Home/Essays Examples/Education/Multicultural Education Practices in the Classroom

Multicultural Education Practices in the Classroom

Abstract

As the importance of education is increasing day by day, it has become inevitable to teach students who belong to different cultural groups within the walls of a classroom. So the multicultural education becomes significant. The proposed research conducts a study on the topic, whether multicultural education practices are needed for school classrooms. The paper also studies the difficulties involved in the implementation of multicultural education and the negative effects that are created when it is not used. The study focuses on the teachers and the students and notes the changes that are seen with its application. Cultural and racial diversity often causes conflict between the teachers and the students. But multicultural education brings every student together without the thought of caste and creed.

Introduction

As education and culture are interrelated, it would be difficult for one to identify one from the other. Education makes one the possessor of a good culture and a good culture is capable of one having a good educational background. It is a good cultural background that enables one to achieve the greatest heights of his/her life. Education and culture play a vital role in the character formation of a person and it is because of this reason persons living in different cultural backgrounds express different characters. Educate students to belong to various cultural groups involve a great risk for teachers and educational researchers. To find a proper solution for this problem, the Multicultural Education system has been implemented. “Multicultural education is a field of study and an emerging discipline whose major aim is to create equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups.” (Multicultural Education, (n.d)).

It makes the students capable of achieving knowledge and skills that are needed to live in a pluralistic democratic society. These types of education can cultivate the inborn talents of children and make them bold enough to face every difficult situation of life. It enables him to interact with the different types of people who belong to different ethnic groups and work among them for the creation of a civic and moral community that works for the common good. Multicultural Education takes content from ethnic and women studies and adopts discipline to pedagogy and curriculum. It has been formed to give proper instructions to the novice teachers in handling the students who belong to different ethnic and cultural groups. There is a possibility to arise conflict if the teachers and the students are from different cultural backgrounds. To find a remedy for all these problems culturally responsive classroom management, based on some essential components, should be implemented. The paper is proposed to analyze the different possibilities of the implementation of a multicultural educational system and the need for multicultural education practices in the classroom. It is analyses whether the implementation of this system is fruitful respecting the teachers and the students and helps them to acquire the desired goal.

Aims and Objectives

The proposed research aims to explore the need for multicultural education practices in the classroom and the different risks involved in the implementation of multicultural education among students belonging to different ethnic, racial, social, and cultural classes. The first part of the proposed research is attempted to analyze what is multicultural education and studies its main difference from the existing educational systems. To have a thorough knowledge of multicultural education and its need and effective implementation in the classrooms, the dissertation aims at addressing the following questions.

  • Whether it is possible to teach students belonging to different ethnic, cultural groups by the same teacher within the limits of a class room? If possible, what are the main difficulties that he/she has to face without making much conflict?
  • What are the positive aspects of multicultural pedagogy?
  • How can teachers ensure that all students achieve at the same level, without regarding the child’s background?
  • How does membership in a racial or cultural group impact student achievement? What are the changing cultural and racial compositions of U.S.?
  • How traditions and rituals of other cultures influence students or how they are different from Western teaching methods?

Methodology

The research paper is based on secondary type of data analysis and the research will be qualitative in type as the subject enquiry is absolutely debatable. The issues to be explored would therefore employ research within the library gaining information from sources which have already researched a similar context. Many newspaper articles, online journals, and general literature have been collecting for the proposed study. The analysis of the data sets will particularly focus on a national level context of the current status of classroom p-procedure and the possibilities of multicultural education practices. It will also complement the information gathered from the literature review. It is indented to carry out a relatively small content analysis throughout the proposed research which would be observing the news paper reports, journal articles and web articles.

