Multicultural education teaches learners to recognize and accept the cultural differences based on culture, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, special needs, religion, gender and it helps learners to understand and promote justice, equality, and democracy (Manning & Baruth, 2009). As educators, it is our responsibility to promote and include multicultural education in our instruction. It is also important to understand and value the students? personalities, learning styles and their cultural backgrounds.
It is essential to collaborate and integrate parents, families, and caregivers of culturally diverse backgrounds in the students? education. By doing such we will have at wide-level thriving multicultural responsive school. Understanding Learners and Their Cultural Backgrounds In order to have a successful multicultural education, understanding learners and their cultural background will provide essential information to design their learning, as well as, providing students with culturally relevant educational experiences, portraying acceptance and respect (Manning & Baruth, 2009).
As educators, we have the responsibility to identify the different achievement levels in the classroom. It is also important to help build students? self-esteem and avoid stereotypes based on gender, ethnicity or culture. A useful ideology to adopt is the understanding that ? Equal does not mean same? (Nieto & Bode, 2011, p. 157). It is important to provide fair education based on students? individual needs. According to Manning and Baruth (2009), ? Rather than assuming too much homogeneity among learners, educators have to consider cultural orientations toward achievement, cultural diversity among learning styles, and the learner? degree of active participation? (p. 241).
The students should have opportunities to participate in activities that are tailored to their needs such as providing extra time, sentence stems or work in smaller groups. Those strategies empower students by providing a safe environment that allows them to take risks at their own pace. The growing multicultural and diverse community brings new challenges and requires educators to become aware of other cultures. Educators that are new or unaware of biased instructional materials could be creating a subtractive environment for their students without knowing. According to Manning & Baruth (2009), ?
Education should be nonsexist as possible. Teachers should scrutinize all instructional materials and seek to eliminate sexist connotations…? (p. 242). Classroom? s library often has biographies about people such as Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. , and rarely have books about Dolores Huerta and Ruby Bridges. Libraries and all materials in the classroom should reflect both genders without stereotypes. Parents, Families, and Caregivers of Culturally Diverse Backgrounds Collaboration, communication and parent involvement is often encouraged in many schools, however not all schools succeed on that task.
Many parents and families of culturally different backgrounds do not understand school expectations; some expect high achievement in all areas from their children ?. Many have difficulties communicating with the school? (Manning & Baruth, 2009, p. 265). In low-income schools, parents are often ignored and initiatives such as the “hug zone” are implemented to keep parents outside of the building. It is unfortunate because students need to see familiar faces in school other than the school personnel. Educators need to create a welcoming environment where families are valued and involved in their children? s education.
According to Manning and Baruth (2009), ? Parents of culturally/linguistically diverse students should be involved in sharing of culture, participating as assistants on field trips, assisting in arts and crafts, assisting with music and recreational activities, and participating actively in the special-education planning process? (p. 272). It is important to consider that parents work, some more than one job, therefore, cannot be at school during the day. It is important to create a parent? s survey where they can specify times and days when they could receive phone calls or attend meetings. Curriculum and Lesson Planning
Curriculum needs to be understood in order for it to be accepted and to promote social justice; as well as culturally diverse. In order to make this possible, an across-the-curriculum approach with bias-free teaching material, instruments that take into account cultural differences, community involvement and extracurricular activities that involve everyone needs to take place (Manning & Baruth, 2009). The curriculum taught is only as good as it content is understood (Manning & Baruth, 2009). It is our responsibility to understand the curriculum beforehand in order to provide the students with the proper academic values.
Comment by Grammarly: Deleted:C As teachers, we need to place change and progress in proper perspectives such as in ideologies that mistakenly limit student? s access and opportunity. “Education for multiculturalism? requires more than a change in curricula and textbooks. It requires system-wide changes that permeate all aspects of school life? (Bank, 1994, p. 291). If we are successful, our multicultural classroom is sure to “recognize and reflect respect for all ethnic and cultural diversity; promote societal cohesiveness? maximize equality of opportunity for all? nd facilitate constructive societal change that enhances human dignity and democratic ideals? (Banks, 1994, p. 290).
