The Future of Multicultural Kids
In our modern society, “multicultural” is often described as someone, a place, or a situation that consists of or relates to many nationalities, cultures, and several races. If a mixed marriage can form a multicultural family, then who are multicultural kids, and how will their future look? Do multicultural kids need to have a diverse background? Does a multicultural kid need to be a multilingual individual? If they do, how many languages should they speak? Do multicultural kids need to travel often, live abroad, or interact with people from other countries and be friends with people around the world?
Despite various interpretations, how to define the scope of being a multicultural kid? The most common understanding of a multicultural kid is categorized either in an internal or external form: Genetically, most people define a child from a hybrid family as a multicultural kid. On the other hand, a multicultural kid can also be a third-culture kid. In theory, multicultural kids commonly have a pair of eyes that can look at the world from a global perspective and carry the attitude to respect differences, also known as the global mindset.
What is the Global Mindset?
According to Carol Dweck, an individual mindset is how people perceive their ability or intelligence. Most people have heard of fixed and growth mindset. In a fixed mindset individual believes the ability is a fixed trait, while in a growth mindset people believe the ability can grow and develop over time and effort.
On the other hand, a global mindset is an orientation of the world that allows individuals to understand certain things from a global perspective. It is a skill to develop over time with guidance rather than rules. Fostering a global mindset skill is a vital key to opening the door in this world. The young learner will learn to connect things beyond the local frames, which this skill can lead to multicultural competencies in their adulthood. This ability will allow them to adapt and function efficiently in a culturally diverse environment and collaborate across cultures.
A global mindset means the ability to scan the world from a broad perspective, always looking for unexpected trends and opportunities that may constitute a threat or an opportunity to achieve personal, professional, or organizational objectives. – Rhinesmith.
The importance of developing a global mindset is not a secret in the modern-day. According to the Global Network research, the global mindset group tends to search for solutions more than the growth mindset group when facing challenges. Not only the global mindset group has outperformed both the fixed and growth mindset group. It proves that these individuals value learning opportunities and able to turn the plan into reality.
Related article: Cultivating a global mindset in single families
Teaching Young Children Multicultural and Global Citizenship
Via New York Times bestseller Malcolm Gladwell’s sold-out book: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, human behavior is sensitive to and strongly influenced by its environments. In other words, the community where beliefs are practiced, expressed, and nurtured plays a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavior. Creating a structure with guidance would help these principles and values to persist and serve as an example to others in the future.
Malcolm continued to address Judith Rich Harris’s theory, an independent researcher and author of The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out The Way They Do. Judith Rich Harris suggested that children’s behavior in the outside world often bears little or no similarity to their parents at home. Parents matter much less than peers in the group when it comes to determining their children’s behavior. However, not to forget that children’s transformation into a responsible adult is through parents’ careful hands. Parents do influence their children by their actions in acknowledging and reinforcing the personalities already inside their children. It is not hard to see the connection between parents, peers, and the environment often tied together in human growth and development.
Most children spend their time mainly at school with teachers and peers. Therefore, it is safe to say that education and school environment play an essential role in fostering an external multicultural kid.
The cultural diversity and the population of multinational teachers are essential in multicultural education. Children spend more awake hours in school than they do at home. Our goal is to find a school or classroom that can help them to “fit in.” As time grows and they start to feel more comfortable, kids can develop a sense of security to feel “belong” to this place eventually.
Multicultural education is a teaching and learning philosophy. The basic principle of multicultural education is the teaching methodology incorporating the teacher’s experience and student culture. The teacher who embraces multiculturalism will be more mindful of the student’s cultural backgrounds and tend to engage by supporting their differences.
In a multicultural school, kids lifestyles in which they will encounter people from different cultural backgrounds. Becoming multilingual is one of the educational goals to develop.
The main advantage is that a multicultural education prepares kids to be more knowledgeable about living with different people. Furthermore, it also emphasizes accepting cultural differences.
Multicultural education is more than race!
Related article: Multicultural Education
The Future of Multicultural Kids
Teaching multicultural and global citizenship to young children is continually seeking the following structures:
1. Open Communication
Open communication is the cornerstone of raising multicultural kids. It’s essential to create an environment where children feel comfortable discussing different cultures, races, and backgrounds. Encouraging them to ask questions and express their thoughts is vital in fostering a sense of curiosity and acceptance.
2. Instill Inquiry-Based Learning
Promote critical thinking and curiosity. Encourage children to ask questions about the world and its diverse cultures. This kind of learning not only broadens their knowledge but also develops their ability to think critically.
3. Promote Learn-Think-Feel-Act
This approach helps children understand the world’s complexities and encourages empathy. First, they learn about different cultures and global issues, then they think critically about them, feel empathy for those affected, and take action to make a positive difference.
4. Introduce Global Events
Keeping children informed about global events helps them develop a broader perspective on the world. They should understand that they are part of a global community and that their actions can impact others worldwide.
5. Encourage Global and Multicultural Experiences
Encourage children to interact with people from various backgrounds. Travel, exchange programs, and multicultural events can provide invaluable experiences. These experiences help children develop an understanding of cultural diversity and empathy.
