In this second of a two-part series, Holly Niemi shares how her school celebrates cultural diversity.An earlier blog entry entitled Part 1: An Introduction of Cross-CulturalCompetencies provided readers an introduction of the four cross-cultural competencies, including awareness, knowledge, skills, action and advocacy. Now, Part 2 takes the concepts a step further and puts them into practice. Here are a variety of different initiatives and programs to increase cross-cultural competencies. While reading, be cognizant of which level of cross-cultural competencies each practice represents.
|Cultural pride on display|
Second, we created, developed, and implemented an ESL and foreign language collaboration during National Foreign Language Week that aimed to celebrate and strengthen cultural diversity in our school. ELLs shared their unique perspectives and vast world knowledge as they taught small groups of foreign language students cultural dances to music from their native countries, then spoke on a panel about their culture, beliefs, heritage, perspectives, and experiences. (This is an example of Skills).
Furthermore, the foreign language students participated in classroom activities in order to build prior knowledge before our cultural dance lesson and panel discussion. The pre-activities included an empathy building simulation, as well as a Venn diagram exercise comparing and contrasting immigrants and refugees. (This is an example of Awareness and Knowledge). Additionally, after the program, some foreign language students volunteered as student tutors in the ESL classroom, where as others took a more active role of reaching out to ELLs in their content area classes and around the school. (This is an example of Action & Advocacy).
Third, we planned a collaborative field trip between our ELLs and gifted learners. ESL plans an annual field trip that is always to a new destination, this year’s trip was to a local history museum. In order to maximize ELLs' time at the museum, ELLs were assigned to groups with a gifted learner serving as the group leader and museum tour guide. This helped ensure that ELLs found their way around the new environment in the allotted amount of time and completed their scavenger hunt. Most of the gifted learners had been to the museum before and those that had not were fluent in English so that they were able to read the exhibit descriptions to ELLs in simplified English. (This is an example of Skills and Action & Advocacy).
|World Affairs Council|
|Understanding World Religions|
Overall, these initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusive practices that will expand our students’ experiences and encourage cross-cultural awareness and highlighted cross-cultural competencies.
All photos provided by Holly Niemi.