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Multicultural Education Essay

Introduction

Multicultural education is a comprehensive model, which encompasses various syllabuses, school trainings and material all designed to assist children who come from assorted cultural groups to feel educational impartiality. Some people wrongly view multicultural education as only program reform involved in the addition of subject concerning different groups. (Zaldana, 5). Birkela asserts that multicultural education is a major and very important form of learning and teaching at all levels of education, ranging from the basic to higher education. He indicates that multicultural education comprises of three major aspects. These aspects include the incorporation of cultural subject into the school subjects, the building of positive thoughts and the talents of intercultural understanding and interaction (24). This implies that multicultural education is a practical field like engineering and architecture.

These disciplines get ideas and realistic knowledge from several other fields in forming a theoretical base, in which instructors teach potential practitioners in professional schools. Similarly, students in higher education study the concept and practice of multicultural education, being part of the expert preparation for guidance, training and the running of schools (26). He further indicates that several people hold numerous misapprehensions of the term “multicultural education. For instance, some people consider it as a political agenda that endorses affirmative action. On the contrary, the foundation of multicultural education is not political even though many of its advocates might believe in government activities that enhance equality in hiring and job development. Other people view it as a civil rights movement majorly with a judicial focus of which it is not. Most of the critics of multicultural education frequently regard it as an endeavor to institute blame or implant guilt. In actuality, these actions would corrode the educational initiative, whose objective is to support harmony instead of separation among the diverse cultures (23).

History and development of Multicultural education

Multicultural education developed in the 1960s because of the American Civil Rights movement, which were very conspicuous during that time. Before this period, the African Americans experienced rampant social segregation. Due to this, the Civil rights movement endeavored to do away with this segregation and consequently push of equality in the education sector. With time, the categorization of U.S. discriminated groups extended to include people of diverse sexual directions, women, disabled people and Mexican or Asian settlers, among others. This provided a strong basis of the development of multicultural education in the U.S. schools. This is because all of these groups started to demand their rights promised under the Constitution as well as their individual equal chances of handling and representation. It is evident that education is highly vital in influencing cultural outlooks because of its socializing potential. With regard to this assertion, education can help an individual expand his or her perception concerning cultural plurality.

Moreover, through education, an individual can achieve insights through censure and become aware of new cultural viewpoints (Kuo, 76). Since there was a widespread appreciation to public education, multicultural education became a primal issue in most of the legislations and movements of the time.  During this time, there was the development of numerous social and academic programs. The main reason of this was that discrimination became a social issue, particularly among marginalized groups, in comparison to the white overriding culture. One of the programs developed was the Head Start program made to offer deprived children a preschool experience prior to entering kindergarten (Mwonga, 5).

During this period also, there was a concern for teaching leniency and enhancing cross-cultural discourse, which came along with the development of ethnic studies. It is evident that the post-World War II and interwar years in the US experienced the development of a second stage intercultural education, which came after ethnic studies. This intercultural education stressed the importance of cross-cultural communication and it mainly emanated from the diverse but comparable incidences of returning US experts (Stambach & Bal, 4). In addition, there was the passing of several acts including the Coleman Report of 1966. There was realization that discrimination was still rampant in public schools, hence the acts were to address these disparities. Conversely, the proponents of these programs created them in a hurried way, consequently rendering them unproductive at both organizational and systemic levels. This development led to the initiation of multicultural education as an academic option to deal with these social and academic disparities (Mwonga, 6).

A strong sense of social justice characterized multicultural education just like the already developed ethnic studies. This form of education corresponds to the 1960s and 1970s uprisings that centered on gender equality, the rights of disabled people and bilingual education. Conversely, the prospects of this education considered particular groups of students as lacking cultural effectiveness and consequently discriminating them. The reason for this is that the major objective of multicultural education was to accommodate everyone in the system. This discrimination the happened in schools was because of civil rights movements. In addition to this, human rights advocates between 1960 and 1970 proceeded in the passing and enactment of Public Law 94-142, concerning “the Education for All Handicapped Children Act.” The legislation of this enactment ensured that there was no discrimination of students with disabilities from the publicly sponsored schools. Nevertheless, there was evidence, as noted by researchers that there was significant over-representation of certain groups of students in special education classes and eliminated from normal classrooms and peers. Of most importance was the realization that marginalized students who are poor and speaking imperfect English were the majority in this over-represented group (Stambach & Bal, 5).

