Multicultural Education

763 Words4 Pages
Multicultural Education

What is multicultural education, and how is it relevant to science instruction? Over the past decade, educators have ignored this question and instead, they have focused on ways and methods of incorporating multiculturalism in the humanities. In the most recent assessment of Virginias Science Standards of Learning, Virginia received a grade of D, almost failing, in part because of the absence of a multicultural approach towards instruction. In research and discussions with professionals in the fields of both elementary science and multicultural education, we learned and discussed numerous ways for teachers to consider this crucial element in their classrooms. In particular, Virginia educators must stress the real-life applications in science, focus instruction on ALL groups of students, and use the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) to support multicultural science education.

In the article The Way Kids Are: Science for All? author Lisa Nyberg asserts Kids need to see the real-life connections to their world so that they realize science isnt something that happens only in a laboratory or in a faraway exotic location. Science happens in their own homes, backyards, and communities (Nyberg, p. 2, 1998). In an interview with a local gifted educator, she supports the same approach, organizing her science teaching around problem-based instruction with performance-based assessment. This is important because students focus on the how of science, constructing their knowledge based on their own experiences, as opposed to memorizing definitions and formulas. Doing science, this educator suggests, is accessible to every student, while rote memorization does not take into account cultural, ethnic, and gender di...

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... teachers need to be sure that in our own classrooms science instruction stresses real-life applications and acknowledges individual differences so that our students understand that every person is a scientist no matter their ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. We cannot afford to wait until the Standards of Learning tell us this is important, we must start today in every classroom.

References

Atwater, Mary M. (1995). The Multicultural Science Classroom. The Science Teacher, 22.

Chambers, D.W. (1983). Stereotypic images of the scientists: The Draw- A Scientist Test. Science Education, 67 (2), 255-265. Cone, Edward. (1998). Diversity Needed In IT. Information Week.

Mee, Cynthia S. (1996). Middle School Voices on Gender Identity.

Readings for Teaching Science, 56.

Nyberg, Lisa. (1998). The Way Kids Are: Science for all? Kidscreen, 66.
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