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How can English promote multiculturalism in class?

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Phillip Holland eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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English can promote multiculturalism in the classroom. One can read different works by people from different nationalities. There is a wealth of material out there featuring different nationalities and socioeconomic statuses; someone teaching literature does not have to look very hard to find a variety of literary characters by a variety of authors whom the class will find interesting. It is also important that the subject matter also be grade appropriate and appropriate for the student's reading level as well. It is very important to read authors from a variety of backgrounds in order to gain an appreciation for other cultures. Even though it is an English class, good English translations exist of many works written by authors whose first language is not English.

English can also promote multiculturalism by looking at the etymology of various words. English itself is a multicultural language, with many words having Anglo-Saxon and Latin roots. One can look up the origin of various words and see how the language has changed over time. By doing this, the English student can gain greater knowledge of how words have been added to the English language and how their meanings have changed over time. Students whose first language is not English can also look for cognates in English—this is especially true for students who speak one of the Romance languages, such as Spanish or French.

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