Table of Contents
- Teaching Method vs Teaching Strategy
Multiculturalism is the co-existence of diverse cultures, where culture includes racial, religious, or cultural groups and is manifested in customary behaviours, cultural assumptions and values, patterns of thinking, and communicative styles (IFLA, 2016). IGI Global (2019) view a multicultural classroom as a type of classroom that embrace diversity. When you think of diversity in the classroom, we need to go beyond cultural differences (School is Easy, 2019).
Students coming from different socioeconomic backgrounds, lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgender students, students with learning and physical disabilities and gifted students all are included in diversity (School is Easy, 2019). When it comes to teaching learners from different cultures in a classroom (Bright Hub Education, 2019) states that each culture is different, and each student is an individual.
One can, by assumption, differentiate between teaching methods and teaching strategies, and thoroughly select different strategies that cater for effective teaching in a multicultural setting, such as group work, cooperative learning, problem solving, case study, discussions, etc.
We will be looking at the two different strategies, that is, group work and cooperative learning, in a multicultural setting, and evaluate their importance by referring to when, how and why using each of them. But firstly, one needs to understand that, teaching method differs from teaching strategy in some ways, and that can be looked at, so as to clarify the two concepts are different.
Teaching Method vs Teaching Strategy
“The term teaching method refers to the general principles, pedagogy and management strategies used for classroom instruction” (Teach – Make a Difference: 2019). According to The Free Dictionary (2019), teaching method is the principles and methods of instruction. IGI Global (2019) defines teaching method as “the method chosen to achieve a teaching goal”. “A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used by teachers to enable student learning” (What is TEACHING METHOD?, 2017).
Based of the above definitions, in my own words, teaching method is a procedure followed by teachers, to instruct teaching and learning in order to acquire the outcomes.
Armstrong (2013) notes that, teaching strategy refers to methods used to help students learn the desired course contents and be able to develop achievable goals in the future. “An overall or general design of how the lesson will be executed or delivered” (Intero, 2014). Gill and Kusum (2017) say “strategy is used to create appropriate teaching learning environment which helps the students in attaining teaching learning objectives”.
Thus, in my opinion, teaching strategy is determined by the method applied in teaching and learning. Teaching method is a procedure used to follow while teaching strategy is a way of carrying out a method to reach a certain goal.
Thomas and Kwnaujoks (2012), defines multicultural setting as a setting that includes and serves individuals from many cultures. They further say, it challenges and rejects racism and other forms of discrimination. Glossary of Education Reform (2013) refers to a multicultural setting as multicultural education and sates that “multicultural education is any form of education or teaching that incorporates the histories, values, beliefs, and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds.
In my own opinion, there has to be strategies that can be used to cater for all multicultural learners, such as discussions, presentations, group work, case studies, etc.
- Group work (as a teaching strategy in a multicultural setting)
Occasionally in a small discussion groups in lectures or tutorials, or as a fully-fledged teaching strategy that requires students to engage in learning activities within the same group over a period while working a substantial task with a shared outcome (UNSW, 2019).
The OER4Schools Professional Learning Resource (2014) in University of Cambridge site, suggest that a group work can be used when a topic has many sub-topics which can be mastered by small groups and taught to other groups. Group work can further be used when applications of a topic (for example, human impact) are being discussed because there can be many answers to them, and finally when practicing new skill.
Group work can be used, I think when the teacher wants to instill the issue of diversity to his or her learners, by creating groups that participate in cultural activities, such as dance, attire, etc.
According to The Economics Network (2019), teachers may decide to allocate group membership where:
- The group process is to develop group skills
- Tasks clearly warrant a global perspective
- Programme is producing graduates with cross-cultural competence
- Teachers know individual students’ skills and competence
Learner are grouped in fours or fives according to their family backgrounds and strengths. Learners are required to collaborate on visual presentations to avoid misunderstandings of language, and draw up their strengths. Students are asked to answer questions about their strengths in various areas and backgrounds (Larsen, 2019)
According to University Development Centre (2004:3), group work benefits learners by:
- Developing their co-operation and planning skills
- Giving learners opportunities for leadership
- Increasing active participation
- Improving learners’ performance
- Giving learners opportunities to work on a large project
- Promoting learners’ autonomy by transferring some of the responsibility for teaching and learning to them
According to Larsen (2019) on AU Educate site, group work in a multicultural setting develops students’ knowledge of their cultures, skills and attitudes as they participate in multicultural groups, and also to develop them to participate effectively in multicultural groups in a professional field.
Based on why we use group work, my opinion is that, learners in a multicultural group acquire skills to cooperate with fellow learners of different cultures. This, in turn, consequently allows them to be able to know language, cultural backgrounds, and behaviours of others. Furthermore, this teaches learners about our constitution and Ubuntu principle in our country.
Cooperative learning (as a teaching strategy in a multicultural setting)
Cooperative learning can be used when (Houghton Miffin, 1997):
- Teacher needs learners to help one another to master the aspects of a particular task
- To be motivated to learn
- To forge stronger interpersonal relationships than they would when working alone
Cooperative learning, according to Teacher Vision (2018), can be used:
- During partner reading, where students read silently and then take turns reading aloud
- During the writing process to brainstorm topics and pre-write review processes
- To practice problem-solving strategies in Mathematics
- To group students in social studies to review concepts and prepare for a test
- To create and discuss hypotheses is science before completing experiments
According to Vergin (1999), cooperative learning is used by forming groups of learners, given written and oral examples of group process skills. The groups are given an opportunity to practice the skills each time they meet. At the end of the task learners return their records during presentations.
