Getting Rid of the Stereotypes, and Teaching in a Multicultural Perspective
It is rare that any two-classroom teachers will have the same definition for multicultural education. “The basic goal of multicultural education is to help all children understand and appreciate events and people from various points of view” (Welton, 113). Teaching with a multicultural perspective encourages appreciation and understanding of other cultures as well as one’s own. Rey Gomez states that teaching with this perspective promotes the child’s sense of the uniqueness of his own culture as a positive characteristic and enables the child to accept the uniqueness of the cultures of others.
Children’s attitudes toward their race and ethnic group and other cultural groups begin to form early in the preschool years.
Children are easily influenced by the cultural, opinions, and attitudes of their caregivers. Caregiver’s perceptions of ethnic and racial groups can affect the child’s attitudes toward those minority groups. “Early childhood educators can influence the development of positive attitudes in young children by learning about and promoting the various cultures represented among the children they teach” (Gomez, 1). Gomez also states young children can develop stereotypic viewpoints of cultures different from their own when similarities among all individuals are not emphasized. Teachers can help eliminate stereotypes by presenting material and activities that enable children to learn the similarities of all individuals. Early childhood teachers and parents of young children should become aware of the myths and assumptions associated with multicultural education so that they develop appropriate goals and methods.
Listed below are the assumptions of multicultural education created by Paul Gorski and Bob Covert:
1.It is increasingly important for political, social, educational and economic reasons to recognize the US is a culturally diverse society.
2.Multicultural education is for all students.
3.Multicultural education is synonymous with effective teaching.
4.Teaching is a cross-cultural encounter.
5.The educational system has not served all students equally well.
6.Multicultural education is (should) being synonymous with educational innovation and reform.
7.Next to parents (primary caregivers) teachers are the single most important factor in the lives of children.
8.Classroom interaction between teachers and students constitutes the major part of the educational process for most students.
Multicultural education represents a perspective rather than a curriculum. “Through multicultural literature, children discover that all cultural groups have made significant contributions to civilization” (Norton, 62).
V.J. Dimidjian states that the goal of multicultural education is not only to teach children about other groups or countries. It also helps children become accustomed to the idea that there are many lifestyles, languages,
cultures, and points of view. “The purpose of multicultural curriculum is to attach positive feelings to multicultural experiences so that each child will feel included and valued, and will feel friendly and respectful toward people from other ethnic and cultural groups” (Dimidjian, 44).
A multicultural program should not focus on other cultures to the exclusion of cultures represented in the class stated David Welton.
He says certain children from different cultures often have to make major behavioral adjustments to meet the expectations of the school. One idea was that teachers should take whatever measures are necessary to see that children do not interpret these changes as evidence of cultural stereotypes. Listed below are myths written by Paul Gorski and Bob Covert that need to be gotten rid of:
Myth #1: Other cultures should be presented as
distinct ways of living that reflect differences
Myth #2: Bilingualism is a liability rather than an
Myth #3: Multicultural education is only relevant in
classes with students who are members of the
cultural or racial groups to be studied.
Myth #4: There should be a separate, unified set of
goals and curriculum for multicultural education.
Myth #5: Mere Activities, which are not placed in an
explicit cultural context, constitute viable
One of the major issues pointed out was that “It is
tempting to deny our prejudices and claim that we find all children equally appealing” (Phillips 2). Teachers and parents need to acknowledge the fact that we, like our children, are influenced by stereotypes that exist in our schools and the media.
“Nurturing diversity means making multicultural education a process of action, through which we as adults achieve clarity about our condition in this society and ways to change it” (Phillips, 43). Phillips states if a teacher is to .