Multicultural Education in Your Classroom

SOURCE: https://techfeatured.com/5412/multicultural-education-in-your-classroom-2

America has always been referred to as a melting pot, but ideally, it’s a place where we strive to invite everyone to celebrate exactly who they are. As the US population is becoming increasingly diverse and technology makes the world feel increasingly smaller, it is time to make every classroom a multicultural classroom.

What is Multicultural Education?

Multicultural education is more than celebrating Cinco de Mayo with tacos and piñatas or reading the latest biography of Martin Luther King Jr. It is an educational movement built on basic American values such as freedom, justice, opportunity, and equality. It is a set of strategies aimed to address the diverse challenges experienced by rapidly changing U.S. demographics. And it is a beginning step to shifting the balance of power and privilege within the education system.

The goals of multicultural education include:

  • Creating a safe, accepting and successful learning environment for all
  • Increasing awareness of global issues
  • Strengthening cultural consciousness
  • Strengthening intercultural awareness
  • Teaching students that there are multiple historical perspectives
  • Encouraging critical thinking
  • Preventing prejudice and discrimination

Advantages of Multicultural Education

According to the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), multicultural education:

  • Helps students develop positive self-image.
  • Offers students an equitable educational opportunity.
  • Allows multiple perspectives and ways of thinking.
  • Combats stereotypes and prejudicial behavior.
  • Teaches students to critique society in the interest of social justice.

Road Blocks to Implementing Multicultural Education

Contrary to popular belief, multicultural education is more than cultural awareness, but rather an initiative to encompass all under-represented groups (people of color, women, people with disabilities, etc) and to ensure curriculum and content including such groups is accurate and complete.

Unfortunately, multicultural education is not as easy as a yearly heritage celebration or supplemental unit here and there. Rather, it requires schools to reform traditional curriculum.

Too often, students are misinformed and misguided. Not all textbooks present historical content fully and accurately. For instance, Christopher Columbus is celebrated as the American hero who discovered America. This take on history completely ignores the pre-European history of Native Americans and the devastation that colonization had on them. Some history books are being revised, but often, it’s much easier to teach that “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Most curriculums also focus more on North America and Europe than any other region. Most students have learned about genocide through stories of the Holocaust, but do they know that hundreds of thousands of people are being killed in places like Darfur and Rwanda? Despite our close proximity to Latin America, American schools typically spend little time reading Latin American literature or learning about the culture and history?

Thus, multicultural education is most successful when implemented as a schoolwide approach with reconstruction of not only curriculum, but also organizational and institutional policy.

Unfortunately most educational institutions are not prepared to implement multicultural education in their classrooms. Multicultural education requires a staff that is not only diverse, but also culturally competent. Educators must be aware, responsive and embracing of the diverse beliefs, perspectives and experiences. They must also be willing and ready to address issues of controversy.  These issues include, but are not limited to, racism, sexism, religious intolerance, classism, ageism, etc.

What You Can Do in Your Classroom

Just because we’re facing an uphill battle doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take those first steps. To integrate multicultural education in your classroom and your school, you can:

  • Integrate a diverse reading list that demonstrates the universal human experience across cultures
  • Encourage community participation and social activism
  • Go beyond the textbook
  • By supplementing your curriculum with current events and news stories outside the textbook, you can draw parallels between the distant experiences of the past and the world today.
  • Creating multicultural projects that require students to choose a background outside of their own
  • Suggest that your school host an in-service professional development on multi-cultural education in the classroom

Favorite Lessons in Multicultural Education

Analyze issues of racism through pop culture.

Example: Study the affects of WWII for Japanese Americans through political cartoons, movies, photography, etc.

Analyze issues of socioeconomic class through planning and development.

Example: Design a development project with solutions to the needs of those living in poverty stricken communities.

Analyze issues of sexism through media.

Example: Make a scrapbook of stereotypical portrayals of both men and women. Compare both positive and negative stereotypes and determine the struggles they face as a result of these stereotypes.