Petursdoffir (2013:1) notes that each student is allocated a role and given tasks to carry out, within each group. In creating cooperative learning, the different tasks within multicultural setting include the following (Petursdoffir, 2013:2):
- The introductory task whereby a teacher sets up groups, allocate roles, etc.
- Concept to be acquired – an individual expression by the student using list of words, drawing, diagram etc.
- Individual reading the various complementary resources proposed by the teacher
- Cross analysis between students who have had the same resources to increase comprehension
- Ensuring that all resources are present to the group
- Resolution of a situation problem by learners
- Presentation in a plenary session
- Conclusions by the teacher
Manning and Lucking (1993:12) explain the following reasons that improve multicultural relationships:
- Learners communicate effectively with one another
- Understand the advantages associated with positive group dynamics
- Recognize that differences are a form of enrichment rather than deficits
- Recognize the value of helping others rather than working competitively
Tieman, de Brok, Bolhuis and Vallejo (2012:104) note that collaborative learning promotes the development of positive attitudes towards other group members and learning materials. They further note that, it builds social relationships and group cohesion.
Based on the above information, my opinion is that, cooperative learning is used in order for learners to:
- Improve in communication skills
- Be aware of their cultural differences
- Learn to work with other learners from different cultural background
- Develop good behavior towards other learners
- Have social relationships with other learners from different cultural background
“Students from different races and social classes have equal status within interracial work and study groups, these groups can improve interracial attitudes and help students of colour to increase their academic achievements” (Santos-Rego and Perez-Dominguez, 1998:97).
Teaching strategies such as group work and cooperative learning are best strategies to use in a multicultural setting. When learners work in a group, they tend to gain more understanding of their different cultural backgrounds, ad cooperative learning brings about a feeling of confidence towards the other cultural background. I suggest that teachers use group work and cooperative learning strategies to enhance learning in a multicultural setting.
- Bright Hub Education (2019). Effective Teaching in a Multicultural Classroom: Guidelines for teachers. Viewed 18 March 2019. Available at https://www.brighthubeducation.com/
- Gill, A.K. and Kusum. 2017. TEACHING APPROACHES, METHODS AND STRATEGY. School Research Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies, pp 6692-6697
- Glossary of Education Reform (2013). Multicultural Education. Available at: https://www.edglossary.org/multicultural-education/ [Accessed 17 March 2019]
- IFLA (2016). Defining Multiculturalism. Viewed 18 March 2019. Available at: https://www.ifla.org/publications/defining-multiculturalism
- IGI Global. 2019. Teaching Method. Accessed 17 March 2019. Available at: https://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/wiki-teaching-business-administration/29352
- Intero, J.I. 2014. ‘Teaching Strategies’. [PowerPoint presentation]. Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/jenevel/teaching-strategies-40132999 [Accessed 17 March 2019]
- Larsen, A.H. 2019. Multicultural Group Work. AU Educate. Viewed 17 March 2019, Available at http://educate.au.dk/en/examples-of-practice/internationalisering/multicultural-group-work/
- Manning, M.L. and Lucking, R. 1993. Cooperative Learning and Multicultural Classrooms. The Clearing House, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 12-16
- Petursdoffir, G. 2013. CLIM: Cooperative Learning in Multicultural Groups. Life Long Learning Programme. Viewed 18 March 2019. Available at: https://sagiter.eu/files/bf_fichierjoint_CLIM_Video_Method.pdf
- Santos-Rego, M.A. and Perez-Dominguez, S. 1998. CULTURAL AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY, COOPERATIVE LEARNING AND THE TEACHER’S ROLE. Viewed 17 March 2019. Available at: https://www.um.edu.mt
- School is Easy (2019). 3 ways to manage diversity in the classroom. Viewed 18 March 2019. Available at: https://www.schooliseasy.com/2016/08/3-ways-manage-diversity-classroom/
- Teach – Make A Difference (2019). Teaching Method. The Free Dictionary. Accessed 17 March 2019. Available at: https://teach.com/what/teachers-know/teaching-methods/
- Teacher Vision. 2018. Cooperative Learning. Viewed 18 March 2019. Available at: https://www.teachervision.com/teaching-cooperative-learning
- The Economics Network (2009) Teaching Culturally Diverse Groups: managing assessed group work. Available at: https://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/showcase/carroll_diversity [Accessed 17 March 2019]
- The OER4Schools Professional Learning Resource (2014). When to use group work and how to manage it. Viewed 17 March 2019. Available at: http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/OER4Schools/Supporting_reasoning_and_managing_group_work
- Thomas, F. and Kwnaujoks, K. (2012) Multicultural Education, [PowerPoint presentation], Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/franchescathomas2/multicultural-education-11118744 [Accessed 17 March 2019]
- Tielman, K., den Brok, P. Bolhuis, S. and Vallejo, B. 2012. Collaborative learning in multicultural classrooms: a case study of Dutch senior secondary vocational education. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, vol. 64, no. 1, pp. 103-118
- University Development Centre (2014) Improving Teaching and Learning Group Work and Group assessment. Victoria University of Wellington, p.3. Available at: http://www.nwu.ac.za [Accessed 17 March 2019]
- UNSW Sydney (2019). Group Work. Viewed 17 March 2019. Available at: https://teaching.unsw.edu.au/group-work>
- Vergin, M.J. (1999). Cooperative Learning in a Multi-Cultural Classroom. Available at: https://gse.gmu.edu/assets/docs/lmtip/vol3/M.J.Vergin.doc [Accessed 18 March 2019]
- What is TEACHING METHOD? Teaching Method Meaning and Explanation (2017). YouTube video, added by The Audiopedia [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5El8F7W4RGQ