Multiculturalism can be defined as a system of behaviors that recognizes, respects, and acknowledges cultural diversity in society, including valuing and encouraging others to share their cultural differences (Rosado, 2014). A school with a large number of ethnically diverse students is not necessarily multicultural, nor is a school that simply values the differences in its students. To make a school truly multicultural, the leadership must approach the educational process such that the curriculum is constructed to acknowledge and respect the contributions that different racial and ethnic groups have made to society (Banks & Banks, 2010). The heart of what makes a school multicultural is being able to manage the diversity in the school to empower all different groups, including changing mindsets and any underlying cultural stigmas that may exist (Gorski, 2008). To make these changes, schools must focus on creating a vision and mission for the future of the school that allows them to create appropriate policies to design new programs and to deal with potential problems in the future. Included in this mission must be ways to choose effective personnel to run these programs, and create practices to manage staff conduct. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
In creating a multicultural schooling environment, we will plan to embrace diversity in languages, literary works, history, and cultural differences. Resources will be created and seminars will be held for teachers and administrators to learn and research about the different cultures represented in their classrooms, or the school as a whole. These will include language resources to help teachers learn about students’ native languages, literary resources to help teachers build classroom libraries with diverse authors, and cultural resources to help teachers and administrators learn about traditions, celebrations, and behaviours within each student’s culture. Researching a student’s native language can help educators and ESL teachers increase that student’s learning capacity in the classroom (Davidman & Davidman, 1994). By knowing the native language of the student, teachers may begin understanding common English language errors that they are making, in addition to giving them insight about culture and behaviour (McIntyre, 2014). In addition to this, through embracing diverse literary resources filled with multicultural authors, educators can create classrooms with libraries that expose children to many different cultures without pushing it on them (McIntyre, 2014). For example, by incorporating books featuring children of different ethnicities, it will show students that Anglo American books are not the only books and ideas present in the classroom. Finally, resources that allow teachers to research and find new multicultural activities can help them celebrate differences amongst their students in the classroom (Franklin, 2001). This can be a fun alternative to simple learning exercises, and can teach students to further appreciate and discuss the culture of their peers. In addition to language, literally, and cultural resources, learning resources can also include things such as highlighted current events and news stories that can add to classroom curriculum and lessons, volunteer and community activities, and opportunities for social activism (Gorski, 2008). Additionally, teachers and administrators can be given access to in-house professional development seminars to highlight and teach multicultural educational methods for classrooms. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
These types of resources, in addition to open dialogue between teachers and administrators can help them to deal with the diverse challenges of multiculturalism within schools. With the large blend of cultures and ethnicities in classrooms, teachers and administrators sometimes face a “cultural minefield”, where they must tread carefully when trying to respect the cultures of many different groups of people (Franklin, 2001). Teachers and administrators must be able to respect and respond to religious differences, gender-equality issues, children with disabilities, children coming from single parent or same-sex households, and more (Franklin, 2001). The usual prep for educators in the position is minimal, but through embracing the resources described above, they can become more knowledgeable about the cultures of their students. Furthermore, they may be able to pre-emptively respond to issues that may arise as a result of cultural clashes. The most important thing that diversity issues teach to educators of multicultural classrooms is that the opportunity to learn is a lifelong process, built upon understanding and respect.
Within the school and the classroom, the programs, lessons, and community connections will shape the multicultural society of the facility. Programs such as bilingual education could benefit communities that have a large portion of individuals that speak a different language. Through this, students could develop literacy both in English, as well as their native language. In this, students would be able foster their heritage, as well as adopting the language and heritage of their current country. By promoting multicultural education, schools could also reach out to families and cultural communities to help them learn about different cultures and traditions. Families and communities could help schools with guest talks, activities, and could invite schools to visit them during cultural celebrations, to help expose students to their traditions (Banks & Banks, 2010). With these options in place, the role of the teachers will be to incorporate all of these resources into their daily teaching strategies. For instance, incorporating current events or community celebrations into their lessons plans for reading or writing could be an easy way to introduce students to different viewpoints, without them being forced into it (Gorski, 2008). To incorporate native and diverse languages into the classroom, educators could help students learn words through “Word Walls”, where students place common words both in English, as well as their own native language (Davidman & Davidman, 1994). Through this, the walls of the classroom would be filled with words in different languages, and students of different cultures will feel more comfortable and familiar in the classroom environment. By incorporating native languages into the curriculum, rather than only focusing on English, teachers will begin to see diverse students picking up learning more naturally and comfortably (McIntyre, 2014). Further, to incorporate diverse authors of various literary works, educators can help students accept the history and contributions of different cultures to current society. For example, supplying a classroom with books of historical fiction, children can read novels for fun, while being exposed to new cultural ideas and historical events. In addition to this, supplying non-fiction or learning books by diverse authors can help students recognize that individuals from different cultures still have a place in the classroom. Fun multicultural activities could also be incorporated into the curriculum to create an exciting environment for student learning. For example, students could participate in cultural food fairs where they bring distinct dishes and explain why they are culturally important to them (McIntyre, 2014). Another possibility is creating a student-run gallery walk, where students create a poster to highlight their culture, and other students walk around and ask questions about the cultures of their peers. By incorporating the ideals of all of the different cultures represented in the student body, educators can help ensure that no ethnicity is left out, such as to be inclusive to all students and to minimize resistance or conflict from parents or the community. < Click Essay Writer to order your essay >
Implementing a program of multicultural education into a learning environment can be a difficult task, as both students and educators must be able to learn and respect all of the different people that their community represents. In implementing this program, some policies may have to be changes to allow for a more inclusive environment, such as dress codes and language requirements. Through allowing students to wear their culturally appropriate dress and speak their native language freely, we will help them feel more comfortable in the schooling environment. Multicultural education programs are key in creating an overall inclusive society. Utilizing resources in languages, literary works, and cultural traditions can help educators reach their students and help them to obtain multicultural outlooks towards their own society.
Banks, J., & Banks, C. A. (2010). Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives. Washington: John Wiley & Sons.
Davidman, L., & Davidman, P. (1994). Teaching with a Multicultural Perspective. Retrieved from Sage Publishing: http://bul.sagepub.com/content/79/575/119.extract
Franklin, J. (2001, March). The Diverse Challenges of Multiculturalism.
Gorski, P. C. (2008, April). What We’re Teaching Teachers: An Analysis of Multicultural Teacher Education.
McIntyre, H. (2014, August 31). Creating a Multicultural Environment in the Classroom.
Rosado, C. (2014). What Makes a School Multicultural?