How to Continue to Teach Culture post-Holidays

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The classroom is a melting pot of diversity regarding languages and cultures, which is why dual language education programs exist. However, language is not the only aspect of cultural diversity; there are beliefs, values, traditions and holidays that make up different cultures. Getting children to learn other languages and cultures through dual immersion is the best way to cultivate respect and inclusivity. We can support that inclusivity by celebrating many different holidays to help create awareness and help bilingual children appreciate and interact with different cultures. Of course, during the holiday season it is easy to teach culture. However, doing it beyond the holidays shows students the importance of culture and morals beyond the season. Below are some of the activities you can have kids engage in past the holidays.


As an educator, you can come up with a research project for your students to work on after the holidays and present their findings in class. These projects may address values, beliefs, and practices that are significant in a specific culture. For example, many Swedish students often present the holiday tradition St. Lucia in their classrooms, complete with advent calendars, Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinammon rolls), and wreaths for the students. Have your students research about important holidays celebrated by the different cultures represented in your class. They can do this by interviewing their parents, and other knowledgeable people in their communities and present their findings in class. By hosting these projects after the holidays, the students can attest to their own experiences with them, fresh in their minds. Having students reflect on the holidays allows them to feel pride in their cultures, and share it with their peers.

Article Image: How to Continue to Teach Culture post-holidays

2.Host a cultural day event

Hosting an event specifically in celebration of cultural diversity is a fun way to help your students interact with other cultures. The cultural day should have the students come to school wearing their cultural attires. This allows students to have a certain pride in their culture and gives other students the opportunity to be more accepting towards other cultures. Include cultural music, food, and skits from different cultures that can be performed by the students and even parents. You can then end the day by indulging in traditional dishes from different cultural backgrounds.

Continue reading to find out more about celebrating culture in your classroom…

3.Visit museums

The holidays are full of festivities, now that things slow down, take the time to have your students truly reflect on the meaning of them- beyond the presents. You can organize a class trip to a museum that showcases different cultures within your community. The more the institutions that provide public exhibition and knowledge about different cultures, the more awareness, and appreciation for these cultures. Maybe have each day upon return from holiday break include a conversation about a different culture. This doesn’t need to be an all-day activity, but even spending a 20-minute lesson on this can provide your students with entertainment and more cultural awareness.

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4.Multicultural-themed book club

Books are great sources of information. You can add multicultural themed books, fiction, and nonfiction to your library and form a holiday book club. There are many books that focus on holiday traditions from various cultures. You can even have your students read different books, and then organize a day where they come together and share their knowledge of different cultures through discussions or presentations. Ask them to discuss what they learned from the holidays, and the feelings they had from being around their family. Why are these traditions important? What do they add to the lives of the characters in the book?

Different cultures have different holidays, and it’s important to encourage kids to share how they celebrated different shared holidays through classroom discussion. Allowing the kids to bring items and talk about different activities done during popular holidays, like the New Year, will help them learn about different cultural practices and their significance.

For example, the Chinese New Year celebrations fall on a different date every year, while a Spanish new year celebration involves eating at least twelve grapes on the eve of the New Year. You can incorporate these ideas into your dual immersion programs to help kids interact, learn and appreciate their different backgrounds in a fun way. With existing stereotypes and discrimination, cultural appreciation and respect are important in creating harmony and good relationships in social spaces and communities at large.

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Shelly Spiegel-Coleman
Author: Shelly Spiegel-Coleman

Shelly Spiegel-Coleman is the Executive Director of Californians Together, a coalition of 23 statewide professional, parent and civil rights organizations focused on improving schooling for English learners. She served on Superintendent Tom Torlakson's Transition Team. Shelly was the Senior Project Director for the Multilingual Academic Support unit for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). She also worked as an English Language Development Consultant, Coordinator for the Bilingual Teacher Training Program and Title VII Developmental Two-Way Immersion Director for LACOE. She served as a member of the English Learner Advisory Committee to the California State Board of Education. She also served as a member of the Public School Accountability Act Advisory Committee, English Language Development Standards Project and the California Curriculum and Supplemental Materials Commission. She was a teacher, principal, and district specialist. Shelly received her Masters in Education with an emphasis in Bilingual Education from Whittier College, credential from UCLA and undergraduate work at California State University at Northridge.

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