The new child in my class that is about to arrive is from a country called Brunei. This country sits on the island of Borneo and is located on the north coast of Malaysia. The culture of Brunei is Malay and Islamic and is considered more conservative than Indonesia and Malaysia. Brunei’s official language is Malay but English is widely spoken as it is a compulsory subject in majority of the schools.
As a result of knowing the above, I would make sure that I:
- Know how to correctly pronounce the child’s name.
- I would read up on more information about the country, culture and the Islamic religion in Brunei and what are the general family dynamics.
- I would ensure that there are books in the classroom that the child could relate too, books that display diversity of religions and cultures.
- I would ensure that the above information I read and learn will be shared to the fellow teaching colleagues in my classroom and in my grade.
- I would prepare the children in my current class for the child’s arrival by reviewing our essential agreements of being kind, gentle, tolerant and respectful of others.
- Although the child may have a good level of English, I would also take the time to at least know a few words in the child’s mother tongue language, e.g. hello, goodbye, thank you, yes, no.
- Hopefully before the child comes to my classroom, I can have a sit down conversation with the parents, to find out more about the family, what they wish for their child and how best to make their child and them feel supported and welcomed, as well as what our expectations are for their child in our school.
I believe the above preparations will benefit and prepare myself and the staff around me to be more culturally sensitive, tolerant, respectful and open-minded. Furthermore it would prepare the parents and reassure them that their child will be well looked after in my school and classroom. It will also ensure them that we have their and their child’s interest at heart, which will create a clear, open and harmonious relationship for both parties from the beginning.