Multicultural education means not only that students are being taught facts and behaviors conducive to living effectively in a global society, but also that the climate in the school is conducive to the global society. This research paper on the definition of multicultural education describes details involved in both of those endeavors, including the important consideration of subject integration, sexual orientation, family impact, and the need to prepare teachers. It also calls to the reader's attention that, as the world becomes more culturally integrated, the issues addressed through multicultural education are going to evolve as well, which will refine educational philosophy.
Multicultural Education in the Classroom
For the purposes of this education research paper on defining multicultural education, we shall refer to it as the implementation of philosophies, methodologies, strategies and content sensitive to and inclusive of the multiple diversities of all persons in the classroom (teachers, students, and support staff). Multicultural education means learning about, preparing for, and celebrating cultural diversity, through school programs, policies, and practices that address ethnic identities, cultural pluralism, unequal distribution of resources and opportunities, and other sociopolitical problems stemming from long histories of oppression and diversity climate.
In ethnically diverse school cultures, the underlying norms, values, beliefs, and assumptions must serve to reinforce and support high levels of collegiality, teamwork, and dialogue about problems of practice. Despite the pluralism of United States society, most people live in relatively isolated enclaves, away from others who are racially, socially, and culturally different. Individuals from the same ethnic groups live in close proximity to one another, creating largely single race or ethnic group geographic clusters, such as Anglo suburbs, Hispanic barrios, Chinatowns, Little Italys, and Little Japans, proving that American schools are a microcosm of cultures. The population tends to be separated along economic lines, so that members of the middle, upper, and lower social classes within and across ethnic groups do not interact with one another on substantive or egalitarian levels. The divisions between these groups are increasing instead of diminishing, making the integration of schools a growing issue.
Advocates agree on some common features of multicultural education. These features provide the conceptual directions and parameters of reform initiatives for implementation of multicultural education in school practice through instructional strategies for teachers and classroom management. Effective m multicultural education:
- Requires total school reform;
- Is for all students, both primary and secondary;
- Involves acquiring knowledge, clarifying attitudes and values, and developing social actions and skills about ethnic and cultural pluralism;
- Includes recognizing, accepting, and celebrating diversity as a fundamental fact and salient feature in human life, U.S. society, and world communities.
Multiculturalism Between Parent and Teacher
Collaboration between parent and teacher can affect the quality of the outcome of education towards the enrichment of students in culturally diverse schools, bringing them closer to national education standards. However, there are often problems in defining multicultural education, let alone coming up with creative ways to serve diverse populations of students. Examples of how to implement the culturally diverse teaching practices are as follows:
- Art projects provide an excellent means of promoting multiculturalism in classrooms at all levels.
- A multicultural art project sample for grades 1-8 used cut paper to demonstrate an art form from ancient China.
- Another multicultural art project suggestion included teaching calligraphy in grades 4-8.
- Additional multicultural art projects include reviewing illustrated children's literature, taking virtual field trips to art museums using CD-ROMs, and others.
- Language arts are fundamental to the learning process and can benefit a wide range of subjects across the curricula.
- Multicultural language arts lessons for grades 5-7 could focus on topics such as "the universal for friendship."
- Additional multicultural language arts lessons include composing a book review; examining art in children's literature conducting meaningful discussions; reading aloud; and role playing.
- Mathematics lessons can include multicultural lessons, such as "money around the world."
- Physical education lessons can incorporate multicultural sports collages into their lessons that would acquaint students with activities that are popular in other cultures.
- Science and technology become increasingly multicultural enterprises.
When teachers and administrators spend time attempting to define multicultural education and observing each other, they can instruct each other in the craft of teaching through formal and informal demonstrations. These interactions can build a powerful and shared technical language about teaching and learning that is precise and concrete. Collegial environments favor in-depth problem solving and planning for multicultural education. A well written research paper will contain many of the above concepts.