This article by Cultural Infusion Education Strategist Nisha Feik breaks down how she creates and implements her lesson plans which help students to learn and appreciate diverse cultures through dance, song, and other key concepts.
How do teachers prepare content for their classes? How do they research their ideas? What formats can be useful for use in the classroom? Practical lesson plans to complement Cultural Infusions’ cultural school programs are constantly in development. For example, Seble Girma is a new presenter who has recently joined us at Cultural Infusion and a new lesson plan has also been created to help students learn about Ethiopian culture. Prior to or after she visited or virtually presented to a particular school, the class can find out more by:
- Reading some background information about Ethiopia
- Learning about the Ethiopian flag
- Watching a video about Ethiopian Gurage Dance
- Using some written cues to try dance steps from the video that have been graded in three levels of difficulty.
When creating content, it helps to have a format for the lesson plans (see below).
At Cultural Infusion, the format from top to bottom of the page is:
- Curriculum Guide
The order in which lesson plans are created is more likely to be:
- Curriculum Guide
This will change from teacher to teacher and school to school
When preparing supplementary lesson plans, the first source of information is preferably the presenters themselves. Once facts have been checked with them, any background facts are researched online with a reputable source such as the relevant government website from the country being researched or Encyclopedia Britannica. When resourcing culturally diverse information and context, looking for creative commons videos on YouTube can be useful. This allows the videos to be freely used for educational purposes. Watching from start to finish to check for appropriate and useful content is important.
Videos can potentially be included in lesson plans in a number of ways:
- Teach dances, songs or other concepts
- Video cues can be developed by the teacher and used for key concepts
- Quizzes can be designed to help students to understand video content
- Instructions for students to notice aspects of video design such as music, body language, camera angles, location, backgrounds used
- Encouraging students to notice familiar and unfamiliar ideas to scaffold their learning
When planning for culturally diverse lessons, videos can be the next best thing to speaking to people from that background if the content is creative commons or permission has been sought in another way to use it. Ensuring that the lesson fits within a unit of work that scaffolds students from the unknown to new understandings is paramount, and provides the kind of depth that can lead to empathy with others and intercultural understanding.
Sometimes lesson plans can provide a jumping-off point for ideas to be understood in more depth, particularly when sourced from another person as opposed to being developed by the teacher themselves. Not every lesson requires a lesson plan if there are avenues for exploration provided from one set of initial ideas. Allowing time for organic development rather than controlling the ways that students are learning within the classroom can be useful. This allows the teacher to facilitate the different learning styles and needs of their students. Whilst some people are motivated by images, others will be interested in sound and still others by reading and researching. Having some flexibility in the classroom is important when it comes to curriculum development and delivery.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin when including culturally diverse material in lesson plans. Ensuring that students are provided with regular opportunities to develop intercultural understanding and empathy is paramount, and this comes from making regular space in the curriculum for them to engage with cultures outside of their own. In this way, they can grow to become global citizens with the skills that they need to engage with the wider world.
Want to attend upcoming education webinars? Email Nisha at [email protected]