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Education that is multicultural provides an environment that values diversity and portrays it positively. Students' educational and vocational options are not limited by gender, age, ethnicity, native language, religion, class, or disability. Educators have the responsibility to help students contribute to and benefit from our democratic society. Diversity is used to develop effective instructional strategies for students in the classroom. The integration of multicultural education throughout the curriculum should help students and teachers think critically about institutionalized racism, classism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia. Ideally, educators \\'ill begin to develop individual and group strategies for overcoming the debilitating effects of these societal scourges.

Activity 5.2 (Be sure to label your work correctly!)

When Cultures Clash

1. Is music one way to describe culture?

2.Write a brief scenario (no more than one paragraph) describing an instance of misunderstanding that occurs between a teacher and a student who are from different backgrounds.


Teaching to Influence Societal Change

The greatest concern of students in too many parts of our country is of safety. For them, violence in their lives is a normal way of life; school may be one of the few havens of safety. Unfortunately, their schools often are understaffed, are underfunded, and suffer from other social, economic, and cultural inequities Therefore, Educators who implement multicultural education must also be concerned with helping change the conditions in society that lead to the vast differences among communities and their schools.

Teaching to Understand Microcultures

Multicultural education is based on a broad definition of the concept. By using culture as the basis for understanding multicultural education, the authors present descriptions of seven microcultures to which students and teachers belong. Of course, these are not the only microcultures to which individuals belong, but these are the most critical in understanding pluralism and multicultural education at this time. An individual's cultural identity is based not only on ethnicity but also on his or her class, religion, gender, language, abilities, and age. To further complicate matters, the degree of identification with one's ethnic origin, religion, and other microcultural memberships varies greatly from individual to individual. We are not just men and women; instead, we are men and women within the context of our ethnic, religious, and class background. We cannot be identified by our membership in only one of those groups.

The complexity of pluralism in the United States makes it difficult for the educator to develop expectations of students solely on the basis of one of their group memberships. The interaction of these memberships within a sexist and racist society defines who we are. This text is designed to examine these group memberships and the ways the educator can develop educational programs to meet the needs of those groups and the nation.

Teaching to Create Equitable Environments

Educators can deliver an equitable education for all students. Schools can eradicate discrimination in their own policies and practices if educators are willing to confront and eliminate their own racism and sexism. Educators cannot attack sexism without also fighting against racism, classism, homophobia, and discrimination based on abilities, age, and religion. To rid our schools of such practices takes a committed and strong faculty. It is a task that can no longer be ignored.


This module examines how diversity is embedded in the culture of the United States and its implications to teaching. Within this diversity, teachers are expected to provide each child irrespective of his/her gender, race, social class, ethnicity, or setting (rural, urban, suburban) with equal educational opportunities. Statistics show that the percentage of ethnic minorities in the United States has been growing steadily and there is a net increase of one international migrant every 30 seconds. This translates to an increasing number of students from diverse cultural backgrounds in most schools in the United States. The growing number of ethnic minorities and immigrant children has necessitated rethinking of the concept of equal educational opportunities. Bilingual education programs and multicultural education approaches to teaching have been adopted in an effort to provide all children with a quality' education. This has been a challenge.


Cultural Identity -An overall sense of oneself, derived from the extent of one's participation in various subcultures within the national macroculture.
Bilingual Education -A curriculum for non-English-speaking and English-speaking students in which two languages are used for instruction and biculturalism is emphasized.
Multiculturalism- a set of beliefs based on the importance of seeing the world from different cultural frames of reference and valuing the diversity of cultures in the global community.
Limited English Proficient -(LEP A designation for students with limited ability to understand, read, or speak English and who have a first language other than English.
Ethnicity -A shared feeling of common identity that derives, in part, from a common ancestry, common values, and common experiences.
Race-A concept of human variation used to distinguish people on the basis of biological traits and characteristics
Minorities Groups of people who share certain characteristics and are smaller in number than the majority of a population.
Language-minority Students Students whose language of the home is a language other than English.

Stereotyping -The process of attributing behavioral characteristics to all members of a group; formulated on the basis of limited experiences with and information about the group, coupled with an unwillingness to examine prejudices.
of a group; formulated on the basis of limited experiences with and information about the group, coupled with an unwillingness to examine prejudices.

Individual Racism- The prejudicial belief that one's ethnic or racial group is superior to others.
Institutional Racism Institutional policies and practices, intentional or not, that result in racial inequities.
Afrocentric Schools.
Schools that focus on African-American history and cultures for African-American pupils
Indian Education Act of 1972 and 1974
Amendments-a federal law and subsequent amendment designed to provide direct educational assistance to Native-American tribes and nations.
Bicultural- The ability to function effectively in two or more linguistic and cultural groups

Multicultural Education -Education that provides equal educational opportunities to all students-regardless of socioeconomic status; gender; or ethnic, racial, or cultural backgrounds-and is dedicated to reducing prejudice and celebrating the rich diversity of American life.

Multicultural Curriculum -A school curriculum that addresses the needs and backgrounds of all students regardless of their cultural identity and includes the cultural perspectives, or "voices," of people who have previously been silent or marginalized.

Sex Role Stereotyping- Beliefs that subtly encourage males and females to conform to certain behavioral norms regardless of abilities and interests.
Sex Role Socialization -Socially expected behavior patterns conveyed to individuals on the basis of gender.
Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA)--- A 1974 federal law that guarantees equal educational opportunity for females.
Gender Bias- Subtle bias or discrimination on the basis of gender; reduces the likelihood that the target of the bias will develop to the full extent of his or her capabilities

Gender-fair Classroom-- Education that is free of bias or discrimination on the basis of gender.


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