Multiculturalism is a new concept to me. Growing up in the middle of Europe in a small town embraced by multi generational family, neighbours, and close friends was the only life I knew. Emigrating to Canada eighteen years ago was when I was first exposed to this new way of living. Ever since the diversity in all aspects of my environment is astonishing. Although now I see the BC mountains as being so beautiful but at first they were definitely a great challenge. I grew up on the plains where my eyes could see far but this new landscape left me feeling closed in and isolated. Experiencing new flavours, smells, colours and accents all at once was overwhelming. I was and still am in the process of learning to be open minded and trusting. Living in a multicultural environment provides learning opportunities on many levels. It teaches us to learn about our own selves on a much deeper level which then will build confidence. As instructors we must not allow this confidence to keep us from our goal of connecting with everybody in every class we teach. As Brookfield says: “If I am working with large numbers of students from racial backgrounds other than my own, I cannot morph into someone of another race, using styles of communication and illustrative examples drawn from a different racial experience.” (Brookfield, p. 171) Compromising authenticity is always a risky game. Especially when it comes to teaching a class full of students. We are living in a country where diversity is our normal. Growing from my own experience helped me to employe an attitude toward teaching which has an element of humility towards diversity.
Brookfield, S.D. (2006). The Skillful Teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. ( 2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.