What is Multicultural Education?
What does multicultural education mean, anyway? This is something that I'm learning about as a teacher. I thought it was mostly about sharing information about different cultures of students in the classroom and throughout the world.
I'm coming to find out that it is so much more than that. I'm not too sure of all of the ins and outs of it, but it seems to me that multicultural education focuses on making education equal and open for all students. Students also learn about oppression and disrespect, about the contributions of all cultures to the country and the world. They take it a step further and maybe write letters to a store that only carries dolls of the dominant ethnicity in society.
Multicultural education does affirm and respect people from all walks of life, but it goes beyond this. It looks long and hard at society and the reasons it is why it is. It tries to change this one person at a time. It begins with the teacher examining his or her cultural values and thoughts about other cultures and perhaps making changes to how the teacher interacts with students, their parents, other teachers and others in their communities. Then it may move to students as they observe his or her model.
I imagine my understanding of this idea will develop more and perhaps even change significantly, but these are my first impressions of this new and interesting idea. It's been around for a while, but I'm just now getting around to it.