It is time for a change everyone! When you look around, does everyone look alike? What about language, traditions, holidays, wardrobe, food, and religion? Does everyone fit into some set category? In most instances, if you were to poll the shoppers at your local grocery store about their culture, you would quickly realize that the answer to these questions is a resounding no! What do you think would happen if those shoppers were asked a question about a culture they weren’t connected to? Sadly, many Americans are not as culturally aware as they should be. This is definitely a problem that needs our attention, and the answer is in a multicultural curriculum for our children.
It is difficult to define the term “multicultural curriculum.” The concept behind this phenomenon is a broad one. It can probably best be described as a system of teaching that tries to foster cultural pluralism and acknowledges that there are differences between the many different cultures and races of our world. Basically, this system of teaching addresses the varying educational needs of our diverse society. The goal behind multicultural education is to help children understand and appreciate cultural differences and similarities. A multicultural curriculum embraces American society as it is in all of its glory.
There are many advantages to having a multicultural curriculum in the classroom. Most people today are not culturally aware. Teachers are the first line of defense against this problem. Research shows that when students are taught from a multicultural curriculum they are eager to learn, thus being more engaged in the learning process. Our society is a multicultural one and a multicultural curriculum prepares students for life in the world today. A multicultural curriculum also increases students’ sensitivity to and awareness of different cultures. This allows for a celebration and appreciation of the studied cultures’ perspectives, customs, and contributions.
It is obvious that a multicultural curriculum is what is best for our children. Unfortunately teachers are presented with many barriers when attempting to implement such a curriculum. It can be extremely overwhelming to a teacher when he or she feels that all areas of diversity must be covered so as not to discriminate or have anyone feeling left out. Some teachers realize that the diversity of our world is always changing and evolving, posing yet another obstacle to overcome. In order for the curriculum to be accurate and successful the amount of time and planning a teacher puts into her lessons will increase. Though all of these issues are present, they can be addressed and overcome with some serious effort.
How does a teacher go about confronting these problems? Worries about discrimination because of not covering all of the possible areas of diversity exist, but you can’t incorporate every culture imaginable into one school year. The solution here is to work with cultures that represent your classroom. Move from there and take a look at the school population as well. Another great idea is to work with cultures representative of all of the continents. And yes, the diversity of our world is rapidly changing, but with some effort an accurate portrayal of specific cultures can be related to a classroom. A teacher dedicated to implementing a successful multicultural curriculum will need to revisit their knowledge about specific cultures each time they are examined in the classroom and build on what is already known. It will take more time, and you may need help from more experienced teachers, but success can be attained. The end result is definitely worth the energy expended throughout the process.
Teachers need to tackle this teaching style with vigor. If every teacher bestowed the gift of a diversified educational experience, what would our world look like as a result? Think of the possibilities. Children are ready to break away from preset molds. It is time that they were given the tools for a bright and successful future!