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Unpacking the invisible knapsack

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on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Unpacking the invisible knapsack

A look at the importance of creating a multicultural classroom
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“Culture comprises of a group’s ideas, objects, customs, beliefs, attitudes, language, arts, technology, and traditions. (Hunkins & Ornstein, 2009) Culture can be defined as who someone is as well as where they come from.
“Prior knowledge strongly influences perception and encoding.” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007) Research suggests some strategies to help students without prior knowledge of a subject to encode the material effectively. Teachers can “begin lessons by asking students what they know about a topic, supplement prior experiences with rich examples and representation of material, and use the experiences of students in the class to augment the backgrounds of those lacking the experiences.” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007)
Create a Multi-Cultural Environment
Creating a multi-cultural environment where every student feels welcome and which teaches other students about acceptance and facts behind different cultures is how we can transform the dynamics of power, oppression, and privilege; and in turn, transform society.
“Privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.” Peggy McIntosh

When unpacking your invisible knapsack of privilege, think about any unearned advantages you have in everyday life. These unearned privileges do not only deal with race, but also gender, class, religion, and social status; otherwise known as culture.
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Tiffany Kelly
Communication and Culture: What should educators know about their students’ cultures and why?
To create a multi-cultural environment, one must teach about different cultures. Thus, supplying students with the power of knowledge.
Creating a trusting environment for culturally and racially different students involves following these important principles (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007);

• Communicate that you respect all cultures and value the contribution that cultural differences make to learning.
• Involve all students in learning activities.
• Use concrete experiences as reference points for language development.
• Target important vocabulary terms.
• Provide opportunities for all students to practice language.

Eggen, P., & Kauchak, D. (2007). Educational Psycology.
Now think about your students...
What unearned priviledges do certain students have over others in your class? What about on standardized testing? What can you do to create eqaulity and fairness in your classroom? How does culture come into play?
A multi-cultural friendly environment consists of creating classroom activities where students can work together to teach each other about their differences and similarities. Creating an environment where all students are equal and everyone has a chance for effective learning.
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