Dr. Martin Luther King (1963) spoke eloquently as he declared, “I have a dream that my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (p. 5). Dr. King’s dream of a character-based society is not one that denies its cultural diversity, but that celebrates it as an integral part of its character. Educators help create this society by using their knowledge, skills, and disposition to celebrate his or her students’ cultural heritage while refining characters to become productive members of society.
No one becomes a master carpenter experience, extensive knowledge, and necessary skills. The same applies to educating students of diverse cultures. Nieto (2010) makes an impassioned plea for multicultural education by citing her experience as an immigrant in a low-income home, parents who spoke only Spanish, and an educator who overcame many obstacles to success (p. 2). She writes, “Educational inequality is repugnant in a society that has pledged to provide an equal education for all students regardless of rank or circumstance. Yet educational inequality is commonplace in schools all over our country” (p. xiv). She provides an excellent overview of how to construct effective multicultural educational programs. Her characteristics of multicultural education (p. 68) create the foundation upon which we build comprehensive understanding insuring a teacher does more than give cursory asides to diversity in the classroom but appreciates fully the different gifts the students bring to the educational experience.
Fundamental to multicultural education is recognizing how culture affects academic performance. Linda,...
... middle of paper ...
...ike servanthood and empathy. True empathy requires we demonstrate a servant heart characterizing Christ’s life as He served others with complete selflessness. Like Christ, we never use our power to benefit ourselves but our students. Being Christ-like requires we put student’s needs before our own as we serve them instead of standing on our rights. We strive to look through their eyes so that we might more effectively respond to their needs. Truly adopting this Christ-like attitude will enable us to deal effectively not only with our student’s personal needs but their educational needs as well.
Today, effective multicultural education is critical if our schools are to educate our students effectively. Proponents and opponent alike need to recognize that true multicultural education is not new or novel but instead is the heart of the American cultural experience.
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