As stated by
McBrien and Brandt in The Language of
Learning: A guide to Education Terms, “A multicultural education helps
students to understand and relate to cultural, ethnic, and other diversity. Multicultural education
should be a process to work together and to celebrate differences, not to be
separated by them” (Leistyna, 2002). Because a multicultural education exposes students to cross
cultural beliefs and practices, it works to make sure each individual will have
a better understanding to respect different cultures, which in turn reduces
negative prejudices and stereotypes (Levy, Rosenthal & Herrera-Alcazar,
2010). By teaching
diverse traditions and perspectives, questioning stereotypes, and recognizing
the contributions of all groups that make up our society (especially those that
have been traditionally excluded), encourages a more open-minded and safe space
for the exploration of students’ experiences and eliminates negative biases
prematurely formed (Leistyna, 2002). “Multiculturalism suggests that through learning about cultural
groups (for example, being exposed to information about cross-cultural holidays
and celebrations), individuals will come to understand and respect different
cultures, thereby reducing negative attitudes” (Levy, Rosenthal &
Herrera-Alcazar, 2010).

            Incorporating
the community into the school and vice versa, is the aspiration that
multicultural education brings.

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When it comes to the education of children, parents and community members must
be more than spectators, because the approach of this type of education
requires their involvement in budgetary procedures, selection of the school
personnel, and curriculum development (Leistyna, 2002). Leistyna (2002) states that the “The ultimate
goal of Multicultural Education is to transforming the entire academic
environment and not just the curriculum or the attitudes of individuals.” Multicultural Education
recognizes preconceived social constructions such as behavioral patterns,
literacy patterns, language use, and cognitive skills so that advocates serve
as models that demand culturally compatible forms of teaching that build on
students’ learning styles and form individuals understanding of the material. The basic idea, as stated by
Leistyna (2002), is that teachers from marginalized groups potentially bring
conversation of alternative worldviews, critiques of oppressive practices, and
ideas that for reworking the system in order to meet the needs of all the
students.

This model of
education embraces cooperative learning by having high expectations when it
comes to having all students involved in the learning process. By laying everything out on
the table and exposing prejudices, there is a nurturance of positive
self-concept among students, which forms the evaluation of stereotypical free
language (Leistyna, 2002).

Educators who embrace a multicultural education, stress the importance of
cultural diversity, alternative life styles, native cultures, social justice,
and equal distribution of power among groups (Leistyna, 2002). “These educators demand
culturally compatible forms of teaching that build on students’ learning
styles, needs, and realities.

In order to accomplish this goal there is a call within this model to diversify
the faculty and staff so that they better reflect the students and their
communities” (Leistyna, 2002).

So the question
that forms off of how the effectiveness of a multicultural education can be “what
can teachers do to better implement the authenticity of a multicultural
education?” “With more diversity than ever, teachers have to adjust methods
from one student to the next, and from one year to the next. Multicultural education is
about more than a classroom with varied skin color, it includes careful
examination of the neighborhoods, parenting styles and general experiences that
shape each and every K-12 student” (Lynch, 2015). According to Lynch (2015), there are six ways to
embed a real multicultural education into the classroom:

1.        
 Multiculturalism
must be defined, it is a progressive approach for forming more educational
equality and social justice within the classroom.

Content integrations, prejudice reduction, empowering school culture and social
culture are required in relation to relevant conflict resolutions to today’s
world.

2.        
 Educators
must observe their students closely, and use real-life experiences so that
individual interpretations can be made rather than textbook versions.

3.        
The students learning styles must be realized. Instead of learning the classroom as a whole,
there needs to be a more personal one-on-one conversation to understand each
individual comprehension style learning, so that each student is effective in
the classroom setting.

4.        
Students must be proud of their heritage. It is vital that educators emphasize the
differences between students in a positive light.

Examples of this can be to have students write on their family background or
partnering with another student to shed light on accents of another culture.

5.        
The unpacking of biases needs to happen in order
for everyone to understand the importance of multiculturalism within the
classroom. Teachers have to examine their
own cultural values, beliefs, and biases before they can begin to learn about
beliefs and values that our foreign to their own.

Instructors basically must be transparent from the start.

6.        
Assignments need to celebrate multiculturalism. If used cleverly, the assignments can act as
a window into a student’s cultural beliefs.

