When a child opens his (or her) first puzzle and the pieces fall to the
ground, it may seem very confusing. What are they to do with this pile of
shapes in front of them? It often takes a parent to explain to them that all
the different pieces fit together into one whole picture. Although every piece
is different and unique, when they are all put into their place they form one
whole picture. In the same way, teachers can teach multiculturalism in the
classroom. Although every member of our society is unique, with different
cultural backgrounds, we all fit together to form one unit. As stated by Noel
(1995), “Understanding our own identity and the culture of our community
requires knowledge and recognition of our cultures and communities and how they
have shaped us” (p. 267). By adding a multicultural component to their
curriculums, teachers can help students see how each individual fits into the
There are, however, arguments against multicultural education (Banks,
1995). For example, some critics believe that multicultural education is
directed toward only minority groups, thus discriminating against middle class,
white, heterosexual males. Others believe that multiculturalism is against
Western and democratic ideals. A final argument is the claim that
multiculturalism will divide our presumably united nation. Although critics of
multicultural education may feel they have valid arguments against the issue, I
feel that the goals of multicultural education make it an important part of the
curriculum that every student should experience.
I agree with Wurzel (1988) and Noel (1995) when they stress awareness as
a key component to multiculturalism. Students must become aware of their own
culture and how they are similar and different from others. Awareness also
involves an understanding of issues involving differences in culture and a
knowledge of which of these issues are present in their community. After
becoming aware of these issues, students often react emotionally. With an
awareness of the richness and variety of cultures in their community and a
personal emotional reaction, students can take social action, another goal of
multicultural education (Noel, 1995). Noel says that students would take “
... middle of paper ...
... Demystifying Multiculturalism. In Noll, J. W. (Ed.),
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues (pp. 94-98).
Guilford, CT: The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc.
Davidman, L. (with Davidman, P.T.) (1994). Teaching With a
Multicultural Perspective: A Practical Guide. White Plains, NY: Longman
Lynch, J. (1989). Multicultural Education in a Global Society. Bristol,
PA: The Falmer Press.
Noel, J.R. (1995). Multicultural Teacher Education: From Awareness
Through Emotions to Action. Journal of Teacher Education, 46, 267-272.
Noll, J.W. (1995). Should Multiculturalism Permeate the Curriculum?
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Educational Issues (pp. 82-83).
Guilford, CT: The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc.
Senese, G.B., Tozer, S.E., & Violas, P.C. (1995). School and Society:
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Wurzel, J.S. (1988). Toward Multiculturalism: A Reader in
Multicultural Education. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.
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