Childhood is a ‘foundation laying’ and ‘life – shaping’ phase for every individual. It is a vital period in one’s life when ideas are developed, concepts are learnt, the mind is conditioned to believe in what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’…
Parents and teachers must ensure that they adequately expose children to the basic realities of life, with an educative approach; appropriate to their age group. Teachers play one of the most influential roles during ‘early childhood’ since they spend anywhere between four to eight hours a day with their students during their formative years. This makes it imperative for teachers to develop and inculcate the qualities of listening, understanding, respecting and empathizing, so that they may improve on their relationships with students. ‘Counseling skills’ form an integral part of training programs that are specially designed for teachers and have been found to have a long – term impact on the social learning and psychological wellbeing of the students (Hutchins & Vaught, 1997). As a newly appointed pre – school teacher at an international school, I would be expecting a dynamic, diverse, multi – cultural classroom environment. The age group of the children in my class would be in the category of three to five year olds. Some of the children’s families would hail from white backgrounds while a majority would come from families that are of diverse origins such as Asians, Africans, Arabs, Native Americans, etc. Some may be well versed with the American way of life, language of English as well as the customs. Cultural attributes may vary between individualist and collectivist tendencies. Communication is believed to be dependent on two factors: ‘the speaker’ (usually the teacher) and ‘an active addressee’ (the pupil), both of whom need to actively participate and differentiate as per the social and cultural environment (Poimenidou and Christidou, 2010). Culture is believed to influence participation, acquisition, transmission and invention. However, the children and their families who hail from diverse backgrounds may not be very conversant in English, may be of a different cultural mindset and may require time and assistance in adapting to the new environment. The one ‘diverse background’ that I would like to focus on is the ‘Asian community’. The Asian community has always intrigued me due to its tremendous sub classification and branches within itself. The most amazing fact is that, within the Asian community, cultures are so varied and different from each other. ‘Asians’ include people from China, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore (to name a few). Chinese, Koreans and Japanese individuals characteristically possess physical characteristics such as distinctly slanted eyes and a rather small build. In general, Indians, Pakistanis and those from Singapore and Malaysia have a darker skin tone than their Chinese or Japanese counterparts. Historically, India and Pakistan were under the British rule until the year of independence and partition respectively. China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, ruled by various dynasties at different time periods, culminating in the Chinese Civil War and proclamation of the People’s Republic of China. Japan evolved from the Meiji period and was occupied by the United States up to the year 1952, following which it attained significant economic growth. Singapore was conquered by the Japanese during the World War II; however, followed by British rule and was finally declared an independent republic in the year 1965. Traditionally, these communities were rather conservative in their approach and hierarchical in structure, wherein males and senior individuals ...
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