More now than ever before in the educational history of our nation has multicultural education become important. Due to the ever increasing diversity in our nation, the global economy, and the mobility of our work force, diversity in the classroom is affecting our classrooms. With such a diverse student population teachers must understand that each student will bring his own background knowledge and experience into the learning environment. The task that is presented to teachers is to prepare the students to understand and interact with all the different cultures that are present or that the student may come into contact with, while at the same time teach them content which does not offend a student’s cultural identity.
Why is multicultural education important? “Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (NCSS,1994b) endorses the belief that students should be helped to construct a pluralist perspective based on diversity. This perspective respects differences of opinion and preference, race, religion, gender, class, ethnicity, and culture in general.” (Hass & Sunal, 2011, p. 304) With the ever increasing diversity found within this country, and the interdependency between different cultures on a world-wide platform it is important for our students to not only accept these differences, but to also understand the differences. Dr. Geneva Gay states:
Multicultural education can ease these tensions by teaching skills in cross-
cultural communication, interpersonal relations, perspective taking, con-
textual analysis, understanding alternative points of view and frames of
reference, and analyzing how cultural conditions affect values, attitudes,
beliefs, preferences, expectations, and behaviors. ...
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Banks, J. (2008). Teaching Strategies for ethnic studies. (8th Ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Cushner, K., McClelland, A., & Safford, P. (1992). Human Diversity in Education. New York:
Fry, T. S. (2000). Muticultural Perspectives Help by Preservice Social Studies Teachers. The
Journal of Critical Inquiry Into curriculum and Instruction .
Gay, G. P. (1994). A Synthesis of Scholorship in Muticultural Education. Retrieved May 5, 2012,
from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory:
Hass, M. E., & Sunal, C. S. (2011). Social Studies for the Elementary and Middle Grades.
Kostelink, M., Whiren, A., Soderman, A. S., & Gregory, K. (2002). Guiding children's social
development: Theory to practice. Albany, NY: Thomson Delmar.
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