With this, students will develop positive self-esteem when it comes to their home and themselves, empathy and respect for others and everyone will receive an equal educational opportunity (Banks, 1994). In addition, students need to know that they do belong in this “American” world; ethnicity and culture do not define power (Ortiz, 2004). When a certain group feels excluded or victimized then conflict and tension occur.
Therefore, the idea of any one ethnicity and culture being a monopoly on talent and worth should not be promoted but instead the idea that each individual is worthy and dignified (Bank, 1994). We need to teach students that we are equally important and that we all contribute to each other? s wellbeing. Assessment that is Culturally Responsive Teachers need to know their students. They need to study and spend time before school starts reviewing records (Ladson-Billings, 2012). ?Culturally confident teachers think of their students as a group of people from whom they can learn? (Ladson-Billings, G. , 2012).
How do teachers know if students are learning what we teach them every day? What are the good things as well as the challenges of tests? (Howe & Lisi, 2014). Student assessment should provide important feedback to students and teachers on how the students are learning and how the teachers are instructing (Howe & Lisi, 2014). By really understanding the key components of the assessments and how we should use them, students, teachers and school districts could see some benefits (Howe & Lisi, 2014). However, the overuse of assessments, as well as the under-use of them, can be an obstacle to acquire accurate information from our students? cademic progress.
Assessments that are designed to meet the needs of individual multicultural learners should reflect student experiences, learning styles, clear to the students and in language (Howe & Lisi, 2014). They also need to provide multiple ways for students to show what they know, with adequate time, and a good balance of formative and summative assessments. Comment by Grammarly: Deleted:n In order to protect our students from procedures, practices or even special education practices, rules should be increased to ensure that equal educational opportunity is granted to all students (Banks, 1994).
These rules should also apply to assessments across the curriculum. The type of assessment used and how they are interpreted can create unfair results for minorities. Howe & Lisi (2014) state, ? Educators must have a clear idea of what they need to do, select appropriate interventions, and then examine the impact of interventions on student achievement and adjust accordingly?? (p. 325). By looking at valid data, educators can develop and implement interventions to target areas of need.
Supporting diverse learners on a schoolwide level All schools should have an overall plan on what they need to do if they wish to follow a diverse and multicultural curriculum. Schools should be willing to audit the characteristics of the demographics in their campuses. Enculturation is defined by Howe and Lisi (2014) as “the passing of the values and patterns of behaviors promoted by culture? within a school? (p. 338). This is key to better create and implement a multicultural school view. Comment by Grammarly: Deleted:n Comment by Grammarly: Deleted:of
Since school culture is one of the best ways to guide behavior, it is important to examine and constantly evaluate different points in students? culture (Howe & Lisi, 2014). The best way to achieve this, according to Howe & Lisi (2014), is to use team effort. Using each other? s strengths and working in professional learning communities. However, the traditional approach to work in schools is for teachers to work alone; especially when teacher’s performance is measured by standardized tests. These teachers? are accountable and the trust between professionals is minimal. Comment by Grammarly: Deleted:,
To improve our schools regarding multicultural education, educators should participate in engaging professional development. Nowadays, teachers are becoming more aware of diversity in their classrooms and they are willing to participate in many alternatives to achieve this goal (Howe & Lisi, 2014). Goal setting, identification of different interventions, and support for professional growth should be discussed in Professional Learning Communities or PLC’s. It is important to set up clear expectations, rules, and define points of discussion at the beginning of the school year to ensure that the professional development goals are achieved.
Conclusions In order to have a successful multicultural education, it is our responsibility to incorporate all strategies needed not only throughout our classrooms but throughout the school. By learning to understand our students and their individual culture, as well as, incorporate parents, family and the community when developing the curriculum and lesson plans this can be possible. As educators? it is our responsibility to create a safe and prosperous multicultural environment for all and that would offer support to diverse learners at a school-wide level.