Writing assignments can act as liaisons between not only the student and
teacher, but also between the student and their families by serving as a
tangible learning experience about family stories and traditions. These assignments can even be looked back on
by future generations and serve as future learning tools.

 

Each student has
their own mental canvas (mind), where they use their backgrounds and
personalities to paint their portraits (interpretations). It is the job of the instructor to act as an
easel and also as the muse to support and guide each individual during their
learning exploration.

 “The awakening of the global consciousness is
a new and monumental event in the evolution of mankind, we have access to the
global consciousness only when we are able to stop for a moment and gain a
critical distance from our localized personal perspective and to enter the
wider sphere of the global perspective in the awakening of the global
consciousness.” (Veselinovska,
Gokik, & Veselinovski 2011).

Based on Hanvey’s (1976) research, there are five dimensions that prepare
students to become global aware.

They include: perspective consciousness, “state of the planet” awareness,
cross-cultural awareness, knowledge of global dynamics, and awareness of human
choices (Hanvey 1976).  Perspective Consciousness is the recognition
or awareness that one’s beliefs will be different and are not universally
shared, it encourages the belief that their will be influences that may not be
easily detected that in the future create individualism perspectives (Hanvey,
1976). “State of the
Planet” Awareness promotes staying abreast of all current situations in the
world, so instead of focusing on what is going on next door it makes the
students think more open-minded (Hanvey, 1976). Cross-Cultural Awareness focuses on the abroad
recognition of ideas and practices found around the world so that there can be
a comparison and also a contrast to show recognition of how ideas may be viewed
from other vantage points (Hanvey, 1976). Knowledge of Global Dynamics gives insight on theories
and concepts that may increase intelligent consciousness of global change
(Hanvey, 1976). The
world is seen as a system that is interconnected by complex traits and
mechanisms and unanticipated consequences. Hanvey (1976), describes Awareness of Human Choices by
reminding one that “awareness of our own cultural perspective, awareness of how
other people view the world, awareness of global dynamics and patterns of
change” can act as a contraceptive to the birth of future problems that can surface
when confronting individuals, nations, and the human species.

Obviously there
are several factors that contribute to the effectiveness of how a global
education can act as a catalyst for the implementation of a multicultural
education. And after
analyzing several scholarly articles, it is clear that all of the work does not
fall on just the teachers alone.

No matter how cliché the saying “it takes a village” may seem, it still stands
as a stagnant reminder that it takes a team initiative. Each student should always have a team behind
them that acts as their personal “pep-squad” that encourages them to be more,
and to see more to become well diverse in a world that may not be accustomed to
such global practices. As the next generation comes forward, these students
will act as the muse needed to guide the further exploration of what it means
to have “Global Awareness.” The Council for Professional Recognition (2015) states
diversity and multiculturalism:

“Is not something
that can be taught directly, it is not a curriculum or lesson plan, or one-off
observances of Cinco de Mayo or Black History Month. Rather, it is a
collaborative effort among children, parents, families and colleagues to enable
children to learn about their own backgrounds and those of people different
from them; to see themselves and their communities represented in their program
setting; and be exposed to activities that destroy stereotypes” – Dr. Wardle
Ph.D.

 

            According to Washington (2015),
research suggests that teacher programs are falling short when it comes to
teacher diversity preparedness. Because there is a lack of knowledge around the
subject, it hinders the progress of classrooms becoming globally aware and in
turn cuts off the supply of a Multicultural Education. As reported by the
Council for Professional Recognition (2015), there are three changes that need
to implemented into teacher’s pedagogical approaches. First is self-awareness,
40% of pre-service teachers say they are not aware of institutionalized racism
and the stress it puts onto the children of color. To help assist, role
playing, guest speakers, and candid discussions can be used to grasp a clearer
understanding of cultural differences. Next, interacting with diverse
populations can insure that teachers of young children and their families build
a mutual respect because the instructor will have a better sense of how to
respect the family’s traditions. “Where home and school cultures clash,
differences can only be resolved through open dialogue between teachers and
families” (Washington, 2015). Lastly, teachers should already be introduced to
reflection. As easy and simple as that may seem, educators need to be openly
engaged in regards to their own cultural context and their own experiences with
more diversified communities, so that their can be a movement towards creating a
more cultural consistency between home and school (Washington, 2015).  

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