Multicultural classroom is a diverse environment of cultures. It is a multitude of cultures, social groups, and ethnicity.
What is a multicultural classroom or education?
“Multicultural education is a set of strategies and materials in U.S. education that were developed to assist teachers to respond to the many issues created by rapidly changing demographics of their students.”
The multicultural classroom is an ever-changing arena of various cultures. As students from around the world make up the classroom, teachers need to be aware of diversity.
The diversity of the multicultural classroom is filled with students from different socioeconomic status, cultural, and language background. In fact, many classrooms are populated by English Language Learners (ELLs).
Helping multicultural students to succeed becomes a challenge. With so much diversity in a multicultural classroom, a reform is needed.
The ‘one size fits all’ education without considering multicultural students is a recipe for disappointment. Many of these students will lack the skills to succeed in school, in a job, and in our communities.
In the very simplest terms, multicultural education “refers to any form of education or teaching that incorporated the histories, texts, values, beliefs, and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds.”
What are the ways to use multicultural topics in the classroom?
Sometimes, multicultural classrooms function better when lesson plans incorporate the cultural aspects of students. Even more important, it can also include different ways for students to learn based on their cultural background, foreign language, or special need.
However, teachers need to take extra care when materials or textbooks present bias, discrimination or offensive text. This can demoralize the self-esteem of students.
Although experts in education advocate for reform in multicultural classrooms, several approaches need to be considered. A curriculum change, student instruction, assessment, teacher education, and legislative and legal issues are important points to consider.
Most states have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Yet there are other school programs, which focus on social, ethnicity, and gender specific issues.
ELL students and special needs students have special instruction in the multicultural classroom. In particular, some teachers employ a cultural awareness based on student population to address cultural identity.
Assessments or testing is an important part of teaching. Teachers need to evaluate the progress of what students have learned.
However, discrepancies arise in multicultural classrooms with a diverse student population. A standardized test may not be the only way to assess the learning of a student.
Teacher education is just as important as student education. When teachers are prepared academically, they are more apt to prepare a multicultural classroom.
Even though legislative reform has had an impact on education, training and preparation is key to success in a multicultural classroom. We can’t expect for every student to learn with a ‘cookie cutter’ model when multicultural classes are more diverse than years before.
What do you think? Should education reform involve multicultural classrooms?