Every region, even in a single country, differs culturally to a great extent. As a result, introducing students to various forms of culture right from their school days has become necessary. Cultural diversity is about appreciating that society is made up of many different groups with different interests, skills, talents, and needs. Understanding the significance of cultural diversity through experience becomes very important.
Sharing knowledge regarding various cultures in the classroom need not only be done through history books or through theoretical materials, it can also be done in a playful manner. The aspects of various cultures can be introduced to high school students by organizing festivals, competitions, social experiences, and different cultural activities. They help in cultivating awareness and spreading a sense of acceptance regarding different cultures.
Check different creative activities and games and encourage students to learn about cultures and understand the uniqueness, specialty, and history behind them.
Fun activities to promote cultural diversity in high school
Classroom activities promote learning in a comprehensive manner. Students also get an opportunity to understand and accept the different views of their classmates.
1. The Festival Week
As we talk about multicultural diversity, festivals are an important part of it. Festivals represent the community’s beliefs, rituals, and traditional practices. This type of activity allows students to explore different cultures in a creative format.
- Make a list of festivals that can be celebrated and talked about in the classroom
- Keep one student for each festival
- Ask students to dress traditionally as per the norms of the festival
- They can also carry any specific food item which is made during that festival for the whole classroom
- Ask students to speak about the history of the festival and the various traditions done during the time period of the festival
This activity creates a fun environment in the class. It encourages appreciation and enjoyment of various cultures. It unites students and helps them bond on a deeper level. Along with this, students learn about the different traditions and festivals celebrated in unique ways all around the world.
2. Culture Food Festival
Without a traditional type of food, every culture is simply bland. Organizing a cultural food festival is a helpful way to make the experience of celebration tasty and lively. Nobody hates food, and when there are so many options to explore, nobody would want to miss that day of school!
- Ask students to bring a food item that belongs specifically to their culture
- Before eating, ask students to tell the name of the food item and its detailed recipe
- Ask them to give some information about the flavors used in that particular dish
This is a playful activity where students get to enjoy the different delicacies prepared in different cultures. They get to experience the taste of different spices, vegetables, and desserts. They also get a chance to enjoy and celebrate the different festivals as if they are their own.
3. What’s Different?
We all learn a lot of things from each other’s cultures. Every culture teaches and awes individuals in various ways. Encourage this among students, it requires them to think more intently and care about each other’s culture.
- Select a day in advance and address this topic with students
- Ask students to prepare a list of a few things regarding what they like about a specific culture
- Organize a discussion day and ask students to share their opinions and learn from each other
This activity promotes a sense of acceptance, and awareness and makes students comfortable with each other. Along with that, they get to learn new things and also realize things from each other’s perspectives.
4. Learn and Recite
Literature, poetry and art are intrinsic parts of every culture. This activity encourages students to glance through the beauty of poems and songs which are found in different cultures.
- Ask students to pick a poem or a song of their regional language and prepare it to present in the class. This will give a glimpse of the different languages to students.
- Give them a time of 2 days to learn and prepare it thoroughly.
- Encourage them to recite it in front of classmates. Educators may also ask them to explain the meaning of certain unique words too.
As students indulge in listening to languages and understanding rhythm, they also get to learn the beauty of folk songs. They also develop their active listening skills in the activity.
5. That’s what we do!
Every culture has a unique way of things, right from greeting and cooking to celebrating and worshiping. This uniqueness is what makes every culture significant and something to look at with awe.
- Ask students to share one significant thing about their culture
- Give them turns to talk
- Ask other students to state something significant and unique in other cultures
- The student who belongs to a particular culture then has to explain the reason behind why this particular act or tradition is done in their culture signify
When students share personal experiences and stories of their traditions, they get to connect with each other at a deeper level. They also get an opportunity to learn about the meaning behind different traditions.
Engaging cultural games to play in the classroom
Various classroom games are a great way to indulge students in creativity and a challenging environment. As students have the aspect of winning or losing, they are more likely to actively learn during games.
1. The Fact Check
Playing quizzes and checking facts is an interesting type of game that many students like to participate in. Such games enhance the general knowledge of the participants and help in witty discussions.
- Put chits with names of different countries and cultures
- Divide students into teams of 5
- Ask them pick a chit
- Students have to state 2-3 facts in a span of 3 minutes about the culture/country. For example, People in Africa drink water in Eggshells
- The team with the highest number of right facts wins the game
This game enhances the general knowledge of students regarding various cultures of the world. Along with this, it helps them gain exposure to a competition-like situation. The game demands analysis, thinking and working efficiently under pressure.
