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Cross-cultural Competence and Stereotypes


Early childhood Multicultural programs encourage learning environments that afford suitable and integrated course of academic studies which contribute to the progress of all the subjects of study about children’s learning and development. Simultaneously, the statistic characterizing human populations in the society requires the understanding of the subsequent goals of multicultural education (Kendall, 1983, p.3). The approaches in implementing the programmes are:

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  1. To impart skills or knowledge about respect to others’ culture and values;
  2. To help all children function successfully in a multicultural, multiracial extended social groups with a distinctive cultural and economic organization;
  3. To build up a convincing self-concept in the children influenced by the prejudice that a member of one race is intrinsically superior to members of other races, such as children of different colour;
  4. To help each child accumulate the knowledge and skills from direct participation in events or activities; and
  5. To inspire children with confidence in experiencing people of different cultures as unique parts of an entire community.

Nevertheless, these results demand early childhood program that not only give moral or psychological support, aid, or courage to each child’s feeling of pride about his or her own cultural and ethnic social heritage but also afford precise, sensible, and considerate information about different cultures of the neighbouring community.

Moreover, early childhood programs should present a basis for the skills that young children will require to attain success or reach a desired goal in later school and life experiences. Children ought to gain knowledge of Standardized English, accepted customs and proprieties protocol to be successful in the mainstream society. As an example, although there is difference on the most beneficial, elaborate and systematic plan of action to help preschoolers build up bilingual skills (Chang, Muckelroy, & Pulido-Tobiassen, 1996). Early childhood programs can support the continuous improvement of young children’s native languages at the same time helping them to attain the knowledge of English (Wong Fillmore, 1991).

Nevertheless, how and when to educate young children abilities that are essential in the mainstream culture is a state of uncertainty or perplexity for every early childhood teachers in the face of popular media, established complex mental state involving beliefs, feelings and values, and dispositions to act in certain ways. In the present age of “political correctness,” early childhood professionals must give careful consideration to the dual goals of showing respect towards each child’s native culture and, simultaneously, offer the basis for achievement within the mainstream culture.

The issues of multicultural image should be discussed with administrators, staff, and families in order to put into practice, a successful program for satisfying the learning requirements of the children.

The natural inquisitiveness of young children generate questions concerning disparity they see among children peers such as use of verbal communication, manner of acting, skin colour, hair texture, and body size or weight. Several children make statement that expresses individual view, belief or put in information about what is “good” or “bad”, “pretty” or “ugly.”

How do you respond to a child’s physical features, language, behaviour, or abilities? Would you do some things in a different way after that time? Negative or punishing reactions educate children that the issue being discussed is of relative differences in verbal communication, skin colour, or other physical characteristics are disgraceful or unsuitable and should not be talked about.

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To put up an expression of gratitude of resemblances, differences and humanness, the teacher needs to use questions and comments as learning opportunities. (Chang, Muckelroy, & Pulido-Tobiassen, 1996: Derman-Sparks & the A.B.C. task force, 1989).

The circumstances challenges an individual to go further than simply pointing out the effects of wounding comments such as “You’ve hurt her feelings by calling her ugly”, disciplining the child by saying, “Sit in that chair until you can think of something nice to say; you may not make fun of the way Carlos speaks”, or by using trite or obvious remark such as “We are all beautiful.” These responses may not help develop children’s values and forbearance of differences.

Developing Cross-cultural competence

Cross-cultural proficiency refers to “ways of assessment and behaving that allows members of one cultural, ethnic, or linguistic group to work efficiently with members of another” (Lynch & Hanson, 1992, p.356).

Cultural sensitivity, cultural responsiveness, ethnic competence, intercultural competence, and intercultural effectiveness is associated terms that transmit similar meaning. Currently, developing cross-cultural competence is a professional standard and is related to identify critical professional competencies in early education by: (a) providing learning opportunities that promote each child’s development; (b) recognizing and understanding the child as part of a family, culture, and society; and (c) developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with families.

To build up cross-cultural skill, the process of self-reflection must be started, information must be gathered about one’s own culture and that of others, value cultural quality of being similar and their differences, make use of cultural resources, and admit the existence of the value of all cultures (Lynch and Hanson, 1998 p. 23). To start this continuing through life process, the teachers must have a general conscious awareness of self, a degree of maturity, and a dedication to providing culturally quickly to respond programs.

In line with this, Multicultural theme program is a volume of primary themes units to be used by teachers at the Early Childhood level. Primary theme units are those which are the most important focus of planned events. Weekly secondary units can consist of other themes such as a number, a letter, or a shape. The objectives in this serialized set of programs include fostering children’s sense of respect for self, others, and the universe (Manthey, 1995, p.x).

In keeping with a developmentally suitable approach, we must all consent to great flexibility for transformation within planned activities.

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Learning Themes

The learning themes intend to expand children’s interests and sense of concerns further than their present world and to help them to see themselves as agents of change.

