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Peculiar properties of multicultural education - Essay Example

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A. Create a graphic organizer (suggested length of 1 page; similar to those in Inspiration or in a Microsoft Word drawing document) to organize your thoughts about respecting cultural differences and avoiding cultural bias in an educational setting. A graphic organizer (e.g., hierarchy, concept map, T chart) is a visual communication tool that organizes ideas, concepts, or steps.
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Peculiar properties of multicultural education
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Download file to see previous pages Emerging from the profound social changes of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, multicultural education is an attempt to mime the plurality of cultural diversity in the context of education (Stone Henley 1999). Sleeter (1996) is cited by Stone Henley (1999) as describing five approaches to multicultural education: teaching the culturally different, human relations, single group studies, multicultural education and social reconstructionist approaches. These approaches emphasize raising the academic achievement of cultural minorities through culturally relevant instruction, teaching commonalities and promoting understanding of cultural differences, addressing the subject of minority groups, promoting change of the educational system to reflect plurality or encouraging and enabling students to become agents for social change towards a more equitable society.
Some common misconceptions about multicultural education are dispelled by Aldridge, Calhoun & Aman (2000) who advocate integration of multicultural concepts throughout the curriculum. They warn against the erroneous assumption that people from the same region, or those who speak the same language automatically share the same culture. They point out that even people from the same cultural group may embrace different values and ways of living culture: mainstream, bicultural, culturally different, or marginal. Other myths debunked by their paper were the idea that multicultural education is divisive, superfluous, a threat to commonality or historical accuracy, or already sufficiently established.
Multicultural education could address cultural differences and cultural bias in an educational setting in several ways. Of particular interest was the fact that Aldridge et al. (2000) recommend starting multicultural interventions at kindergarten level instead of waiting until children are older, as some educators advocate. They quote the following passage from Lynch and Hanson (1998) maintaining that "cultural understanding in one's first culture occurs early and is typically established by age 5" and add, "children learn new cultural patterns more easily than adults." This is particularly interesting for kindergarten and first grade teachers. The good news is that there are a multitude of resources available on the topic (Aldridge et al 2000).
Indigenous peoples and ethnic groups want their culture reflected in school curricula (Banks 2004). But instead of confining certain groups to certain seasons like Black History in February, or Native American themes near Thanksgiving in a tour and detour fashion (Aldridge et al 2000), Banks (2004) advocates the application of the concept of multicultural literacy and global education to help students understand how the world works. He recommends that teachers promote a balance of cultural, national and global identities and stresses that self-acceptance is key as "strong, positive and clarified cultural identifications and attachments are a prerequisite to cosmopolitan beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.

C. Conclusion
When I first started this assignment, I had very vague preconceptions about the meaning of multicultural education. I imagined myself as a man from Iran who would teach my kindergarten or first grade class in my present cultural context. It was interesting to put myself ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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