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Multicultural Education: Integration and Action project. Presentation By: Brian J. Murphy Seattle Pacific University EDU 6525: Culturally Responsive Teaching. My Belief:.

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multicultural education integration and action project

Multicultural Education: Integration and Action project

Presentation By: Brian J. Murphy

Seattle Pacific University

EDU 6525: Culturally Responsive Teaching

my belief
My Belief:
  • It is imperative that educators strive to achieve multicultural literacy and employ multicultural education in the nations schools in order to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse society and strive towards cultural unification.
e pluribus unum
E Pluribus Unum?
  • The American slogan – E Pluribus Unum – literally translates to mean “one out of many”
  • This idea of creating one nation out of many peoples has not come true; we are not a unified nation
  • Our world is plagued by bias and prejudice based on identifiers such as race, religion and gender, and thus remains divided.
  • In order to achieve the idea promised in the slogan above – one nation created of many groups - we must embrace multicultural education as a means to strive for unification
what is multicultural education
What is Multicultural Education?
  • In the current form, Multicultural Education is both a field of study and an educational discipline dedicated to the creation of equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social and cultural groups.
  • Multicultural education has developed as a result of the dire need to remedy the racial and ethnic inequality that has plagued America since the Colonial era.
where did the problem come from
Where did the problem come from?
  • Since the beginning of American history, groups have been separated and subjugated by, among other things, race, religion and gender:
    • Men vs. Women
    • Protestants vs. Catholics
    • American colonists vs. Irish immigrants
    • White Europeans-Americans vs. ~Anyone else~
  • Prejudice against outsiders was rampant in American society
  • Education was seen as necessary only to the privileged upper-class in early America, and therefore the curriculum was tailored to their needs
  • Unfortunately, when each subsequent (read: “inferior”) group gained the right to education in the American system, few modifications were made to cater to their different viewpoints
  • Education curriculum remained largely unchanged, and in some cases adopted an assimilation viewpoint
  • Prejudices were exacerbated by the “melting pot” idea: that each new person/group could be “melted” (assimilated) into the American “norm”

(Mvududu, 2010)

a historical separation
A historical separation
  • James A. Banks (1996) explains that racism is a social construct based on the unfounded notion of Caucasian superiority, amplified and expanded by concepts like slavery, eurocentrism and manifest destiny
  • Race therefore became a defining characteristic, with groups plotted on a continuum of superiority with white Anglo-Saxons at it’s highest point
  • Books by authors like William Ripley (1899) and Madison Grant (1916) reinforced racial separation and warned readers about the “dangers” of integration

(Banks, 1996)

divided we fall
“Divided we Fall…”
  • Major historical events, such as the institution of slavery, the dissent over abolition, the Progressive movement, and the rise of Naziism divided the country further, and reinforced feelings of white superiority
  • Racial prejudice has persisted, and while the civil rights movement of the 1960’s increased cultural sensitivity, diverse cultures remain separated and continued to be weighed against the white-American “standard”
  • American society continues to classify and label individuals and groups on the basis of race:
    • Census data is reported based on race
    • Unemployment and economic data is based on race
    • Even standardized testing scores are broken down by racial groupings
  • The cycle of prejudice continues through stereotyping, poverty, and a general lack of understanding, education and acceptance

(Mvududu, 2010)

a brief history of multicultural education
A Brief History of Multicultural education
  • Scholars and educators have been striving for multicultural awareness and education since the early years of American history
  • Original scholarly study of African Americans is directly linked to current multicultural education, and was conducted mainly by black scholars:
    • George Washington Williams
    • W.E.B. DuBois
    • Carter G. Woodson
    • Horace Mann Bond
  • Multicultural education in the current form was borne of the Ethnic studies movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s
  • Modern multicultural education has spread, in theory and in practice, amongst educators and administrators across the country

(Banks, 1996)

five goals of multicultural education
Five Goals of Multicultural Education:

The goals of multicultural education are simple:

  • To increase all students’ self-understanding by helping them view themselves as members of distinct, non-universal cultures.
  • To provide all students with alternative cultural lenses and opportunities.
  • To provide all students with the skills, attitude, and knowledge needed to form successful cross-cultural relationships.
  • To reduce the pain caused by unnecessary racial or ethnic prejudice.
  • To help all students succeed academically.

(Mvududu, 2010)

multicultural literacy
Multicultural Literacy
  • In order to achieve the goals of multicultural education, teachers and administrators must strive towards multicultural literacy
  • As the name suggests, multiculturally literate teachers possess understanding and knowledge of multiple cultures
  • In reality, multicultural literacy is an ideal towards which we need to strive, not a benchmark to measure ourselves against:
    • The achievement of complete multicultural literacy – knowledge of ALL cultures – is an impossible task
  • The importance of multicultural literacy in education is based on two distinct needs:
    • The ever-changing racial and ethnic make-up of the American people, and therefore the demographics of American schools – e.g. the “browning of America”
    • The low achievement and poor academic performance of “minority” students – e.g. the “achievement gap”

