How to teach in a multicultural
By Olga Tsoy,
The teacher of
English language, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Nowadays we talk a
lot about teaching in a multicultural society. Some scholars say
that itís a very complicated task for a modern teacher. What
should a teacher do to get better results in his/her activity?
What should he or she teach first of all?
Ahead of an ancient
oriental holiday Nooruz, which is also a Moslem religious
holiday and a national celebration of a lot of nationalities
living in Kyrgyzstan, weíd like to talk about teaching Kyrgyz
languages in our multicultural society.
We are from
Kyrgyzstan, a small independent state in the Central Asia. The
official language of the country is Kyrgyz. Along with the
official language Russian is widespread. A major part of people
who live not far from the capital of Kyrgyzstan speak Russian
language. The further they are from Bishkek the worse people
speak Russian, they speak everyday Kyrgyz. To illustrate how we
teach Kyrgyz, we have interviewed a teacher of Kyrgyz language,
who has been working at school for more than 25 years.
We also study the
history of our country in Kyrgyz language. A few years ago I
started a new elective course: Customs and traditions of Kyrgyz
people. I tried to expand studentsí knowledge on the subject, to
describe the difference in traditions of people living in the
south, east, west and north of Kyrgyzstan, and also some common
peculiarities. For example, people who live in the south have a
different way of life from those who live in the north. It is
because some historical, geographical and ethnical factors.
Talking about ethnical
conflicts do you have any problems of this kind in your own
All students in the class and at
school are of different nationalities but with the same
mentality. Thatís why in my school we donít have any
multicultural conflicts. Well, we have some other problems with
teenagers: intolerance to each other, misunderstanding things
around them. To solve the problem I try to teach my students
tolerance through friendly chat and role-playing. To close my
students we often organize trips to the countryside, to some
historical places. So it doesnít only join the student but also
shows them round the country, its history and landscape.
And where do you usually
celebrate national holidays, do you go somewhere?
It depends. We mostly organize holidays at school. Itís a rather
picturesque spectacle. On the 21-st of March we will celebrate
Nooruz, this holiday symbolizes the beginning of spring. WeĎll
dramatize various national traditions. Itís a good opportunity
to practice spoken Kyrgyz and become familiar with