How can we promote multicultural education in schools?
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I would think that there are many different ways that multicultural education can be promoted in our schools if that is what we think is the best thing for us to do. Different ways will be more or less appropriate depending on the subject and the grade level being taught.
As a teacher of social sciences, I think that history is a pretty easy place to promote multicultural education. If you think it is appropriate, you can include lessons about the ways that various ethnic groups have contributed to and been affected by our history. This can be done, for example, through the fairly common observances of Black History Month.
For me this is not a question of how can we promote multicultural education in schools, but why we shouldn't.
I have nothing against any of the races in my school other than summulians. I push myself to the limits everyday fighting to maintain good grades and a high GPA. Then I look over at the summulians, and I only find the following;
- Academic Dishonesty
It is sad to say but we are to a point in our lives where the only way we are going to achieve peace is to build a school for only summuli students.
Just yesterday - 10/13/10 - I witnessed my first fight at Technical Senior High School. It was between two summuli girls. One got probation, the other one was free to go becuase she wasn't the one who started the fight.
The things that are happening in the world now only have one ending imprinted in my mind.
Another Great Depression
Great question, and to me the issue of introducing multicultural curriculum runs into resistance from traditional materials and classes that have been taught for a long period of time. So teachers and schools that offer classes in American or British Literature, for example, already have both the materials and the teacher-developed curriculum and experience, all of which are resistant to change.
So to encourage the introduction of new classes and materials that more accurately reflect the rainbow of cultures, subsidized materials and trainings should be made available, and/or states themselves can legislate that schools include such curriculum (not my favorite method, of course). Often new teachers are more open to new subjects, and are still developing their own materials, so offering multicultural electives to those teachers may meet with less resistance. We could also encourage students to organize themselves and request culturally-based classes that reflect their own backgrounds and interests.
Depending on where students attend school, this answer should and often is addressed differently. For example, closer to the Mexican border, you will find greater attention to Latino literature.
The United States of America is a country developed from several other countries, and we continue the effort to keep our borders accessible and open. We appreciate people who use the appropriate immigration measures to have legal nationalization into our country. Because of these facts about our nation, our history curriculum already has the idea of multiculturalism in place.
Furthermore, we enroll students in our schools without checking their citizenship... it is against the law. We educate all children within our borders regardless of race, ethnicity, or citizenship with another country. Then, we provide services for students who do not speak English as their first language. How much more multi-cultural can we get?
I see the opportunity to affect curriculum in the department of Language Arts. In this area, we could cause our curricula to include more world literature which exposes children to the actual human experiences of peoples worldwide.
America is a place where the multicultural approach already flourishes. I know there are schools of thought that seek greater attention to multi-cultural education, but how much farther do we need to go?
If the asker of the question is in an Education program, then indeed, I see the need to understand as a teacher the importance of promoting all ethnicities as valuable within a classroom. Ways to do this might include in the elementary years opportunities for students of varying cultures the option to express their country's holidays or traditions at appropriate times of year. This might also mean studying the cultures represented in a classroom to help students understand each other, but it also leaves room for another question. What does that mean though where there is only one or two ethnicities in a classroom?
Great question, I hope you find a variety of ways to incorporate mulit-cultural education into the classroom.
I think the suggestion in #2 is very valid in whatever discipline you teach. For me, as a literature teacher, I think it is imperative to select texts from a wide range of backgrounds, and not just Dead White American Males. Exposure to such texts helps students gain radically different perspectives on life and the world and will hopefully enrich them as a result.
We live in a multi-cultural world now more than ever before, and our teaching, in general terms, should reflect that. In literature, if a work is excellent, well written, and stands the test of time it can be read and used effectively in the classroom. The challenge sometimes, as mentioned above, is a lack of exposure to such works. A teacher has to either stumble upon it or seek it out (or be handed the text and told to teach it) if he or she is going to teach something new. Recent college grads and new teachers are the most likely to be well versed (or at least better-versed) inworks beyond the traditional cannon. The rest of us have to work at it. On the other end of the spectrum, settling for something mediocre simply because it's representative of a "multi-cultural gap" in the curriculum is worse than leaving it out altogether. Quality work from any culture is worth reading; less-than-quality work from any culture is not worth reading.
I would hope that most school districts address multi culture without having to have an actual curriculum in multi culture. As mentioned above the Social Studies classes lend themselves rather easily to address multi cultures, and in Literature it may take a little extra time finding the appropriate books or stories to address it
We can promote it by using multi-cultural works of literature, multi-cultural pieces of music, and other forms of different cultures in the classes that we have. By promoting the positive attributes and the negative attributes, we gain a better appreciation for other cultures.
Wow. Maybe I'm wrong, but post three is a prime example of why our students need to be more culturally aware. One way this education is to take place is to make meaningful ways for students and families of all culture types to feel as if they have something of value to offer our public schools. Perhaps it's the family traditions that the different cultures experience, maybe it's the education ideas they've grown up with, maybe it's the gender roles in the particular cultures, maybe it's the skills and hobbies that the culture engages in. Each culture brings something to the table, but as educators we don't always use the most of some of our natural resourcs which is the parents and families.
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