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In education, it is believed that there are four forces that explain human behavior. They are psychodynamic, behavioral, humanistic forces, and multiculturalism (varying cultural dynamics).
Educators believe there are four "lenses" of learning that make education more significant and meaningful to students. Of the four lenses, the one that seems particularly significant to multiculturalism is the social lens.
The social lens involves cooperative learning and being part of a community of learners. This cannot be created unless there is a recognition of the value of diverse cultures, and this needs to be addressed in the early stages of learning.
Outside of the classroom, multiculturalism can be celebrated in the diversity of the communities members from different cultures; this can also lead to understanding, open lines of communication between different cultures, the avoidance of misinformation and stereotyping, and removing the stumbling blocks that often interfere with the healthy growth of society in general.
Promotion of multiculturalism can come from many valuable sources. In our middle school system, there is a yearly event (International Day) that involves the entire seventh grade. Student come dressed in costume, parents provide food from other cultures, posters summarizing the talents, history, etc., of cultures are on display, and diversity is praised and celebrated.
In the classroom, reading short stories or poems from a variety of cultures and lifting these examples up for the beauty of the diversity represented sends a message of acceptance throughout the class.
Out in society, in neighborhoods where many cultures co-exist, festivals and/or celebrations where food is served, and the arts are displayed can bring people together.
Anything that gives a sense of value to a group that is not the majority is a wonderful and worthwhile step to even out the playing field, allowing all participants to feel worthy and accepted.
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