What is multiculturalism in today’s classroom?

Often wonder what exactly is multiculturalism and what it looks like in my classroom. First I need to start with what I know.

Creating Global Leaders

I know  our district developed a multicultural program called The Cultural Infusion Project. This program is district wide and as a result is implemented in my school site. This project directly relates to the “important for all children” and “basic education” characteristics defined by Dr. Nieto. Dr. Nieto specified that it is problematic how students are placed in boxes. Her belief is that educators should be thinking of “how all students are included, of all backgrounds, races and ethnicities, etc. Of course, the major concern is that by not following these precepts that educators are doing students a disservice because they are not becoming world learners (“Intro to multicultural education”).  This sounds like a no brainer, but how many of us are really thinking outside of our worldview. Common Core wants our students to be 21st century global citizens. I often think about local or national issues but linking it back to global and considering how my students may react to global is different.

Classroom Management is now 70% teaching?

The Cultural Infusion Project is multifaceted and covers large areas of educator issues; one area covered is directing educators to develop a culturally responsive classroom. Teachers’ are recommended to use five classroom management strategies (Faces of Change, pg. 19).  At this point the research is suggesting classroom success and student growth is dictated through classroom management, so I can buy into the idea that a strong classroom presences is effective in every facet of learning.

Personalized Learning is apart of multiculturalism?

So I know that the Cultural Infusion Project ties to “basic education” characteristic because it is a multiphase curriculum and instruction initiative designed to modify the standard curriculum for social studies so that content and instructional resources reflect the demographics of the students, from African-American males to refugees and immigrants. Students who stay engaged in what they are reading are more likely to advance their academic and other literacy needs. (Faces of Change, pg. 19).

As educators we have to be proactive and understand that “basic education” is defined as recognizing how this is not a fad expecting to disappear because demographics are more diverse than ever before. Our district numbers supports this theory because our numbers are growing (“Intro to multicultural education”).  Long-term teachers have a way of putting their head in the sand and pretending that changes and trends are just flashes– most of that thought is true but not always.

So I know that “basic education” is “more than inclusion, or discussions of contributions approach. Instead, monocultural education is the best alternative to racism. We should expect students to be fluent in a language other than their own.” (p.48). The Cultural Infusion Project plans for this by encouraging educators to reach out to parents and multicultural community and speak to parents in their language and to understand our diverse students and their diverse needs—these reflections should be offered in the sensitivity of our lesson plans and daily ongoing school environment.

“Failing Superman”

Solutions

After viewing “Failing Superman” a short video clip that discusses the issue of a one-size fits all model in education. I strongly agree with the ideas that because students are all different, born difference capacities and environments that we cannot afford to teach blind to their natural aptitudes and interest.  The video outlined how our system only values limited myopic view of knowledge. Educators need to stop being blind to natural aptitudes and interest. Watching the video, I started to question how can we let students engage in individual passions, while maintaining the academic rigor?

  • The biggest suggestion from the video is that we need to start asking questions that students cannot find from Google. Instead, we can skip step that go straight into skills. Respect how the mind flourishes in different ways.
  • Also, we need to open the curriculum—teachers help build student competencies and help the students grow by asking them the right questions and teaching them how to find it. Teachers should coach and encourage.
  • Consider students weaknesses as kryptonite and consider how to make sure they can overcome this. I intensely trust that standards based education (SBE) and grading (SBG) can help accommodate these deficiencies.  SBG helps teachers on three levels: establish better learning goals, making sure students master concepts, that assessments are aligned perfectly to our daily classroom activity, and proscribing powerful feedback. SBG helps us give better feedback to students. We can be clear with students with how well them mastered standards. Focus is on skills instead of points.  (“Standards Based Grading Overview” http://edupln.ning.com/video/standards-based-grading-overview)

References

Faces of Change. Guilford Education Alliance. Retrieved from

http://www.guilfordeducationalliance.org/resources/documents/FacesofChangeFinalReport_000.pdf

Marc-André Lalande (2013, October 18). Failing Superman [Web log video]. Retrieved from

http://edupln.ning.com/video/failing-superman

Nieto, S., & Bode, P. (2008). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural

 

education (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson.

Nieto, S. “Introduction to Multicultural Education”. Retrieved from

https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4197884_1%26url%3D

Thomas Whitby (2013, December 4). Standards Based Grading Overview [Web log video].

Retrieved from http://edupln.ning.com/video/standards-based-grading-overview

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