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Multicultural Diversity:

A Challenge to a
Global Teacher
Diversity of Learners in
Multicultural Classrooms

James Banks
(1975 in Sadker, 1991)
The major goal of multicultural
education is to transform the school
so that the male and female
students, exceptional learners, as
well as students coming from diverse
cultural, social-class, racial and ethnic
groups will experience an equal
opportunity to learn in school.
Diversity or differences among our
students have placed greater
demands to teachers in today’s
schools. Students may differ in race
which is commonly indicate by the
color of the skin. They may belong to
different ethnic or religious group
and speak different languages.
In most public schools students come
from a wide range of socio-economic
backgrounds. Increasing number of
children come from families that are
plagued by poverty, unemployment,
frequent relocation, limited access to
high quality medical and social
services and perhaps crime ridden
neighborhoods.
Thus, there is a need for curricular and
instructional modifications, teaching
styles, re-examination of teachers’
attitudes, beliefs and perception. This
movement called multicultural
education enables teacher and
educators to give value to the
differences in prior knowledge,
experiences of learner from diverse
background and familiarity with
students’ histories of diverse cultures
( Haetel, 1998).
The inclusion of the learners with
special needs has also increased
diversity in schools. Environmental
adaptation of classrooms, behavior
support plans, cooperative learning,
peer tutoring and team teaching are
some of the responses of
multicultural education.
Taking into account the diversity in
school is a major challenge. Every
one’s heritage is given due respect,
and differences should be regarded
as strengths to build on rather that
deficits to be overcome. However, a
focus on group differences may lead
to a basis for stereotyping which
multicultural teacher have to avoid
(Gallimore & Goldenberg, 1998).
Culture evolves over time. One result
of this process is beliefs and practices
help us adapt to persistent and
changing circumstances. These
beliefs and practices are organized as
models or schema about how things
work. Practices that are proper
develop and help individuals or
group survive in this ever changing
world environment.
Accommodating
Cultural Differences
and Commonalities
Fraser-Abner (2001)
• Learn as much about as sensitive
to and aware of racial, ethnic,
cultural and gender groups other
than your own.

• Never make assumptions about an


individual based on your
perception of that individual’s
race, ethnicity, culture or gender.
• Avoid stereotyping

• Get to know each student as a


unique individual:

Walk in the footsteps


of all your student.
Other suggestion include the following:
• Look into your own conscious and
subconscious biases about the people
who are different from yourselves in
race, ethnicity, culture, gender or
socioeconomic status.
• Infuse multicultural instruction materials
and strategies in your teaching.
• Foster collaboration and cooperation
among your learners, parents and
teachers.
In view of this purpose, some guiding
principle which were adapted from an
interdisciplinary group of psychologist,
political scientist, sociologist and
multicultural specialist, are hereby presented,
to wit:

1. Pre-service teacher education


program should help prospective teachers
understand the complex characteristic of the
ethnic groups in ways race, ethnicity,
language and social class interact to influence
students behavior.
2. Teacher should ensure that all
students have equitable opportunities to
learn and to perform to a standard.
3. Teacher should help students acquire
social skills needed to interact effectively
with students from other racial, ethnic,
cultural, language of social groups.
4. The school curriculum helps students
understand that knowledge is socially
constructed and are reflective of the social,
political and economic context in which they
live and work
5. Schools should provide all students
with opportunities to participate in extra-and
c-curricular activities that develop
knowledge, skills and attitudes that increase
academic achievement and foster positive
intercultural relationships.

6. Teacher and students should learn to


reduce or eliminate stereotyping and other
related biases that have negative effects on
racial and ethnic relations.
7. School should provide opportunities
for students from different racial, ethnic,
culture and language groups to interact
socially under conditions designed to reduce
fear and anxiety.

8. Teachers should teach and student


should learn about the values shared virtually
by all cultural groups like justice, equality,
freedom, peace, compassion and charity
among other.
This section has clarified some of basic
assumptions that enhance teacher
development.
• No two learners are exactly the same
• Children in all classroom are
heterogeneous
• Strategies that work with one learner may
not work with another.
• Student’s background and experiences
should be considered when teaching.
• Community members from various ethnic
group can assist teacher in facing issues of
differences and similarities.