Building Multiculturalism and Tolerance through Children’s Literature in the Elementary Classroom Library
One way to fight discrimination and bullying is through education. Educators can be instrumental teachers of multiculturalism. Through classroom libraries teachers can provide a wide variety of multicultural books. Elementary classroom libraries are an essential tool to assist in building cultural awareness and acceptance of diverse family units, races, creeds, learning abilities; therefore bullying will decrease and greater understanding among students will develop. Multicultural classrooms will build understanding and empathy and create environments of acceptance. According to Suzanne Evans (2010), “using an innovative critical literacy practice with multicultural literature, students ' awareness and understanding of others could be positively impacted” (Accession Number 48917419).
Definition of Multicultural Literacy
When thinking about multiculturalism there are many parts to the whole picture. Multicultural literacy is one part of that picture. According to Rundie Sims Bishop “Multicultural literacy is related to the concept of multicultural education, a label that names a variety of different educational practices and strategies” (pg 1). Bishop then gives a deeper meaning to multicultural literacy “a definition of multicultural children’s literature as that which represents all the diversity to be found in this society. No literature, then, would be excluded from the body of multicultural literature” (pg. 2). So, why is multicultural literacy so important? To understand, we need to take a look at the history of classroom libraries.
When taking a look at a typical classroom library a person can f...
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...f Multicultural Education).
Multiculturalism in schools goes back a long way and it took a long time to get to the place we are today. According to Gorski,
Today, literally dozens of models and frameworks for multicultural education exist. While theory and scholarship has moved from small curricular revisions to approaches that call for full transformations of self, schools, and society, many implementations of multicultural education still begin with curricular additions of diverse sources. But with a fuller understanding of the roots of the movement, we are better equipped to follow the transformative path laid by many educators, activists, and scholars. And it is important to remember that multicultural education is a relatively new concept that will continue to change to meet the needs of a constantly changing society (A Brief History of Multicultural Education).
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