The methodology adopted here will also discuss about the design of the paper, as it follows a qualitative approach. The proposed research is focused around the various answers to the topics that are discussed above. To reach in to the desired effect of the research, the initial part of the research begins with some questions that are capable of giving an outlook of the real problem. The proposed questions are generally focused on to make casual inferences on the prescribed topics. Then the research will focus on the changes occurred during the last years and analyze the scope of multicultural learning process in classrooms. The journal articles like, Toward a Conception of Culturally Responsive Classroom Management, BY Carol S. Weinstein Saundra Tomlinson-ClarkeMary Curranthe, Pedagogy of Poverty Versus Good Teaching by Martin Haberman, Harnessing and Channeling African American Children’s energy in the mathematics classroom by Randy Baltimore, Providing culturally competent care in early childhood services in New Zealand

Parents’ experiences of different early childhood pedagogies Dr. Lawrence W. Lezotte a Research on Closing the Achievement Gap Between High and Low

Socioeconomic Status (SES) Students are specifically selected for the proposed study. It will be specifically look at the following academic books as they are most relevant to the research. (Sonia, & Bode, 2008).

Literature Review

Multicultural education will helps to solve or reduce many problems in the world. Through this type of education the social and cultural aspects of the society can be improved. Many studies are conducted about this subject. Result of such study shows that it is a good pedagogy. Some relevant point in various studies related to multicultural education is discussed below

Teachers and students in a class may be from different cultural background. Students in a class also may be from different culture. In the article Journal of Teacher Education author talk about an incident happened in a teacher called Nicole in her teaching life. She was from a European American upper middle class family. Her school and college life was also from such culture. So she had no awareness about the African American culture and their life style. But she started her professional life as a teacher from an African American school. One day, she was in the class room she noticed that two students were engaged in verbal repartee. They talk with hostile and contentious manner. She suddenly went to the principal’s room and reported this.

But principal attitude is entirely different from her. Principle shouted against Nicole instead of the students. The reason for that was Nicole misinterprets the situation. Actually the students were not quarrelling. They are just talking. But due to the difference in the culture she cannot understand that it their style of talking, it is not quarrelling. (Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management, (n.d), 25). These kinds of incidents were happened in many schools and colleges. The reason for that is teacher and students are coming from different culture. So teacher cannot accept or understand their student’s culture. Here also the teacher had her education from a European American cultural. It is not a rare case. Multicultural education helps to avoid this kind of problems.

In this study author refer Trueba, Cheng and Ima says that “teachers any shocked when Southeast Asian students smile while being scolded if they are unaware that the smiles are meant not as disrespect, but as an admission of guilt and an effort to show that there are no hard feeling.” (Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management, (n.d), p.26). Due to the lack of multicultural experience teacher may not manage his/her class as her desire. There are many students in a class. They may be from different culture. If teacher focus on one culture and continues the class based on that culture the other students may feel disturbance and they may loose their concentration from that teacher. In this book author also state that multicultural education helps to reduce or avoid problem related to classroom management. In shortly in this books author says that teacher follows multicultural education pedagogy, teacher can develop a culturally responsive classroom.

Multicultural education system helps students to understand human differences in rich and poor, urban and rural etc. These are some persistent facts related to life. It also give them awareness about the racial discrimination, dress code etc. In carious culture. According by Martin Haberman “Whenever students are being helped to see major concepts, big ideas, and general principles and are not merely engaged in the pursuit of isolated facts good teaching is going on.” (Good Teaching, (n.d)).

Some times students from one culture cannot follow the teaching style of a different culture. For example in the case of African American students for teaching mathematics teacher must use their style and voice. Athowise they will fail in their attempt. It is really happened in the past years. Randy Lattimore illustrates these facts in his book Harnessing and Channeling African American Children’s Energy in The Mathematics Classroom. When regarding the studies of the African American students, the online article, Harnessing and Channeling African American Children’s Energy in the Mathematics Classroom views that “Listening to African American students’ voices is essential in identifying those vital teaching and learning environments that contribute to African American students succeeding in mathematics.” (Harnessing and channeling African American children’s energy in the mathematics classroom, (n.d), 268).

