Multicultural education seeks to achieve educational equality and the development of a prospectus that builds on the understanding of diverse ethnic and cultural groups while fighting the practices that are oppressive. The main goal of multicultural education is to enhance students with knowledge and skills for critical thinking on societal issues and changes to advance on their capabilities on decision making. It is composed of five dimensions which work in an interconnected manner to ensure proper delivery into the school system.
Multicultural education is a teaching and learning approach that is based on values that are democratic and those that promote cultural pluralism. It is a movement for social justice, equity, and democracy. Specialists within it lay emphasis on components that are different and cultural groups. The reform of schools to enable students to obtain attitude, knowledge, and skills that are required to function in a world that is diverse ethnically and culturally is the major goal of multicultural education (Banks, 2008). It also aims at the achievement of educational equality and the development of a curriculum which builds on understanding in concern of ethnic groups and the fight against practices that are oppressive (Bennett, 2003). Multicultural education tries to guarantee that the members who fall under different ethnic, racial, socioeconomic and cultural groups gain educational equity and to aid their contribution as reflective and critical citizens in a civil culture that is nationally inclusive.
Students are provided with educational experiences which allow them to preserve dedication to the cultures of their community while also obtaining the skills and knowledge and cultural assets required to function in the society through multicultural education. Multicultural theorists hold that academic comprehension and skills are not enough for proper functioning in a world that is diverse though they are necessary. Multicultural education aims at gaining equality, freedom ideals, democracy and justice to all cultural, social and language groups (Banks, 2008). They look upon skills in living democratically and effective functioning within and athwart groups that are diverse as indispensable objectives of schooling. Multicultural education concentrates on the unrelenting social divisions and tries to create a society that is transformed and inclusive. The educators of multiculturalism view difference in cultures as a strength of the nation as opposed to a problem that can be solved through assimilation.
The genesis of multicultural education dates back to 1960s and 1970s during the movement for civil rights. From the insist of ethnic groups to be included in the syllabus of schools it grew. Multicultural education has deep chronological roots in the movement of the African American cultural studies which surfaced in the late 19th towards early 20th century although it is a result of the pressure group of ethnic studies in the 1960s. George Washington Williams, Charles H. Wesley and Carter G. Woodson were among the first of multicultural education with their goal mainly being to confront the images that were negative and the typecast on African Americans widespread in majority learning by creation of a depiction that was truthful about the life, olden times and input of African Americans (Banks, 2008). They had an individual, proficient and stable dedication to the boost of African Americans.
On the revival of the African American movement during the 1960s, the African Americans in the inclusion of additional ethnic groups that were marginalized declined demands made by assimilationists to relinquish their heritage and cultural identity. They wanted their lives and history to be featured in the school syllabus too (Banks, 2008). Multicultural educators required for a transformation of the standpoint on Eurocentrism and the integration of perspectives that were multiple into the course of studies. The realization by multicultural educators of the inefficiency of ethnic studies to cause a reform in schools that catered for the students of academic color needs was in the late 1980s. The focal point was therefore shifted from merely including content on ethnicity to structural changes that were deep in schools. Gender, social class, and language became included in the studies. More content that is ethnic in nature has been featured in the textbooks used in the United States over the last two decades (Bennett, 2003). Teachers are continually using collections of literature which are inclusive of sections that are written by people of color.
Multicultural Education Dimensions
There five dimensions include:
Content integration looks into extents to which content and examples which come from various groups and cultures are used by teachers to demonstrate principles, key points, theories and generalizations in subject areas or discipline (Banks, 2008). Cultural and ethnic content installation into subject areas is done in a manner that is logic and not schemed in the case the implementation of this dimension is properly done.
The knowledge construction process portrays tutoring activities which aid students to comprehend, inspect and establish how inherent assumptions on culture, perspectives, researcher'' biases, reference frames and writers of textbooks influence the construction of knowledge (Banks, 2008).
Prejudice reduction aims at helping the students to build up attitudes that are constructive and egalitarian towards race (Banks, 2008). The students are also helped to understand the influence on ethnic identity by the school context and the beliefs and attitudes held by social groups that are dominant.
An equal pedagogy subsists the teaching is modified by teachers to facilitate the achievement academically of students who hail from diverse cultural, language, racial and socioeconomic groups (Bennett, 2003). Exercising of styles of teaching and approaches which are unswerving with the range of styles of learning within different ethnic and cultural groups and the use of learning method that are supportive in directives used in science and math for enhancing accomplishment academically of the scholar of color is involved.
An empowering school culture involves the changing the structure of the schools' culture and organization for the experience of equality amongst students of diverse ethnic, social, language and socioeconomic groups (Bennett, 2003). A school structure that is empowering calls for the generation of relations that are qualitatively different within schools among various groups. These relations are pedestal upon respect that is mutual and reciprocal.
Helping students of assorted cultures learn ways to rise above borders that are set up by their cultures and engage in civic actions and a dialog within a society that is democratic and diverse is a chief aspiration of the multicultural education. With its various dimensions, the use of these distinct aspects in the right way can lead to the achievement of a school system that is widely inclusive. Schools play roles that are major in the acquisition of needed knowledge and skills for cross cultural borders. They should thus help students to perpetuate a society that is just and democratic.
Banks, James A.(2008). An Introduction to Multicultural Education. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Bennet, Christine I.(2003). Comprehensive Multicultural Education Theory and Practice. 5th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
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