In an attempt to summon the unplanned outcomes of compensatory education around the country, the pioneering cohort of teacher tutors in the US developed multicultural teacher education curriculums. There was a lot of emphasis from the departments and programs of multiethnic studies nationwide to educate about the histories and cultures of all individuality groups in interaction, not just of single groups in isolation. Multicultural studies programs, however, began to move beyond framing culture’ in terms that priotized and ‘cordoned off’ the convictions and procedures of non- US-born inhabitants. In its place, multicultural teachers began to regard the historical and cultural perspectives that give increase to different skills and expressions linked with various groups of people in the US and worldwide (Stambach & Bal, 6).

Description and reasons for existence of multicultural education

Multicultural education is an academic approach and substitute, which understands and endeavors to change the inequalities that are present in the education and social sector. Multicultural education represents an independent form of education that establishes the diversity of contemporary society. In addition, this form of education is an integral part in attempting offer the long time minority groups with adequate public education. This would consequently lead to the development of competent, socially enlightened and active independent citizens. There is however, a significant gap between citizenship education and multicultural education, which signifies the ultimate failure to understand the integration of the majority and minority. In an attempt to encourage nationality education, multicultural education endeavors to unite the parts of majority and minority for the creation of reasonable, complete and fair communities.

On the other hand, multicultural education does not only encompass populations characterized by different backgrounds but it entails citizenship education for all students (Mwonga, 4). Birkela argues that there is a sharp distinction between multicultural education and the social institutions of education. This significant disparity rests in the emphasis on the realistic and the theoretical aspects of education. In case of multicultural education, stress rests much on practical aspect while concentrating on improving the learning process in an open and instant manner. On the other hand, the social foundations of education aim to enhance the learning procedure by examining the content in which the education system occurs in a significant, vital and normative way. In addition, it is evident that the social foundations of education scrutinize the learning system to devise theory, while multicultural education scrutinizes theory to enhance the learning practice (27).

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Zaldana indicates that multicultural education has five dimensions: “content integration, the knowledge construction process, prejudice reduction, equity pedagogy, and an empowering school culture and social structure.” Content integration is the situation where teachers and instructors make use of substance and draws several illustrations from diverse cultures. This is primarily to demonstrate major perceptions, values, theories and assertions, in the subjects that they teach (5). Multicultural proponents contend that knowledge mirrors the literary, social, and authority status of individuals within the community since it is both subjective and intentional (7). Moreover, supporting children for selecting black objects lessens White bias and teaching students to distinguish the faces of non-members decreases unfairness.

Furthermore, this aspect of multicultural education strengthens constructive contact with members of other cultural groups, which decreases discrimination. Equity pedagogy encompasses approaches and conditions that assist students coming from different cultural, ethnic and racial groups acquire the outlooks, knowledge and skills needed for effective functioning. This aspect also helps in the creation of a humane and just society, which integrates and considers the rights of all individuals regardless of the differences that might occur (9). The last dimension entails transformation of the adamant structure of the school, which in turn helps to accommodate students from different cultural backgrounds experience fairness and a sense of strength (10).

There are various aspects give way or justify the occurrence of multicultural education. In the United States, the population has been changing adamantly. The population of foreign-based persons is very high all over the country. These foreign-based people are from very distinct and diverse cultural and racial backgrounds, which make most of the cities of the U.S., be ethnically and racially diverse. This has ultimately led to a large number of foreign-based students enrolled in most U.S. public schools. The effect of this, is the need for a form of education that would encompass all these diverse cultures, hence the necessity of multicultural education. For instance, studies show that the academic achievement rates of foreign-born people, predominantly of Latinos, are enhancing due to their inclusion in US schools where there is multicultural education (Stambach & Bal, 15).

Goals, Benefits and disadvantages of Multicultural education

There are very many goals of multicultural education. Some of them are to lessen bias, to enhance coherent understanding among the different cultural groups living together. Another goal is to accomplish the autonomous ideal of fairness under the act and autonomy of thought and action in instituted law. This form of education also endeavors to shape harmony in diversity through the notion of cultural diversity. It also aims to found an approval of how the diverse cultures in the same society can make useful contributions. This is because, a culturally diverse society have diverse knowledge and expertise that can positively transforming the society (Birkela, 27). Another strong goal of multicultural education is to unify people rather than dividing them along racial, ethnic and gender lines. Multicultural education centers on the system of learning and by this; it seeks to ensure that the process of learning is equitable and helpful to people of all cultures. Concerning this goal, its major apprehension is with the student, the educator, the classroom, and the school (28).