To generate proper outcome through education students must grasp things as in the correct way. For that their language and cultural is very important. Every students wish to hear and understand things based on their culture. The teacher must understand this fact. For effective teaching teacher must use multicultural education system. In this book author also says that for easy learning of mathematics teacher gives a culturally responsive pedagogy. This book he also says some peculiarities of African males compared to white males. If teachers understand these peculiarities he/she can handle their classroom easily. This is another advantage of multicultural education pedagogy.

In the book, Revolutionary and Evolutionary: The Effective School Movement Dr. Lawrence W. Lezotte told what is effective school. Effective schools successively educate their students without affecting their social economic and family background. In such schools teachers frequently monitor the achievement of the students. This kind of school does not have any kind of discrimination. Their teachers give equal importance to all students. Students come from different socioeconomic classes. “As educators became concerned about equity among other subsets of the population, gender, ethnicity, disabilities, and family structure were added to the mix.” (Lezotte, Lawrence W. (n.d)). It means effective schools follow multicultural education pedagogy. This book also mentioned that learning environment and leadership of the school is very important. Environment plays and important role in the creation of the student behavior. Generally it is inferred that teachers should provide an educational environment which is matching to the culture of the student.

In the book Parent experience of different pedagogies author Lisa Terreni mentioned about the different methods followed in kindergarten at different countries. In New Zealand it is informal while in Jordan, in India and in China it is formal. Multicultural education pedagogy follows in New Zealand. So children like the kindergarten in New Zeland than other countries. Here a child gets opportunity to play with different people in different culture. According to Cancella “Applying the notion of play to all peoples in all situations denies the multiple value structures, knowledges, and views of the world which are created by people in diverse contexts.” (Parents’ experience of different pedagogies, (n.d)).

In the book Research on Closing the Achievement Gap Between High and Low Socioeconomic Status (SES) Students author gives a survey report. This report was given by U.S Education Department. It indicates that 40% of students come from low income families. In that 43% of students from African American family and 40% of students from Hispanic and 31% students from urban areas.(Research on closing the achievement gap between high and low socioeconomic status (SES) students, (n.d)). In this type of environment multicultural education system is essential. Otherwise if education system focuses only in the low income families the level of education also decreased. In such situation teacher quality also may decreased. It is not a good tendency.

In the file Ethnic/Cultural Topology, James Banks says that several group keeps strong intimacy to their culture and cultural group. Every society has their own believes and ethics. Those ethics and believes many be institutionalized. (Stage 1: Ethnic Psychological Captivity, Ethnic/Cultural Topology, provided by customer)Sometimes this types of believes generate a superiority in ones mind. Multicultural education helps to understand and isolate these kinds of ethics and believes. By identifying everyone’s attitudes and culture will reduce different kind of conflict between people in the society. It also helps to accept the positive aspects of every culture.

The literature review mentioned above is concerned with multicultural education and its effective implementation among students of different cultural and racial groups

Discussion and Analysis

The discussion and analysis attempted here is from the previous literature review. The following questions and the answers are used to discuss and analyze whether there is the need of multicultural education practices in the class room.

Whether it is possible to teach students belonging to different ethnic, cultural groups by the same teacher within the limits of a class room? If possible, what are the main difficulties that he/she has to face without making much conflict?

To teach students who belong to different cultural groups is a difficult task for a teacher. To teach such students the teacher should have thorough knowledge about the cultural background of those students and he/she should be capable of understanding potentiality of his/her students. If teachers intervene unnecessarily in the matters connected with the students or impose strict disciplinary measures, the student may turn against the teacher and it will cause for the conflict between them. Some of the researches show that more than one third of the children in our elementary and secondary schools are students of color. In sharp contrast, our teaching force remains overwhelmingly White, middle class (Weinstein. Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, (n.d)). The difference lies not only in the case of the color but the language often prevent them from proper communication. Many examples are cited out from different part of the world over this issue.