  1. Understanding, appreciates, and respect differences and similarities beyond the immediate family, neighbourhood centre/classroom, and racial group. Children in our society learn about people of different colour and race from an early age and what they take up mentally is at time not in conformity with fact or truth, negative information that lays basis for partiality that prevents consideration of an issue or situation and discrimination. Teachers need to encourage exact, positive understandings and attitudes about the populace before the Information that is incorrect becomes strongly deep-rooted in children’s minds.
  2. Learn to identify and challenge stereotypes, prejudice, and discriminatory practices in the instantaneous environment.
    What is stereotype?
    A stereotype is a comparatively firm and oversimplified event that occurred at the beginning of a group of people in which all persons in the group are categorized with the groups distinguishing quality. Stereotype can be classified according to racial groups, nations, sports grouped, and eyeglasses wearers. To any degree or extent these stereotypes can manipulate interactions, feelings, and anticipation. Sex role stereotypes help in relating to differences between sexes. Sex role stereotypes will be applied to Include in scope widely held assumptions about what females and males alike, as well as what they ought to be like. Questions have been asked whether there is proof that stereotypes are present and if they can be used to understand sex differences on cognitive abilities (Halpern, 2000, p. 237).
    Many children by now maintain ideas concerning white quality of being superior, certain limits that define the range of normal functioning and negative, stereotyped attitudes towards people of different colour that they have retained without reflection from images and messages all around them, including books, television, video games, holiday decorations, greeting cards, and toys. However, children will continue to be exposed to some action or influence about racist ideas for the rest of their lives.
  3. Commitment to the ultimate standard of perfection or excellence that each person have the right to a protected, healthy, physical well-being or relief, and sustainable existence and that all and sundry, just equitably share the earth’s resources and care for them in collaboration.
    Inclusively, most parents feel extremely satisfied in making their children happy and may not think about the harmful effects of giving them things that they may become the central distinctive characteristic or attribute of their children’s identities.
    Family, social class, cultural contexts, and life experiences have an effect on the degree to which children feels this right granted by law or contract (especially a right to benefits). For children in lower-income families, outlooks about consumerism are adjusted or attuned by life realities. For those maturing in racially and economically favoured families, developing beliefs in personal and group entitlement come together with and supports statements that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn about racial and class superiority. Families with strong multicultural or religious values about sharing resources, rather than amassing them for personal gain, may impart a counter consumerist’s message. However, regardless of material limitations and parent’s efforts to be in contradiction with consumerist messages, children are continuously harassed with persistent criticism or carping and may refuse to acknowledge counter consumerist realities or messages. Social class may also shape attitudes about the impact of consumerism on the environment. Richer people often centre on maintaining completely free from dirt or contaminated areas. A worthy cause but pays no attention to struggles to defeat environmental degradation in poor communities.
  4. Put up identities that incorporate anti-bias ideals and possibilities and acquire skills and confidence to work collectively for social justice in their own classrooms and communities and in the larger society. As children build up more unquestionable identities and differentiated views of the world, learning to take a stand for fairness for oneself and for others is the next action on their developmental journey. Research has shown that teachers can successfully involve children as young as 4 years old in policy of taking direct and militant action to achieve a political or social goal, if the projects materialize from real incidents or issues in their lives, are simple and direct, have a clear substantial focus, and are geared to the children’s experiences rather than to reach an exacting outcome. By taking part in these learning opportunities, children learn to behave responsibly, consider people’s feelings, perspectives, and ideas, and become aware of how their conduct might affect other people.
    Children developmentalists argue that young children are not able to understand events and situations they have not directly gone through. Thus they do not accept that children are fabricating ideas about people with whom they do not have direct experience. However, children without much difficulty absorb and express current stereotypes about different racial groups. Moreover, at the ages of 4 and 5 years, children can start to appreciate and feel linked to people and circumstances further than their own immediate world, if teachers cautiously bind children’s learning about others to meaningful events and experiences. Early childhood teachers have the potential to lay the basis for the continuing goal of raising children who grow up recognizing as members of a worldwide community, devoted to creating an equitable and sustainable world.

In conclusion, the aim of this research paper is to motivate teachers to include multiculturalism into their lessons on an ongoing basis. It can be a starting point from which a sense of caring and respect for others can start.

Hopefully, this research paper has tackled on the subject Multicultural Imagine of early childhood education and the approaches towards it. It also encourages teachers to research into multicultural resources. The best resource, of course, is real people. Furthermore, the children and families must be integrated with the multicultural education. Most people are arrogant to give information about their cultural identity. Teaching children to respect cultural differences in the present day will help build the foundation of peace for the coming generations.

Reference List

Chang, H.N.L., Muckelroy, A., & Pulido-Tobiassen, D. (1996). Looking in, looking out. Redefining child care and early education in a diverse society. San Francisco: Tomorrow.

Derman-Sparks, L., & The A.B.C Task Force. (1989). Anti-bias curriculum: Tools for empowering young children. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Halpern, Diane. (2000). Sex differences in cognitive abilities. Mahwah, NJ: Routledge.

Kendall, F. E. (1983). Diversity in the classroom: A multicultural approach to the education of young children. New York: Teachers College Press.

Lynch, E.W., & Hanson, M. J. (1998). Developing cross-culturalcompetence. A guide for working with young children and their families (2d ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

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Manthey, C. M. (1995). With respect for others: activities for a global neighbourhood. Humanics Publishing Group.

Wong Fillmore, L. (1991). When learning a second language means losing the first. Early childhood Research Quarterly, 6, 323-346.

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