Multiculturalism at Thames British School Warsaw
A peek at a conference on ‘Children in the world of cultures and languages’
Our Polish Curriculum Co-ordinator Agnieszka, had the privilage to be one of the speakers at a conference organised by Wszechnica Polska University in Warsaw on March 28th. The variety of topics presented ranged from early language aquisition, through the use of Japanese kamishibai theatre in teaching, to children’s stories and songs; yet most of the speeches had one topic in common – multiculturalism.
Being a multicultural community, TBS faces some of the challenges discussed at the conference.
1. Problems concerning newly arrived families
We are aware of the fact it is not easy to find your bearings in a foreign country, especially if your family derives from an entirely different culture. Local laws, rules, customs, habits may be difficult to understand or comply with, not to mention first you need to know about them. That is why we strive to be as clear and helpful as possible, making ourselves available for parents and working through various communication channels.
2. Language barrier
At present, we have over 15 different nationalities at TBS. Some of the children came to us with no English at all, some communicate fluently. It may be overwhealming, frustrating and extremely stressful for a child not being able to express their needs. We encourage other children to help out and facilitate the process by using non-verbal communication together with English, just like the teachers do. Nonetheless, the crucial ingredient of inclusion is our homely atmosphere of trust and safety.
3. Tolerance vs. curiosity
An interesting point was raised about tolerance, acceptance, curiosity and transgressing boudaries. Tolerance is largely seen as the optimal solution in a multicultural environment but here it was presented in a different light. The sole tolerance means nothing more than accepting the fact that someone is different from us. In order to build a community it is not enough to aknowledge the otherness and tolerate your peers. A certain dose of curiosity needs to be in place, an urge to explore the differences and embrace them; it is the only way to build a true understanding among each other.
On the other hand lays the acceptance and boundaries issue. At no point should we blindly accept the influence of others on us. Knowing the boundaries of our comfort is utmost important. It helps us to maintain a healthy balance between our point of view, opinions, values, beliefs; and those of others. Lets your mind be open but also critical.
4. Differences in the upbringing
Our team consists of educators with vast experience of working with families from all over the world. We understand the standards of a child’s upbringing differ throughout the countries. Far from judging and lecturing, we endeavour to gently introduce the families into the kind of education we believe in, and at the same time respect values that are crucial for other cultures.
Come and experience the true sense of a multicultural community TBS creates. No matter whether you are already a part of it or would just like to have a taste of what TBS is like, we invite you to our Community Days:
- April 7th and May 12th (11am-2pm) at Park Szczęśliwicki Campus
- April 14th and May 19th (11am-2pm) at Piaseczno Campus
Join us for a superb quality time with your family!
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