Lack of proper communication is one of the main problems that create the conflict between the teachers and students of different cultural groups. The linguistic differences, such as, if a teacher belongs one linguistic community and the student the other, there may be the problems to misinterpretation. In order to find a remedy for the problem of misinterpretation, the European American teachers are familiar with a “passive-receptive”, a particular discourse pattern. They insist the students to listen very quietly and carefully when the teacher conducts the class and then let them respond individually to teacher-initiated questions. But it is somewhat difficult to be implemented in the African American student as they are more interested in making comments and reactions. When referring to the words of the Trueba, Cheng, & Ima, 1993, in the article Toward a Conception of Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Carol S. Weinstein et al. Comments “teachers may be shocked when Southeast Asian students smile while being scolded if they are unaware that the smiles are meant not as disrespect, but as an admission of guilt and an effort to show that there are no hard feelings.” (Weinstein. Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, (n.d)).The above words rightly comments the state of the teachers who are assigned to teach the students of different cultural groups.

What are the positive aspects of multicultural pedagogy?

The advocates of multicultural pedagogy suggest number of advantages to the new method of learning approach. Through the implementation of multicultural pedagogy a teacher can understand student’s cultural backgrounds, the broader social, economic ‘and politic al contexts, it helps to increase the ability and readiness to adopt culturally suitable management strategies, and the accepting one’s own ethnocentrisms In a culturally diverse classroom the best method to help teachers is the receiving of multicultural learning process in to the classroom. The multicultural classrooms help to create physical settings that support academic and social goals.

Here a teacher will get an opportunity to institute and maintain expectations for student’s behavior, motivation, instructional strategies, and also helps to find suitable interventions to assist pupils with behavior problems. The urban teaching demands to avoid the gap between expectations and reality in learning and teaching procedure. The following statement gives a clear-cut vision about the problems of education in financially backward regions and the relevance of multi cultural learning procedure. The online article says: “The pedagogy of poverty requires that teachers who begin their careers intending to be helpers, models, guides, stimulators, and caring Sources of encouragement transform themselves into directive authoritarians in order to function in urban schools.” (Haberman, (n.d), p.3).A multicultural classroom teacher and the students tries to keep universality and they live beyond racial and cultural diversities.

How can teachers ensure that all students achieve at the same level, without regarding the child’s background?

After analyzing different journals, books and online articles, the researcher is understood the reality that the teachers are incapable of ensuring the study level of the students without regarding their cultural background. Different studies conducted among the students, especially among the African American students’, points to the necessity of the teachers to be more patient while teaching them. It is the psychological factor generally found in men that one becomes angry when he/she is not aware of a thing properly. The same fact is happening with the teachers of students belonging to different cultural groups. So it is asserted that the teacher should show enough patience especially when teaching students like the African Americans.

With the thorough knowledge of students’ background, the teachers should be capable of motivating or encouraging the students and thus by bringing them to be effective participants in a capitalistic society. The education provided them should be capable of making them critical thinkers and potential human beings. The teachers should provide the students enough freedom to produce maximum out put from them. To have the desired effect, Randy Lattimore remarks that it would be better to adopt “Socratic method in which questions are posed and students are given opportunities to explore what they think for several weeks or months. They can facilitate the building of knowledge by taking students through an exploratory process.” (Lattimore, (n.d). So it is clear that the teacher should at least have basic knowledge of the cultural as well as the racial background of his/her students.

How does membership in a racial or cultural group impact student achievement? What are the changing cultural and racial compositions of U.S.?

School is considered as an effective social; institution. The influence of racial or cultural groups badly affects the learning process. The involvements of these groups will forms barriers between able and disabled, rich and poor, multi lingual and monolingual. The influence of various racial and cultural groups prevents the smooth functioning of educational institutions and caused for educational polarization. The ultimate aim of education is formation of good citizens. Racial and cultural groups forced the students to deviate from their learning to other anti-social activities. The influences of these groups shape students schooling and his classroom behavior. A student who comes from particular racial or cultural backgrounds may be more destructive, aggressive and avoid what the school wants. In order to teach these kinds of students, there should be great attention from the teachers.

