A language is an essential tool for communication purposes. It is used for promoting peace and order in society. It is used for displaying authority and power, and for the obtainment of goals and objectives. However, language can also be destructive to society if it is used inappropriately. Language must be used following the conformity that governs the society so that conflicts can be avoided and the boundary of individual differences can be met. According to the framework of NCERT (2005),
“English in India today is a symbol of people’s aspirations for quality in education and fuller participation in national and international life … The level of introduction of English has now become a matter of political response to people’s aspirations, rendering almost irrelevant an academic debate on the merits of a very early introduction.”
Diversity means a combination of different social backgrounds, races, cultures, ethnicity, gender, religion, and different languages. Diversity is seen in the classroom too. Diversity in the classroom may even be related to the varying intellectual abilities and social skills of the students. Having diversity in the classroom helps students understand each other’s culture, language, ethnicity, religion, etc. Through diversity, a new perspective will be brought into the classroom. Linguistic diversity refers to the difference between languages and cultural diversity refers to the difference in cultures. In a classroom, learners belonging to different cultures who speak different languages may be present.
India is a diverse nation where people belonging to different religions, cultures, social backgrounds, and the like reside. It is a secular nation.
Educational Implications of Linguistic Diversity in Education
Here are the educational implications of linguistic diversity in education:
Get to Know your Students
Cultural awareness can be bought in the classroom only when the teacher understands each student. Every student is unique and the teacher should try to understand each student’s cultural background. This will help students learn about each other’s culture and have compassion for it.
Respect Every Student
The teacher should treat all the students equally. There should be no prejudice inside the classroom. A kid may feel that because of his/her cultural background, the teacher treats him/her differently from others. Looking at the teacher, many students may follow the same behavior as the kid. Hence, a teacher also must treat every student equally without any discrimination.
Give Assignments Related to Cultural Diversity
Assignments related to their cultural background should be given to the students to present in the classroom. Students will do proper research on it and share their cultural knowledge with their classmates. This way every student will have an understanding of their classmates’ culture. The students themselves will also have a better understanding of their own culture.
Examine your Teaching Materials
As a teacher, try to expand your cultural knowledge and share the information acquired with your students. This is a very effective way of making students understand the importance of cultural diversity. It helps in giving students a deeper understanding of diversity. This will not only be helpful for the students but the teacher too in broadening the knowledge of cultural differences.
Observe the Holidays of Every Culture
Celebrate the holidays of every culture so that students feel a sense of belonging in the classroom and school. This way the students will understand the holiday traditions of each culture and why it is celebrated. Encourage all students to celebrate the different cultures represented in the classroom.
Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in the classroom will help students learn from each other as well as help the students in their personal development. For a teacher to teach effectively and for students to work as a team, understanding each other in every aspect is essential. This will lead to healthy relationships among the classmates and a good atmosphere in the classroom.