CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Teaching in the age of diversity: Culture and language as sources of conflict and strength in the classroom

Department

Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

Publication Date

1-1-2007

Publication Title

Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies

ISSN or ISBN

2346-7258

Volume

14

Issue

2

First Page

93

Last Page

113

Abstract

Teachers today are frequently faced with the challenge of effective instructional approaches in the age of multiculturalism, as well as the management and resolution of potential conflicts during their interactions with students who speak English as another language. This article examines the role of variant learning styles and the potential lack of understanding between teacher and student that can lead to conflict. Conflict and social construction theories serve as theoretical foundations in this discussion and emphasize the importance of meaning, symbolism, and interpretation. The impact and differentiation between low context, high context, individualistic, and collectivistic cultures are identified as influential variables in this process. Recommendations are offered from a critical pedagogical perspective to enhance student learning. Ethnocognitivism is also explored to demonstrate that different cognitive styles exist within language use and cultural context. Implications for teacher competence, future instructional and conflict management practices are presented.

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