great diversity. Even with the diversity, it would be difficult for anyone to accord a particular group of people extra attention without making others within the same class feel like they are sidelined or ignored. The thought of being out of place or sidelined may come with adverse effects especially to the people who feel they are on the receiving end. For such people, it is important to constantly make them aware that the extra attention accorded to the other students is because of their inability to understand situations the way the others can. At the same time, it is important to make them aware that it is not a case of special treatment, but rather a case of trying to create an equal platform for all the students to grasp the knowledge given in class. Convincing and making this apparent to the rest of the students may not be easy. Further, it may not just be the students but also the parents may have an issue (Altman, 2010).

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The question begs on how teachers can achieve this seemingly unachievable fete.

The dilemma does not end with those who feel they are on the receiving end. The students given the “special treatment” may also feel uncomfortable. This is natural for some people who do not like the thought of being different or feeling different. For such people, being kept away from the normal processes and procedures may portend a weakness or sub-standard feeling of some sort. Again, for such people, the teachers have the daunting task of making it clear to them that the reason behind their extra help is for their own benefit. The students accorded extra time in their work need to be aware that the sacrifices made by the teachers, administration, the government and other stakeholders are all meant for their benefit and well-being.

With the knowledge of the tedious task awaiting them, teachers need to be prepared adequately to handle any arising situation. This calls for further insight and knowledge of the activities that take place in learning institutions. Teachers need to be enlightened on mob psychology and how to handle students who feel sidelined. Privately, teachers can make it their objective to upgrade their service delivery by researching on and finding out more information about their students. Knowledge of the cultural backgrounds of the students gives the teacher a head start in devising ways of making the learning process all-inclusive and engaging to the students.

Further, the teacher can make it a personal initiative to learn different languages on the side. Apart from giving him or her an upper hand in teaching students who are avers with the language in question, it also makes the teacher knowledgeable and enlightened with regard to different languages. Affected institutions can also chip in and provide educational service to their staff members to enhance service delivery to their students. Such avenues will not only give the teachers the confidence to go about their business with a lot of ease, but further, will bring to the attention of the teachers the need of making the learning process to the minority students a success without making them feel out of the equation.

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Despite the challenges it presents in making all students benefit from educational processes, it is necessary and indeed achievable to make the process a success. Language and cultural barriers may pose a significant challenge, especially as regards the dissemination of information to the students who need more time to grasp. Nevertheless, stakeholders, particularly teachers  can turn the situation round especially with in-depth knowledge of the state of affairs and make it possible to impart knowledge without appearing to be partial in providing their services while at the same time conducting the learning process effectively.

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