Multicultural Education

Multicultural education is a set of strategies and materials in U.S. education that were developed to assist teachers to respond to the many issues created by rapidly changing demographics of their students. It provides students knowledge about the histories, cultures, and contributions of diverse groups.

Multicultural education assumes that the future of U.S. society is pluralistic. Today, teachers in most urban areas face students from a variety of social classes and cultural and language groups. Many students do not share the middle-class, European American culture common to most college-educated teachers. Teachers find large numbers of English as a Second Language (ESL) students in their classes in both urban and rural areas such as Iowa and Utah. Multicultural classrooms promote decision-making and critical thinking while moving away toward cultural pluralism.

Multicultural educators seek to substantially reform schools to give diverse students an equal chance in school, in the job market, and in contributing to building healthy communities. one of the leaders in the field of multicultural education, describes five dimensions of multicultural education: (1) content integration, (2) the knowledge construction process, (3) prejudice reduction, (4) an equity pedagogy, and (5) an empowering school culture and social structure.

Joe L. Kincheloe and Shirley R. Steinberg, Peter McLaren, Henry Giroux, Antonia Darder, Christine Sleeter, Ernest Morrell, Sonia Nieto, Rochelle Brock, Cherry A. McGee Banks, James A. Banks, Nelson Rodriguez, Leila Villaverde and many other scholars of critical pedagogy have offered an emancipatory perspective on multicultural education.

This theory concentrates on the need of including notions of race, class, and diversity while teaching. Multiculturalism supports the idea that students and their backgrounds and experiences should be the center of their education and that learning should occur in a familiar context that attends to multiple ways of thinking. If done correctly, students will develop a positive perception of themselves by demonstrating knowledge about the culture, history, and contributions of diverse groups. This way, multiculturalism is a tool for instilling students with pride and confidence in their unique and special backgrounds.

Read more about Multicultural Education:  Kincheloe and Steinberg's Taxonomy of Multicultural Education, Departments of Multicultural Affairs, References

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