Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Integrate Multiculturalism Into Your Curriculum TODAY!

In People for the American Way a survey conducted over 1,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 and asked if they felt "comfortable" or "uneasy" when dealing with people of the opposite racial group. The results left 55% of African American's feeling "uneasy" rather than "comfortable" when having to deal with the other racial group. Multiculturalism education helps students to develop a more positive attitude toward different racial, ethnic, cultural and religious groups so, why not incorporate it into our curriculum as a must have for our students? It's not difficult to add to your curriculum. Take a look at James Banks, he created his own approach to this task. His approach includes four levels.

Level 1: The Contributions Approach
Include the study of ethnic heroes into your curriculum. Also focus on Holidays, discrete cultural elements and go ahead and have a creative "party" to celebrate different cultures such as Cinco de Mayo.

Level 2: The Additive Approach
When those "special" weeks or months come around try to incorporate and recognize that special time by incorporating it into your lessons for the time being. It may not be exactly what is on your agenda looking back at the curriculum you put together at the start of the year but it may be necessary to recognize and teach a little about it. This does not mean that your curriculum should be altered to fit each of these special days, months or weeks but it should have some recognition of these special dates as your curriculum goes along.

Level 3: The Transformation Approach
Allow your students to put themselves in the shoes of others of a different ethnic background. Let them to see through the eyes of someone who has different view concepts, issues, events, and themes.

Level 4: The Social Action Approach
To achieve a more vibrant democracy and multicultural goals take the transformation approach a step further and promote decision making and social action from your students. Have your students contribute to solve related problems and address social and economic needs in the community and abroad.
With James Banks' four approaches to multicultural education teachers like you can have a choice of a variety of ways to add multiculturalism into your curriculum. Remember that this benefits your students as well as the students your students may come across in the far or near future. Being a culturally responsive teacher allows you to bring your skills and insights into the classroom and encourage your students to become more "comfortable" around others of different cultures. Be a teacher, be a leader, and be an inspiration to all.

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