Ethnically Diverse Learning
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At any grade or proficiency level, ethnically-diverse learning is critical for gaining the ability to function in today's society. As our nation becomes increasingly globalized and our society becomes increasingly diverse, incorporating components of ethnic diversity in the classroom environment is essential. From a young age, children should be taught to appreciate the differences between themselves, not use them as a point of conflict or ostracism. Gaining an exposure to and an appreciation for other cultures is one of the hallmarks of the American education system: because there are so many different perspectives and experiences, educators must incorporate some of these into their everyday lessons. Some examples include:
- Teaching children about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well as Christmas exposes them to new cultures;
- Having students bring in snacks or baked goods from their family's country of origin is also a way of providing this type of exposure to younger children.
- Writing biographies of someone's family in the class that is of different ethnic origin.
As students age, ethnically-diverse learning becomes a part of the curriculum, and not merely something that is added in as an afterthought. Specialized courses can be offered at the high school or collegiate level, such as African-American or Hispanic Studies. Diversity clubs exist at these levels as well, providing students with an extracurricular forum in which to learn about one another's cultures. Just as math and reading are basic skills that students will need to function in everyday life, so too is ethnically-diverse learning; because students will encounter individuals of every race, ethnicity, color, and creed in their professional adult lives, it is imperative their appreciation for this diversity be formed at an early age and reinforced throughout their educational, personal, and social development.
While multiculturalism has made significant inroads in the nation's public school curricula, the degree and scope of multicultural education remains controversial. One of the most controversial aspects of multicultural education is the implementation of these curricula in early childhood settings. Your discussion may want to address the topic of multiculturalism in early childhood education, focusing specifically on a critical analysis of both sides in the debate over the appropriateness of multiculturalism-influenced curricula for young children. Finally, in conclusion, an overarching assessment of the issue should be offered.