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One of the most surprising and relevant facts that a teacher can discover about multicultural education is that children, particularly little ones, are very warm and affectionate and friendly to others by nature and that they make friends easily and readily with other like-minded children in their class, seeming not to notice colour, class, culture or creed in the same way that adults do. And why would they? Why would they pay any more special attention to that than eye colour, jeans style or hair length? In their innocence, they notice these things superficially and move on. It is only when some adults add significance (either 'good' or 'bad' (to these cues that children grow up learning to make judgements on this basis. When they grow up, this might be called bigotry, prejudice or racism. This is so significant because if we want to tackle hatred against ethnic minorities and even terrorism, we need to start young, even as young as daycare.
We then need to continue all through school, and we have seen that it bears positive results, for example in conflict resolution studies in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine. That way, one day we will have a happier and more tolerant society.
As my grandson is in multicultural education and with him at age 6 being bi-lingual, this is an important question. I feel that a surprising and relevant fact that a teacher can discover is that varied cultures and students of those cultures have many factors in common which can be used to teach them what they need to learn. This is significant because teachers tend to separate according to cultures which produces separation when the idea is inclusion for everyone. For example, the Spanish language and customs of Argentina are different that those of Mexico yet many customs are the same. Students can compare and see the similarities and differences are there, yet as people they are so alike. Bolivian people speak Spanish also, but their customs are again different in some areas. Teachers who discover that people who sound the same and yet come from very different cultures or customs are on their way to truly working in multicultural education.
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