Multicultural education presents many benefits to the students, the teachers, the society and the country involved. According to Dixon & Gloria, multicultural education augments productivity due to diverse mental resources accessible for accomplishing similar tasks. This form of education also enhances cognitive and ethical development among all people in their diverse cultures. In addition, due to the diverse outlooks applied to similar problems for resolutions, it improves inventive problem-solving skills. Furthermore, through dedication to fairness among the professionals at institutions of higher education and the attainment of respect, admiration and universal goals, multicultural education augments constructive relationships. Moreover, through straightforward contact and integrations among assorted cultures, multicultural education lessens stereotyping and discrimination.

It also renovates vivacity of the community through the diversity of the different cultures of its members and promotes growth of a wider and classier outlook of the world (2). By intensification of cultural awareness and intercultural belief, the universal outlook of multicultural education endeavors to enhance respect and admiration for the different cultures. Through this form of education, everybody in society develops the central human principles, which permit the development of fair reception and admiration for cultural plurality and esteem for human self-esteem among the diverse cultural groups. Furthermore, multicultural education fosters integrations among the various groups of people, enhances intercultural aptitude, and augmented consciousness of the state of the planet and worldwide dynamics (6).

In addition, acting like an educational substitute, multicultural education acts as education for justice. Multicultural education lets the students to study how to seriously scrutinizes learned information think in a more “comprehensive and liberal” manor, and convert that information into action hence developing them into potential democratic residents. Additionally, as a tool for justice and social change, multicultural education operates within three major groups. Firstly, the main level is changing oneself, which allows individual understanding through training and studying. The change of schools and schooling is the second level. The last tier entails creating justice and social change through society transformation (Mwonga, 7).

One person can be a member of more than one cultural group making the question of cultural identity to keep on being more and more difficult and unclear. The limited class time might regulate the quantity of ground covered despite a teacher selecting school materials with most of the content from different cultural groups. The multicultural education helps students acquire positive attitudes toward various cultural, racial and ethnic groups while on the other hand help tutors to lower their prejudice. The assumption that all teachers in multicultural education plan are clinging onto their own discrimination remains a major problem, which remains unsolved. However, each person resides in a range of social circumstances every day, and each person’s life knowledge varies from those of other people. Consequently, we cannot anticipate our tutors to be impartial to assist their students to decrease prejudice or have personal outlooks without their own interior prejudice in their educational position (Kuo, 78).

Importance of Multicultural education in contemporary system and recommendations

All nations in the world are experiencing cultural integrations through various aspects for instance trade and other global issues. These global issues include environmental degradation, global warming, terrorism, human rights violations global economic recessions and scarce national resources. These interconnected and universal issues in contemporary world necessitate for the widening and strengthening of multicultural education. This broadening of multicultural education would ensure that it includes democratic principles, cultural diversity and global integration. The universal outlook of multicultural education strengthens the enhancement of these principles in addition to enhancement of fairness among all cultural groups in society. Furthermore, the universal outlook of multicultural education facilitates the development of esteem and admiration of all existing cultural groups (Dixon & Gloria, 3).

Mwonga indicates that teachers must use efficient teaching approaches or efficient pedagogy for multicultural education to succeed in the classroom level. In addition, teachers must efficiently interrelate with students, and offer guidelines that provide academic success. Teachers can institute cultural aptitude and dependability in schools. They can do so by recognizing varied cultures as pertinent in education and developing equal academic opportunities (12). In addition to this, teachers and schools need to change the curriculum. By this, they can include historical inquiry and curriculum theory for all the stakeholders discover prejudice in media, textbooks and other academic materials without difficulty (Dixon & Gloria, 5).

Conclusion

Multicultural education is a very vital form of education in culturally diverse nations and societies. It has very many benefits especially to the students and the society. Most importantly, it helps to eliminate the long-lasting prejudices and discriminations in relation to race and culture. This form of education is helps individuals to appreciate and respects all the other cultures rather than being biased. Multicultural education also helps individuals of a particular culture to learn and understand other culture, which would help to reduce and eliminate stereotyping. Schools and teachers should adequately integrate multicultural education in to he school curriculum for it would highly benefit the society and students. The only major challenge of this form of education is that a person may belong to more than one culture making it difficult and unclear. Since the benefits of multicultural education override the disadvantages, schools should aim at implementing the established policies of this form of education.