2. My Uniqueness
Every culture has a set of unique ideas, art, literature, food, music, and various other things. This game is about finding that unique set of things jumbled up in a piece of a word search puzzle.
- Make a team of 5 students
- Take any specific culture
- Make a word search puzzle in such a way that the most known unique things about culture are hidden in that word puzzle
- Distribute the sheet of word search puzzles in the classroom
- The team to find all the words in minimum time wins
This game enhances the vocabulary skills of students. It also introduces them to a set of new words belonging to different languages.
3. Draw, Don’t Talk
A game becomes even more fun when clubbed with the aspects of drawing. It enhances creativity and also makes students stress-free.
- A set of names of different countries are put on flashcards
- Students have to pick one card
- Divide the student into teams of 5 students each
- Let each team pick one flashcard
- The team has to draw a set of 5 pictures that are renowned from that country or culture
- For example, if Italy comes on the card, a student can draw a Ferrari, a pizza, or the leaning tower of Pisa
- Two teams will be competing simultaneously
- The team to draw the 5 objects first wins
This game enhances the critical thinking component. It provides exposure to working and performing spontaneously during pressure situations. A certain amount of involvement and playfulness is for sure to be observed while conducting this game.
4. Make your Hat!
Every country has a different terrain and atmosphere surrounding it, which forces for a lot of variations in housing, settlement, and clothing. Every culture has a very different type of hat that is specific to them.
- In this activity, students need to make a wearable hat of a specific location or culture
- Students can research it well in advance
- They should know the name of the hat and give a little information about it
- The one who does all this creatively wins the game
Hats differ from region to region and when students make such hats, they develop research and analytical thinking skills. It also helps them stay connected with art forms of different cultures.
5. Paint and Show
Cultures across the world have different folk art and themes of colors. This game adds all the necessary color and fun which can light up the everyday class with joyfulness.
- In this game, everyone gets a small pot
- On this pot, they have to paint and create a small art form
- The challenge is that they have to paint a small story of a specific culture
- For example, they may opt for a Warli painting dedicated to a specific location
- The one who does it creatively and innovatively wins the game
Painting is a fun game but when students do it for winning, they develop abstract thinking skills as well. The challenging environment boosts creativity and enhances the overall acceptance of different cultures.
Why is learning cultural diversity important for high schoolers?
Cultural diversity is a crucial concept in everyday life. We generally strike up conversations with shopkeepers, grocers, and salespeople belonging to different cultures. Hence, check why it is so important to inculcate the attitude of being culturally aware for students.
1. Develops a Sense of Respect
Respecting other cultures and maintaining integrity encourages harmony and unity in the classroom. Igniting minds by helping them inculcate the attitude of respecting other cultures and faith is henceforth important. Students feel involved simply by gaining insights into other cultures and learning about them. Various ignorances can be cleared when they develop awareness.
2. Creates a Positive Attitude
A learning environment needs to be positive for all learners. Students from different locations and cultures sit together in one classroom. Hence, it is significant to develop a positive attitude toward each other’s communication style, eating habits, and general beliefs. A positive attitude in the classroom develops empathy in students thereby eliminating discrimination.
3. Enhances Knowledge and Learning Environment
When one learns about the different cultures present throughout this world, one is actually traveling mentally to that place. Knowing the different cultures of the world helps in understanding the various ways of different types of people. It gives a great insight into the development of this human civilization as a whole. The learning environment is empowered with inclusiveness, acceptance, celebration, and playfulness.
4. Instills a Feeling of Equality
Knowing other cultures and being open and accepting towards others is a way to avoid disrespect. Spreading awareness about cultural diversity can hence promote a sense of equality and help individuals overcome discrimination. It also makes students feel equal to others no matter their caste, creed, religion, or color.
5. Fosters Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to think about the purpose of a particular thing. It is based on finding solutions that can help people solve various problems. Every culture has a history in which some sort of social problem used to exist. Studying various cultures can give one keen insight related to a lot of factors relevant today. This tendency instilled in individuals by studying the different types of cultures can help them develop critical thinking. Furthermore, understanding cultural diversity can also be a good example of critical thinking.
Culture plays an important role in the social identity of any human being. As students get an opportunity to learn about different cultures, they develop the skills of acceptance and appreciation. It is significant that students understand the concept of diversity and learn to adjust to different learning environments. Activities are a helpful way to foster this skill as they are fun and engaging for the classroom setting.
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn