This class just ended yesterday. It has been an eye opening class about multicultural education. At times, the class seemed to fly by and other times, like this past wee, it just seemed to drag. Anyhow, I am happy to say this is one ore class under my Black belt for my MEd program.
Diversity is very important. It helps us explore other cultures and gain awareness of the world around us. Being in a diverse environment, we see things from other perspectives and learn that there are many ways to accomplish things in this world. Multicultural education is about learning and teaching in such setting where cultures mix and share experiences.
In one video from unit one, talked about "borders". Borders, as we know it are visible. We see them crossing from one country to the next and so forth but what the video mainly spoke of was the reinvention of the border. Borders are complex and filled with ambiguity. They are not always what we see or think of them. In actuality a border is an unseen barrier we place amongst other people, places etc. that are in a different category than us. The border, as we may thought of before hand is different as we need to see it now. It is reachable by anyone and it is needed to transform contradictions into something else- something that will make us feel different, like becoming more human. We have to let go of prejudices, that we place on others that are different from us- others from diverse cultures. Coming all together as one is being multicultural, and with that we can achieve many things. Multicultural education is important and a necessary tool for us to learn about the world we live in.
Multicultural education is achieved by several different ways. One way is the reformation of the nation's schools. Anti racism and the importance of culture in teaching and learning aids to bring multicultural education to pass. This sheds a light on the the borders we create amongst others. In one video, losing a language was talked about. Years ago, there were over 6,000 languages but since then have died down because the languages were not taught to the children. Elders would die and along with them dying, the language would also die, never to be spoken again. If this keeps happening, more and more cultures would be lost. Diversity would dwindle and what would become of the world. We need to respect the uniqueness of others and have a sense of urgency wanting to know what they do to live and how we are really are all the same but different at the same time.
In reality, multicultural education is complex. The approach is that teaching and learning make a movement towards equity in schools and classrooms along with transforming of the curriculum and importantly, the whole process of becoming muticulturally competent. We have to have the commitment to address social injustices. Going back to the video, this means to transform the notion of what a border actually is because we are the ones who place them amongst others.
Those were some of the connections that I have made between the activities sand the readings. There is a connection between being diverse and gaining achievement. If we as a society want to comprehend multicultural education and all that it is worth than we must be open to diversity, releasing any preliminary borders, or motions that we have had in our minds to truly appreciate the real values of others. This will be a great achievement.
The idea of different races was created by European scientists during the "age of enlightenment". This was a means to classify or categorize humans according to physical differences that were observable. This was much in the same way that animals and plants were classified. In our country, race is a widely accepted myth that we humans can be divided into categories, being scientific based on our traits such as color of skin, hair texture, shape of eyes and other features. (Bennett 2011)
Ethnic groups are communities of people within a larger society that is set apart socially, by others and by themselves - It is primarily based on race (racial characteristics and/ or cultural differences as religion, traditions and language. (Bennett 2011) Ethnic groups can be distinguished by race, national origin or religion. Within ethnic groups there is diversity. There is multi cultural identities and it adds to the already complexity of ethnic identity.
Culture is very important. It defines a lot about us and where we come from, what we believe and so on. There are many cultural differences that exist today. One primary being verbal communication. There is also non verbal communication, social values, orientation modes and intellectual modes within cultures that distinguish us from other groups. When as in intellectual nodes, we have preferred ways of learning where are skills are emphasized and knowledge is most valued. Many students bring into the classroom cultures that are different from the schools and mostly from the students around them.
It is said that Most schools in the United States are pluralistic classrooms but tend to go for the assimilation route, because we are a melting pot. This is trying to teach students "the American Way". Cultural pluralism is when smaller groups maintain their cultural identities within a larger group and that their practices are accepted by the larger group, being that they are consistent with the laws that govern the larger group. Assimilation is when a person's language or culture begin to resemble those of another group. I believe in my work context there is a culture of assimilation to a point because, there are many children who come from immigrant families and they are learning the English language and want to eat the same things as the other kids and they get embarrassed when their parents speak to them in their native language; they respond back to them in English. Sometimes, they do not eat the food because it is ethnic food that is very distinct from others. They feel like they do not fit in. Even at that young age children have the need to fit in and they notice the difference among one another.
Bennett, Christine: Comprehensive Multicultural Education Theory and Practice. (2005). Boston
This is what we covered just in the first 2 weeks..Imagine the depth of this class for 6 remaining weeks. A wealth of information.