Regarding the African American students they are comparatively poor and there are not much educational facilities in their region. Naturally a student from these portions will express his racial qualities which may not be acceptable to other students who are from posh living conditions. As the right person to guide his students, a teacher should be capable of instilling good manners and forming a good character in his students. Respecting the U.S. racial and cultural background, one can assume that they are changing compositions. Now a days it is not possible for one to find out racial discrimination in U.S. as it once had. Even the cultural background is subjected to change and in majority of the U.S. schools one can find students from different cultural and ethnic groups. The school win in their attempts to bring these culturally different students together just because of the implementation of a well structured multicultural educational practices in the class rooms. It provides the good atmosphere for studies and a friendly relationship between teachers and students.

How traditions and rituals of other cultures influence students or how they are different from Western teaching methods?

The influence of other cultures influences the learning procedure. European American teachers are generally behaved to a passive or easily reached. They demand an absolute quietness in their classroom. They suggested individual responses. European-American teachers never ready to accept the comments and questions made by the African American students and the teachers considered them as disturbing and rude. Students from remote islands for example Pacific Islanders are lazy and they are more passive in classroom discussions. In case of Asian students will smile while scolding. Comparing African American students Asian students are more passive and calm. Multicultural classroom will help to avoid the problems in classroom management. Individual difference is unique in a classroom, Teachers follow their on way or approaches in teaching and he or she is not free from his own cultural influences. Student from different racial or cultural backgrounds will not accept the class. This miss understanding will lead him classroom miss behavior and other offences. Religion plays an important role in learning procedure. Religious customs and ceremonies are highly essential for some religion. If the teacher failed to understand these cultural diversities his classroom management becomes a great failure.

Multicultural education is the sector that provides an opportunity for the students raise up to the level they desire by promoting education in a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere. It gives enough consideration to the poor students who are from the different cultural groups. When attempting the studies of multicultural education and the need of its implication, the researcher is understood that it is a sector that needs much attention. From the various literatures referred for the studies is clear that the teachers play a vital role in the implementation of multicultural education. The teachers face a lot of difficulties while teaching these students and they should be aware of the cultural background of their students and propose packages that best suits to their children.

If a teacher is unaware of the background of the student it may not be possible for him to ensure that all students achieve the same level. There is possibility for conflict; if the student and the teacher belong to two different racial communities then an intense care is necessary to avoid conflicts. It would be better for the teachers to adopt methods through a good psychological approach. These differences are either linguistic or racial. The teachers should be capable of clearing the doubts of their children and show enough patience to hear their students. By adopting multicultural pedagogy, a teacher can manage his class room well. The output of multicultural education pedagogy is a culturally responsive class room. The students can easily follow the teacher if this system is adopted. So it can be viewed that the multicultural pedagogy is very effective to both the teachers and the students in conducting and listening to the class.

Multicultural education helps both teachers and students to understand the social and economical culture of various kinds of people. It helps them to face problem when they reached to a location were people have entirely different culture than their culture. If teacher teach the students in their own culture they can understand things easily. If do so their attention in the class is also increasing. By this way teacher can handle the class in an easy and interesting way. It may helps to increase the success rate of the school. By the multicultural pedagogy interaction and intimacy between teacher and students are gradually increased. This helps the teacher to understand the physical and mental problems of the students. By knowing the mentality and mental growth of the students teacher can improve the quality of the class. Especially in adolescent age students class room it is very much effective. By this method teacher can influence the ethics and morality of his/her students. By proper understanding of their culture teacher can lead their life as good persons. By the multicultural education pedagogy a teacher can helps to build a good and active society. It helps to reduce the violence rate and drug usage in the school.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Conclusions

When reaching the conclusion of the paper, the researcher can assert that multicultural education is inevitable in promoting or uplifting the students of different cultural groups and making them capable to undertake risks. But the research proves the fact that the implementation of multicultural education is really a difficult task for the teachers. To implement this system the teacher should have the proper knowledge of his/her students, especially of their cultural background. Only if he/she has such knowledge, the teacher can motivate the students and lead them to the proper way. A multicultural education is needed to understand the student needs and individual care is essential. After the studies the researcher is understood that not only the novice teacher but even the experienced teachers are fed up with the behavior of the students because of the linguistic difference they have. The multicultural education pedagogy is capable of creating a good atmosphere of teaching and studies.