Recommended Resources:

Books

Becoming Multicultural Educators by Geneva Gay

Beyond Heros and Holidays by Enid Lee

Lies My Teachers Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen

Professional Development

Teaching Diversity: Influences and Issues in the Classroom

Customize for Your School

Courses & Seminars in Your Area

 

Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not

Source: http://www.chronicle.com/article/Can-We-Really-Measure-Implicit/238807

JANUARY 05, 2017

Jordin Isip for The Chronicle Review

Iharbor a moderate preference for white faces. You probably do, too: About 70 percent of people who take the race version of the Implicit Association Test show the same tendency — that is, they prefer faces with typically European-American features over those with African-American features. Since it first went online in 1998, millions have visited Harvard’s Project Implicit website, and the results have been cited in thousands of peer-reviewed papers. No other measure has been as influential in the conversation about unconscious bias.That influence extends well beyond the academy. The findings come up often in discussions of police shootings of black men, and the concept of implicit bias circulated widely after Hillary Clinton mentioned it during the presidential campaign . The test provides scientific grounding for the idea that unacknowledged prejudice often lurks just below society’s surface. “When we relax our active efforts to be egalitarian, our implicit biases can lead to discriminatory behavior,” according to the Project Implicit website, “so it is critical to be mindful of this possibility if we want to avoid prejudice and discrimination.”

In other words, beware your inner bigot.

But the link between unconscious bias, as measured by the test, and biased behavior has long been debated among scholars, and a new analysis casts doubt on the supposed connection.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Harvard, and the University of Virginia examined 499 studies over 20 years involving 80,859 participants that used the IAT and other, similar measures. They discovered two things: One is that the correlation between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior appears weaker than previously thought. They also conclude that there is very little evidence that changes in implicit bias have anything to do with changes in a person’s behavior. These findings, they write, “produce a challenge for this area of research.”

That’s putting it mildly. “When you actually look at the evidence we collected, there’s not necessarily strong evidence for the conclusions people have drawn,” says Patrick Forscher, a co-author of the paper, which is currently under review at Psychological Bulletin. The finding that changes in implicit bias don’t lead to changes in behavior, Forscher says, “should be stunning.”

Hart Blanton was not stunned. For the last decade, Blanton, a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, has been arguing that the Implicit Association Test isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In a 2013 meta-analysis of papers, Blanton and his co-authors declared that, despite its frequent characterization as a window into the unconscious, “the IAT provides little insight into who will discriminate against whom, and provides no more insight than explicit measures of bias.” (By “explicit measures” they mean simply asking people if they are biased against a particular group.)

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Just Say “No” to Popcorn Reading

Source: http://www.effectiveteachingpd.com/blog/2012/11/20/just-say-no-to-popcorn-reading.html

One question often posed to me by teachers is, “How can I engage and break up the monotony of long sections of oral reading in class?”  Great question!  As educators, we know the importance of reading aloud in class; whether a student is in 3rd grade or AP Calculus, hearing someone skillfully read sections of text promotes fluency and comprehension of both fiction and non-fiction.  However, reading aloud can be monotonous if we use the same method or only have one or two readers involved, as it renders most of the students passive.

Popcorn reading (randomly calling on students to read aloud-whether their hand is raised or not) is a common practice, though I recommend the strategy be banned or at least modified in the following way.  Some teachers assign a different section of text to be read by each student, the first student then begins reading and others don’t follow along and comprehend because surprise, they are all reading the section in which they were assigned. If a teacher insists on doing reading like this in class, then please allow students a few minutes to read and rehearse their part before anyone starts reading aloud.  This way, students will not be anxious about reading their section as they have already practiced, and once prepared, they can focus and follow along with the current readers.

Popcorn reading, when used as a classroom management tactic to “catch” those who are not paying attention, in my opinion, should never be used. It increases the “affective filter” or level of discomfort in the classroom as many don’t like to be “put on the spot” to read aloud, especially when so many of our students struggle with reading in general.  Reading should never be used as a management tool or punishment.  For more reasons as to why this method is frowned upon, please read Todd Finley’s article , “11 Alternatives to Round Robin Reading.”  

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