Benefits Of Having Diverse Cultures In The Classroom

Compare a graduate from 40 years ago with one who just graduated, what has changed? Well, for one, the way we communicate has vastly changed.

From landlines, telegrams and snail mail, we have now progressed to lightning fast emails, social media, blogs and podcasts. The economy has also become more connected and diversified, thanks to the blurring of global boundaries. With so many changes taking place in the 21st century, is it any wonder why young people have to acquire a different set of skills from their parents?

21st century skills

Remember when you first started out in the working world? Back then, academic results were considered a foot in the right door so most people would work hard to score the best results. These days, however, young people are expected to acquire these 21st century skills in order to stand out from the crowd:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Flexibility
  • Literacy in media, information and technology
  • Productivity
  • Social skills

If you think that these skills are somewhat aligned with the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Learner Profile, you are right! It just goes to show how important these skills are in today’s global economy. The best way to go about acquiring such skills? Choose an International School in Singapore that prides itself on diversity. They have over 74 nationalities across two campuses at Lakeside and Tanjong Katong so you can be sure that your child will get to make lots of friends from all over the world!

Why diversity? 

There are so many advantages to studying in a school that’s rich in diversity that we don’t even know where to begin. But to give you a good idea, you can check out studies like this research done by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Here are the top 5 benefits:

1. It prepares students for the global economy.

As a global citizen and working adult, you know that businesses and companies these days operate on an international scale. By exposing your child from an early age to a wide variety of cultures, ethnicity, social groups etc, it helps them gain a better understanding and perspective of people who are different from them.

2. It improves the impact of learning.

Being exposed to different cultures helps to open up the mind in more ways than one. In fact, studies have shown that racially diverse classrooms produce social and cognitive benefits due to the input of different opinions, information and perspectives. This promotes innovative thinking and new ideas, which in turn improves the impact of learning in the classroom.

3. It supports creativity.

In the same vein, diversity supports creativity to a large extent too. Culture shapes more than just our identity, it also shapes the way we think. This could limit our scope of innovation at times, which is why being exposed to different ideas, knowledge, perspectives and opinions is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s like putting together a meal in the kitchen. Individual ingredients may not mean much on their own, but together they create a delicious meal that Gordon Ramsey may approve.

4. It increases self-esteem.

How does diversity improve one’s self-esteem? Being able to work with people of diverse nationalities does wonders for a student’s confidence because it encourages them to respect and become comfortable with differences. At the same time, students in a racially diverse environment tend to do better academically so that contributes significantly to their self-esteem as well.

5. It promotes social cohesion and reduces prejudice.

Needless to say, working closely with classmates from all walks of life is a great way to promote empathy and reduce prejudice. With a deeper understanding, students are then able to improve their cultural competence by making connections between their own lives and others.

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