This will also ensure that future bullying will be eradicated. In order to teach ESL, the teacher has to understand his/her students and try to make learning a fun experience. How does a teacher therefore manage to make lessons fun for children of such diverse backgrounds? Using multicultural material can enable the child to embrace his/her own culture in a different language as well as by having a unifying language (English), they are able to express themselves and share their experiences with their classmates. ESL does not only benefit the students; in that at the end of the day they learn their target language, but also benefits the teacher who is faced with a classroom with students from various backgrounds, belief and culture. David O. McKay < http://education.byu.edu/diversity/bilingual.html> has this to say about ESL: “Students who are working on understanding the English language may also be experiencing confusion and frustration from immersion in a foreign culture. Multicultural teaching techniques can help students in a bilingual setting feel more comfortable and gain a better understanding of the learning materials. Multicultural techniques may include linking ESL materials presented to native cultures, providing learning materials and classroom aides that are of a diverse nature, and encouraging students to express their frustrations and confusion in a constructive manner.” Sixth grade students are at an age where learning has to be made interesting, especially when it comes to a new or not very well known language. Many will lose interest others will generally not learn. Using multicultural tools in classrooms such as: Performing plays about various groups/cultures Learn songs in different languages Exchange cultural stories such as fairytales and show the students how cultures do not vary that much Develop a multicultural calendar; where important days can be observed by the whole class irrespective of the culture. Such tools aid both the teacher and the student understand the other and realize that many are not so different after all. According to Jones (1986), multicultural learning activities are most effective for learners when they: i. Offer students opportunities to observe/participate in the affairs of the community ii. Engage students directly and actively in learning iii. Rely on a broad range of instructional materials. Literature Review How can ESL students who usually have a hard time “fitting in” due to the inability to communicate effectively manage to do so? ESL classrooms are therefore there in order to teach the student how to behave, communicate and appreciate the English language and it’s culture (for lack of a better word), both in formal and academic context as well as informal/ social contexts. In order for such students to be able to interact with other students whose first language is English, they must first learn to interact among themselves and this is where the use of multicultural material in ESL classrooms is important. In order for this to be a success, the fewer number of children in a classroom the better. Crowded classrooms, especially of such a sensitive kind may cause conflict between the students and learning anything can prove difficult due to constant distraction among the students. Fewer students in a classroom give room for individual attention and a better learning atmosphere for the students.
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