One of the most diverse countries in the world is UAE, which consists of seven different emirates, expatriates account for 90% of its population, the UAE's ethnic diversity is a result of having one of the world's highest net migration rates which may be attributed to several factors (Al-Jenaibi , 2012). Since the last decade the leadership in the UAE has paid special attention to education and multicultural values. Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, the head of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, stated that We recognize that knowledge and education learned in a multicultural setting, is the driving force behind global coexistence, collaboration, and successful leadership. (The National, 2014). Yet, there is no frame that organizes multicultural education in a directed program.
In the literature review I will focus on three domains: defining multicultural education from a global perspective, exploring teacher beliefs about multicultural education, and preparing teachers for multicultural education. This research study aims to explore how teachers are experiencing multicultural education in Dubai while teaching students of diverse cultures and communicating and collaborating with teachers of diverse background.
The roots of multicultural education go back to the Civil Rights Movement in 1954. After years of suffering due to the segregation laws that separate different color students in United States public schools since 1896, the Supreme Court of United States decided to end these segregation laws in 1954. The court decision was one of the biggest achievements of the Civil Rights Movement but it didn't suggest methods to end racial segregation. By the year 1964, the Civil Rights Movement was able to outlaw discrimination in public places including schools where students of exception started to fight for implementing a quality education that respects diversity. In the 1980s schools started to be viewed as social systems that must reflect the social norms and values of equity and justice, thus establishing the idea of multicultural equity. During the 1990s the study of multicultural education expanded to consider other dimensions including societal and global dimensions of power, privilege, and economics. (Gorski, 1999). By the end of the 20th century, the classroom was seen as a diverse community with no dominant culture which gave multicultural education a new perspective. In the 21st century, multicultural education went beyond overcoming diversity in schools as it turns diversity into a strength that values diversity and turns it into a long-term benefit for the students as persons and the wide society.
With the dynamic nature of the world, multicultural education isn't only a tool for equity and justice anymore. The number of students from various cultures has widely increased same for the teachers that are coming from different backgrounds. In addition to the presence of new dimensions that differentiate any society into smaller groups. Moreover, the globalization made it necessary for different cultures to deal together as a unit that interact easily using technological tools like social media, telecommunication tools, and computers. These factors have made multicultural education a wide term that reflects personal traits, curriculums, educational patterns, and lifestyles. It has been impossible to limit Multicultural Education into certain definition due to its interference in many aspects that describes students, teachers, schools, and every single element of the learning process. However, many researchers have tried to explain and define multicultural education. Banks and Banks (2001) define multicultural education as: An idea, an educational reform movement, and a process whose major goal is to change the structure of educational institutions so that male and female students, exceptional students, and students who are members of diverse racial, ethnic, language, and cultural groups will have an equal chance to achieve academically in school. They further explain that, the term multicultural education describes a wide variety of programs and practices related to educational equity, women, ethnic groups, language minorities, low-income groups, and people with disabilities. Multicultural education may mean making changes in the curriculum in one school but a total change in leadership in another school. Jay and Jones (2005) defined multicultural education as the common term used to describe the type of pluralist education where its advocates are seeking for all children receiving an education, pre-K through college (p. 3). The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) described multicultural education as a philosophical concept built on the ideals of freedom, justice, equality, equity, and human dignity as acknowledged in various documents, such as the U.S. Declaration of Independence, constitutions of South Africa and the United States, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. Kahn (2008) described multicultural education as a process, a philosophy, a concept, which is dynamic, multifaceted, and polemic. (as cited by Ozturgut , 2011).
Teachers' Beliefs and Awareness about multicultural education
Today's classroom settings are no longer standardized but appear more like a collection of different hues that mix together in a kaleidoscopic range of radiant faces ready to learn (Vasallo, 2014). The general society expects institutions to operate like clog wheels in a clock, coordinated to perfection, and run by beliefs and behaviors that consequently influence the academic performance together with the development of social skills of all the learners. Nevertheless, within this quite intricate but rich situation, teachers should know their own cultural favoritisms and leanings, show appropriate cultural competencies, have sufficient cultural acquaintance, foster a positive and promote the skills essential for work in harmony with learners from diverse backgrounds (Vasallo , 2014). Ladson-Billings (2001) maintains that teachers should possess high levels of cultural awareness in order to meet the needs of a diversely populated student body. Teachers in classrooms often receive training in multicultural issues to ensure that all students are respected for their own unique sets of differences. In order to facilitate the successful academic instruction of a diverse student population, teachers must have a strong cultural awareness or multicultural orientation (Bennett, 1999). The development of multicultural understanding is measured by the teachers depth of cultural self-awareness, response to difference, capacity for cross-cultural relations, and the degree to which his or her teaching style is multicultural as opposed to Eurocentric (McFadden, Merryfield, & Barron As cited by Collins, 2009).
Teachers' perceptions and their trends regarding culturally diverse students in the classroom are an important element in educating, motivating, and making a difference in education among students irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity, language, and religion. These perceptions and attitudes influence teachers' expectations and treatment of these learners (Le Roux, 2001). Pohan (1996) studies the personal and professional beliefs of 492 prospective teachers to identify variables related to the development of multicultural awareness and sensitivity. The study finds a significant relationship between prospective teachers' personal beliefs and their professional beliefs. Teachers who bring strong biases and negative stereotypes about diverse groups are less likely to develop the types of professional beliefs and behaviors most consistent with multicultural sensitivity and responsiveness. Spradly and McCurdly (1984) believe that teachers' beliefs are shaped by their experiences and backgrounds and that these affect their teaching practices. The authors explain that we tend to think that the norm we follow represents the natural way human beings do things. Those who behave otherwise are judged morally wrong. This viewpoint is ethnocentric which means that people think their own culture represents the best or at least the most appropriate way for a human being to live (As cited by Sabah Hoosein). Educational institutions take special care to their teachers beliefs and attitudes in order to improve the educational processes. The cross-cultural differences regarding teachers beliefs affect the multicultural education process. According to (Murrell & Foster, 2003) preparing prospective teachers to be successful in racially and culturally diverse settings has meant contesting their racial bias and sense of race privilege. Milner, et al, (2003) states prospective teachers were: (1) uncomfortable with people who had different values (2) felt uncomfortable with cross-cultural communication (3) agreed that students should be referred for testing if learning difficulties appeared to be based on cultural differences and (4) were neutral about integrating their learning environment with programs that support Multicultural Education (As Cited by Rotha M.Perkins). A large body of educational research argues that preservice teachers should learn more about multicultural education and different aspects of diversity in order to acquire the appropriate awareness, knowledge, and skills that support their understanding and teaching strategies in the classrooms (Gorski, 2009; Krummel, 2013, Ladson-Billings, 1994; Sleeter, 2005). Teachers preparation programs help preservice teachers to implement the approaches of multiculturalism into a school curriculum as well as find a way to move their students toward a critical philosophical framework for a just and democratic society (Gorski, 2009). Sharma (2005) suggests teacher preparation programs incorporating a balance of multicultural theory and practices are more comprehensive. (As cited by Halah Ahmed , 2016)
According to Pope and Wilder, Disparities in teachers and students' cultural background do not automatically mean the ineffectiveness a of teacher-student communication. However, research shows that the teachers knowledge of their students cultures, as well as the infusion of culturally sensitive pedagogy and materials has an influence on students academic performance (As cited by Brian Vessallo). As discussed before, the beliefs and values of the teachers highly impact the daily interaction with students, thus the learning environment needs better understanding for multiculturalism among. Tea...
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