Chapter 3: Education That is Multicultural
Multicultural education is developed through:
- diversity
- equality
- social justice
Goal of multicultural education:
- to help students learn and reach their potential, regardless of SES, ethnicity, race,
gender, religion, and ability or disability
Curriculum in multicultural education:
- value diversity, draw on cultural experiences, support democracy and equity
- all content should be presented through viewpoints of different groups
- help students understand there is more than one perspective on the interpretation of
events and facts
- Ex. Tasting ethnic foods, celebrating black history month
Requires that all teaching is culturally relevant
- classrooms and schools are models of democracy
Achieving equity:
1. Place student at center of learning process
2. Promote human rights and respect for cultural diff.
3. Believe ALL students can learn
4. Acknowledge and build on histories and experiences of
students microcultural memberships
5. Help students understand racism, sexism, classism,
6. Critique society in the interest of social justice and equality
7. Participate in collective social action to ensure a democratic society
Undergirding Tenets
People fought for equal education throughout history
- women, low income families, oppresses ethnic and religious
Brown v. Board of Education (Supreme Court, 1954)
- separate-but-equal education for black and white students
declared illegal
Civil Rights (1960’s)
- new curriculum content about various ethnic groups
- emphasis on equity for women, disabilities, limited-English
Social justice and equality remain goals for society
- to be modeled in classrooms and schools
Discussion of multiculturalism
- side 1: promotion of diversity will strengthen the nation
- side 2: promotion of diversity will divide the nation and
lead to conflict
Western tradition is denigrated as diversity is highlighted
Outgrowth of discussion has led to establishment of general education
requirements for ethnic, women’s and global studies in colleges
and universities
Diverse student body and faculty allow for interactions in
authentic settings with people from different backgrounds
Social Justice and Equality
- related to fairness, moral rightness, equity
Social Justice
- focuses on how we help others in the community who are not as
advantaged as we are
- ethic of social justice is essential in teaching
- requires all schools to provide all students equal access to a
high-quality education
Schools reflect on inequities of the broader society
See page 110
Antiracist Ed. V. Multiculturalism Ed.: The critique
See page 110
Culture of the School
Most students are subjected to the same curriculum
Traditions in the school
- regional influences, social structure, location of the school
- sports, activities
- rural schools emphasize Future Farmers of America,
agricultural programs, 4H clubs
Read Jean Anyon’s article
4 types of curriculum:
1. Overt curriculum
2. Hidden curriculum
3. Extra/ co-curriculum
4. Null curriculum
Culturally Relevant teaching
Preferred teaching and learning styles
- embedded in cultural backgrounds and experiences
Making generalizations about culturally diverse learners is very
Many differences exist among members of the same group
Culturally relevant teaching is complex
Teacher must:
- listen to and observe students and parents
- assess student performance to develop the most effective teaching
Culturally relevant teaching validates the cultures of students and
Building on Cultural Context
Teachers should helps students see the relationship between subject
matter and the world in which they live
Use students’ prior knowledge and experiences
Repertoires are limited for beginning teachers
- good teachers are able to draw on many different strategies
Know knowledge, skills and commitments valued in cultures
- some students rebel as a form of resistance against
the values of dominant society
Lack of understanding about cultural differences and nonverbal
communication lead to student-teacher conflict
Teach communication patterns of the dominant culture to all
Centering the Cultures of Students
Curriculum for all academic areas should reflect integration of principles
of diversity and equality
Additive approach
- including one unit on another group sporadically
1/3 of students in US schools do not see themselves in the curriculum
-Curriculum does not normally include stories of women,
disabilities, English language learners, poverty, elderly
Inclusive curriculum reflects the reality of multicultural world
Private schools grounded in different cultures
- Afrocentric, Latino, Native American, religious affiliations,
single sex
Validating Student Voices
The opportunity to speak and be heard as equal
Respect for differences is key in affirming student voices
Incorporation of voices requires the development of listening skills and
the validation of multiple perspectives, languages, dialects
Teachers encourage students to contribute their own realities and
- must listen to ALL voices
Educational Challenges
1/3 of students in US schools are from ethnic groups other than
By 2020, more than 45% of the school-age population will be students
of color
The Challenge of Technology and Equity
Technology is important in today’s society
Most of the world’s population does not have access to computers or the
On some Native American reservations, only 60% of residents have a
2% of low income, rural homes have Internet access
50% with income $75,000+ do have access
Digital divide
- based on income, race, education, household type, geographic
- difference in access to technology tools and the Internet
More on technology
African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, women hold few
technology jobs
More than 90% of all schools in the country are wired with at least one
Internet connection
- Internet connections differ by the income levels of students
5 characteristics of a positive information society
1. Is community driven and meets real community needs?
2. Overcomes major content barriers facing the underserved
3. Provides people to help
4. Offers online content that is easy to use
5. Is sustainable
The Challenge of Gender-Sensitive Education
Traditionally, females were trained to be wives and mothers
Today, 40%+ of graduates from medical and law schools are women
Rigid definitions limit the options and potential of both males and
Today’s realities: See p. 122
To promote gender equity, females should be encouraged to be involved
in math, science, and computer science
A gender-sensitive education provides equity to boys and girls
- does not mean males and females are always treated the same
Teachers in gender-sensitive classrooms monitor interactions among
girls and boys and their own interactions with the sexes
The Challenge of Language Diversity
Immigrant students populating large cities
Language differences used at home and at school can lead to dissonance
between students, their families and school officials
Dropout rate of English language learners is 2-2.5 times as great as for
other students of the same age
Nat.’l Assoc. for the Education of Young Children
- urges teacher to encourage “the development of children’s
home language while fostering the acquisition of English
Assimilationist instruction integrates students into the dominant or
mainstream culture
- bilingual education, newcomer programs, sheltered instruction
Teachers as Social Activists:
Thinking Critically
Critically-thinking educators ask how and why inequities are occurring in
their classroom and school
Teaching equitably does not mean teaching everyone the same way
- helping students function effectively in multiple classroom
settings and used by the students in the classroom
Critical thinkers challenge the philosophy and practices of the dominant
society that are not supportive of equity, democracy, and social
Practicing Equity in the Classroom
Caring and fairness
Teacher perceptions may be based on personal characteristics of the
student and/or group membership
Multicultural education does not tolerate unjust practices by teachers
No discrimination
Students learn to respect differences and to interact within and across
ethnic and cultural groups
Teachers might praise some students while tending to correct and
discipline others
Everyone has been raised in a racist, sexist, and classist society in
which the biases are so embedded that it is difficult for people to
recognize anything other than overt signs.
Equity continued
Reflecting on practice and on the practice of those you observe
- are students from different gender, economic and ethnic groups
treated differently?
- are the fewer discipline and learning problems among students
who are from the same background as the teacher?
- Which students receive the most assistance?
Equity is the ability to recognize one’s own biases and make appropriate
Teaching for Social Justice
Culturally relevant teaching helps students struggle in class with social
Racism, sexism, classism, prejudice, and discrimination are felt
differently by students of color than by members of the
dominant group
Anger, denial, guilt, and affirmation of identity are critical parts of
learning about and struggling with the pernicious practices that
permeate most institutions.
Students from the dominant group have never experienced
discrimination and often believe it does not exist
In teaching for social justice, teacher help students understand the
equalities, oppression and power struggles that are the realities of
Social Justice continued
Maxine Green
- “To teach for social justice is to teach for enhanced perception
and imaginative explorations, for the recognition of social
Students learn to apply the knowledge and skills they are learning to a
local, regional , or global issue
- the learning becomes authentic
Involving communities and families
Parents and the community are the essential resources in the delivery
multicultural education
Few beginning teachers will have had direct involvement in multiple
cultural communities
Learning to function effectively in several cultural communities
participants to be comfortable with their own background
Teachers who are most successful in helping students from diverse
cultural backgrounds learn there are those who “struggle to
confront their own histories, hear the dissonance in their own

Chapter 3: Education That is Multicultural