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Multicultural Education - Essay Example

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Summary
Americans are faced with a paradox with an educational system that teaches American principles, ideals, and history in a classroom where the nation's wide diversity is treasured. Teaching culture is often focused on issues such as English as the only language or Columbus's controversial discovery of America…
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Multicultural Education
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Multicultural Education Americans are faced with a paradox with an educational system that teaches American principles, ideals, and history in a classroom where the nation's wide diversity is treasured. Teaching culture is often focused on issues such as English as the only language or Columbus's controversial discovery of America. Yet, these are not the issues that define America as a nation, and they are not the issues that celebrate our great diversity. Multicultural education has become a necessity in today's global classrooms that are populated by students from around the world. The question is not whether or not the educational system will offer a multicultural education; the question is how will the multicultural program be constructed. While culture in a classroom can be a daunting subject that is tempered by legalities, prejudice, and cultural sensitivities it can also be an opportunity for educators to expand the purpose of education. Multicultural education can be implemented in any classroom that cares to reach out and give consideration to the diversity of the student population.
Technology can help educators reach across cultural lines and involve all the students in the exploration of the global community. The Internet in the classroom gives the students an opportunity to meet and explore different cultures around the world. In a diverse classroom, students can meet and begin to understand the cultural identity and heritage of the student sitting next to them. Schwartz, Lin, and Holmes state that technology "allows people to meet new cultures in bite-sized pieces that target specific opportunities for reflection" (295). Understanding another culture reduces ethnocentric fear and begins to focus on similarities, rather than differences. Technology is the central hub that educators can use to prompt the discussion of culture in the classroom.
While technology can be used to bring culture into the classroom, culture can be used to explore subjects as diverse as science and economics. Teaching geography could be made more interesting when it is the country of origin of a classmate. Cultural diversity gives educators an opportunity to introduce political, social, and economic systems from around the world. Ethnic foods, climates, and history can all be discussed with cultural identity as a common denominator.
One of the goals of education is to assure that education is available to all the members of the society. Multicultural education helps the educational system be more inclusive to cultural groups that may have limited access due to socio-economic realities or cultural capital. Reducing these barriers to education benefits the students, the educational system, and the community that will benefit from the unique talents that it generates. Acknowledging the multicultural quality of today's classrooms is the first step to eliminating the obstacles that stand in the way of equal opportunity education.
In conclusion, multicultural education is not so much of a controversy as it is an opportunity. Technology has brought the global community to the classroom, and cultural diversity has given educators a reason to use it. Students not only can explore their ethnic identities, they can also investigate science and history with culture in mind. Working within the paradox of the American ideals and diversity, educators can reduce the uneven treatment of groups based on race, class, or economics, and begin to include all students in a fair and just multicultural education.
Works Cited
Schwartz, D L., X Lin, and J Holmes. "Technologies for Learning From Intercultural Reflections." Intercultural Education 14.3 (2003): 291-306. Read More
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