6. Multilingual: Learning a New Language
Learning new languages broadens a child’s horizons. It not only opens doors to different cultures but also enhances cognitive abilities and communication skills.
So, What Are the Benefits of Cultivating a Multicultural Kid?
Multicultural kids are often engaged in different cultures or interacting with people from other races. They can see objects and situations from multiple perspectives, more flexible to expand further to consider alternatives. Being a global mindset multicultural kid allows them to use culture as a basic understanding of decision-making and problem-solving.
Adaptability and Flexibility
Multicultural kids generally adapt better to new cultures and understand how to behave appropriately in a new environment. Most of the children are multilingual, which allows them to find a comfort zone and adapt quickly. Multicultural kids generally have a higher tolerance for other cultures.
Children growing up in a multicultural environment are likely to be better communicators and have a more extensive international social network when they get older. Multicultural kids see themselves as part of the world. One of the biggest challenges of communication is interacting with people from different backgrounds; multicultural children can conduct the conversation more comfortably. They possess the self-assuredness to navigate diverse social contexts, which in turn boosts their self-confidence.
A recent study published in the journal “Child Development” found that students feel safer in and out of school when they grow up in a diverse environment. Children feel more comfortable with different social groups and themselves, leading to a more profound sense of safety and self-confidence.
Develop Open-Mindedness & Critical Thinking
Children who have access to a multicultural environment also have a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of other cultures. It gives children the eagerness to learn about other countries, giving them an open and inclusive world view. They are less likely to be prejudiced or judgmental and are more capable of thinking critically and empathizing with others.
Respecting Others and Self-Respect
During the growing process in a multicultural environment, most multicultural kids develop a natural sense of awareness of their own culture and other cultures. This heightened cultural awareness helps to avoid stereotyping and unhealthy relationships. It discourages the culture of division that causes unwanted judgment towards people. Children raised in a multicultural environment are aware that there is no superior culture, and they learn that all people are equal. They develop an internal sense of respect for cultural diversity.
Having a diverse environment may pose some challenges, but it also has many benefits. Children exposed to the world’s diversity develop a positive attitude towards a global perspective. Creating opportunities to learn at a young age will undoubtedly have a significant impact on society in the long run.
Multilingualism: The Power of Language
One of the crucial aspects of being a multicultural kid is the ability to speak multiple languages. Multilingualism is more than just knowing how to communicate in different tongues; it opens doors to new cultures, ideas, and experiences. Here’s how multilingualism plays a vital role in the future of multicultural kids:
1. Cognitive Benefits
Learning multiple languages enhances cognitive abilities. Multicultural kids tend to have better problem-solving skills, creativity, and a more flexible mindset. The process of switching between languages sharpens their brains and improves memory.
2. Improved Communication
Multilingual kids can effortlessly communicate with people from various linguistic backgrounds. This skill is invaluable in a globalized world where effective communication is key to success. It allows them to connect with a broader range of people and build meaningful relationships.
3. Cultural Understanding
Language is deeply intertwined with culture. By learning different languages, multicultural kids gain a deeper understanding of the cultures associated with those languages. This cultural awareness fosters empathy and respect for diverse perspectives.
4. Career Opportunities
In an increasingly interconnected world, multilingualism is a valuable asset in the job market. Multicultural kids have a competitive edge, as they can work in different countries and navigate international business environments more effectively.
5. Global Citizenship
Multilingualism is a gateway to being a true global citizen. It allows multicultural kids to participate actively in global discussions, contribute to international causes, and build bridges between cultures. Their language skills empower them to be global ambassadors of understanding and cooperation.
Fostering Multicultural Kids for a Brighter Future
In conclusion, the future of multicultural kids is filled with promise and potential. They are poised to make a positive impact on a world that is becoming increasingly diverse and interconnected. To ensure that multicultural kids thrive and fulfill their potential, several key elements should be considered:
Schools and educational institutions must continue to embrace multicultural education. This involves not only teaching about different cultures but also creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated. Teachers play a pivotal role in instilling the values of multiculturalism in students.
2. Cultural Exchange:
Encouraging cultural exchange programs, international partnerships, and exposure to diverse perspectives is essential. Children should have opportunities to interact with peers from different backgrounds and travel to experience other cultures firsthand.
3. Family Support:
Parents and caregivers have a significant influence on a child’s development. It’s essential for parents to foster an environment where curiosity, empathy, and respect for diversity are encouraged. This can be achieved through open conversations, exposure to diverse media, and involvement in multicultural activities.
4. Language Learning:
Encouraging language learning is a powerful tool in nurturing multicultural kids. Providing access to language classes and immersion experiences can help them become proficient in multiple languages, enabling them to connect with a broader range of people and cultures.
5. Role Models:
Having diverse role models and mentors is crucial for multicultural kids. These role models can inspire and guide them, showing that success knows no boundaries of culture, race, or nationality.
As the world continues to evolve and become more interconnected, the value of multicultural kids in our global society cannot be overstated. They are the bridge builders, the peacemakers, and the innovators who will shape a future where diversity is celebrated and understanding is paramount. By nurturing the global mindset and cultural awareness of multicultural kids, we are investing in a brighter and more harmonious world for generations to come.
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