To avoid the problem of misinterpretation, some teachers let there students listen quietly while the class is going on and provides them the facility to ask questions or to clarify their doubts at the end. But in the case of aggressive students like the African Americans, a more careful approach is needed and here the importance is given to motivation. The research has proved that multicultural education is capable of providing equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups. If the multicultural education is not adopted, one can see the possibility of children becoming aggressive and engage in different conflicts. They may oppose their teachers and become either rude or depressed and keep aloof from the society. If these students are not given much importance they may become a threat to the existing world. From the above details, the researcher reached in the conclusion that multicultural education is the need of the society and it should be implemented for the betterment of the students, especially those who belong to culturally different groups.

Recommendations

The study will show that current system of schooling has been facing some problems from various racial and cultural backgrounds. These problems prevent the smooth functioning of schools. So it is essential that the implementation of a multicultural education process in to schools. After the analysis of the data about the impacts of multicultural education, one can suggest the following recommendations.

  1. It is necessary to make a policy on preventing racial and cultural problems. And promote multicultural education in educational institutions.
  2. The Government should take necessary actions for preventing the influences of social groups and organizations in the field of education.
  3. Promote scientific training institutions for student teachers and give them enough training to handle multicultural classrooms.
  4. Give awareness to the people about the advantages of multicultural learning process, conduct awareness programs, campaigns and classes.
  5. Social organizations and NGOs have an important role in the process of implementing multicultural education
  6. Communication Medias mainly visual medias and press should give more emphasis on the new mode of education procedure.
  7. Inspire the teachers and students to cooperate in creative activities of multicultural learning and teaching programs.
  8. To ensure the effective representation of social subjects in to the curriculum.

Findings

After the research the researcher has been reached in the following findings.

  1. Multicultural education is capable of creating equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups.
  2. It is inevitable in lessening the cultural and racial differences that often creates troubles in one’s life.
  3. It is the novice teachers who are more nervous in handling the students of different cultural groups and they very often fail in their attempts to understand the students.
  4. Multicultural education enable students to achieve the great tasks of their life, raises the educational standard of a child by motivating him.
  5. Multicultural pedagogy enables an effective class room technique and helps to avoid conflicts between teachers and students.

Reference

Good Teaching: The pedagogy of poverty versus good teaching. (n.d). (Provided by customer).

Harnessing and Channeling African American Children’s Energy in the Mathematics Classroom. (n.d). 268 (Provided by customer).

Haberman, Martin. (n.d). The pedagogy of poverty versus good teaching. 3. (Provided by the customer).

Lattimore, Randy. (n.d). Harnessing and Channeling African American Children’s energy in the mathematics classroom.. Wayne State University. (provided by customer).

Lezotte, Lawrence W. (n.d). Revolutionary and Evolutionary:The Effective School Movement. (Provided by customer).

Multicultural education: Bnks and banks (1995) define multicultural education. (n.d). North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Web.

Parents’ experience of different pedagogies: Conclusion. (n.d). (provided by customer).

Research on closing the achievement gap between high and low socioeconomic status (SES) students. (n.d). (Provided by customer).

Sonia, Nieto., & Bode, Patty. (2008). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural educations.

Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management. (n.d). Journal of Teacher Education, 25. (Provided by student).

Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management. (n.d). Journal of Teacher Education, 26 (provided by student).

Weinstein, Carol S., Tomlinson-Clarke, Saundra., & Curran, Mary. (n.d). Toward a Conception of Culturally Responsive Classroom Management. Rutgers University. (Provided by customer).