(Mvududu, 2010)

learning from the past carter g woodson
Learning from the Past: Carter G. Woodson
  • Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) worked his entire life to encourage African Americans to have a positive self/group image and reduce racism on the part of whites.
  • Feeling that the educational system perpetuated stereotypes and negative self-image for blacks, Woodson developed textbooks, literature for children, and his publication, The Negro History Bulletin, to counter the “mis-education of African Americans” (Roche, 1996)
  • Realizing that curricula was useless without the support of educators, Woodson was one of the first to reach out to teachers and administrators to promote the study of African-American history in schools
  • Teachers, Woodson realized, were critical to extending and implementing the work he introduced

(Roche, 1996)

it begins with us
IT begins with us:
  • As teachers, we have a responsibility to become multiculturally literate, and the first step on this path is to become personally aware of our own feelings regarding culture and race
  • Whether we like it or not, we are all a product of our own culture, and the majority of the time, our own experience does not match that of our students
  • Each of us needs to develop a distinct self-awareness in order to better respond to the needs of students
  • Keep in mind, regardless of cultural differences, teachers have a profound and lasting influence on students, so the things that we say and do (either positive or negative) can stick with them for a long time
  • Finally, we need to find a way to embrace – and teach to – the multicultural perspectives of our schools, as curriculum has a tendency to reflect a single perspective: that of the social “norm”

(Mvududu, 2010)

why is perspective so important
Why is perspective so important?
  • “The aim of perspective-taking in multicultural education is not simply the accumulation of multiple perspectives. It should be used to help students understand the partial nature of knowledge and to recognize that the meanings drawn from texts are not universal. Perspective-taking problematizes the idea that knowledge is objective and can help students understand that knowledge is socially constructed.” (C. Banks, 1996)
  • Perspective-taking allows individuals to learn from each other, and to rethink and reconstruct “knowledge” as a whole
  • Considering information through the perspectives of others can be a step towards multicultural awareness, and therein a step towards national unity
learning from the past mary mcleod bethune
Learning from the Past:Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was an African-American educator, feminist and activist
  • She spent her life trying to break the bonds of racial, class and gender stereotypes imposed by American society
  • Her work centered around the world of education, which she viewed as the ideal conduit through which to convey her ideas
  • Her educational philosophy balanced the ideas of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois
    • Washington believed in preparing black students for industrial jobs through vocational education
    • DuBois emphasized the intellectual development of black students
  • Her ideas have been classified as “both/and” thinking, in which perspective is gained through a pluralistic conception of knowledge and reality, a concept referred to by DuBois as double-consciousness

(Barnett, 1996)

put yourself in everybody s shoes
Put Yourself in – everybody's - shoes…
  • Cherry A. McGee Banks (1996) explains the borderlands stance of multicultural education:
    • “[It] situates multiculturalists in a position that requires them to move beyond a focus of one group and to acknowledge the interconnectedness of ethnic, racial, gender, social class and other groups. It challenges multiculturalists to identify with multiple groups and to engage in social action to improve the circumstances of all people.”
  • Applied to the classroom, the same theory stands firm; if teachers and students alike can be encouraged to explore the perspectives of numerous groups, they will develop an understanding of their universal interconnectedness
  • Through this understanding, individuals develop their own “both/and” thinking, wherein they see themselves as both part of a unique group and part of the greater American culture
where do we begin
Where do we Begin?
  • So much in the way of research, planning and development has been done for us; our responsibility is figuring our where and how to integrate that learning and take action upon it
  • As teachers, we must strive towards multicultural literacy and practice methods of culturally responsive teaching
  • By following models such as the Five Dimensions of Multicultural Education designed by James A. Banks and his colleagues, we can learn to successfully implement multicultural education programs in our schools
banks five dimensions of multicultural education
Banks’ Five dimensions of Multicultural Education

James A. Banks (1996) and his colleagues at the Center for Multicultural Education developed the following five dimensions of multicultural educaiton “…that educators can use to guide the implementation and assessment of programs designed to respond to student diversity, and to incorporate transformative scholarship into the curriculum and pedagogy”:

  • Content Integration
  • Knowledge Construction Process
  • Prejudice Reduction
  • Equity Pedagogy
  • Empowering School Culture and Social Structure

(Banks, 1996)

five dimensions of m e content integration
Five Dimensions of M.E.:Content Integration
  • “Content integration deals with the extent to which teachers use examples and content from a variety of cultures and groups to illustrate key concepts, generalizations, and issues within their subject area or discipline.” (Banks, 1996)
  • Content integration is the “easiest” and most obvious dimension of multicultural education: the inclusion and integration of multicultural content
  • With content integration, curriculum is modified to include multicultural concepts, for example:
    • Teaching the influence of African-American and/or female Progressive leaders
    • Learning about the leaders, events and outcomes of the Civil rights movement
    • Learning about Japanese-American imprisonment during WWII
five dimensions of m e knowledge construction
Five Dimensions of M.E.:Knowledge Construction
  • “The knowledge construction process refers to the extent to which teaches help students understand, investigate, and determine how the biases, frames of reference and perspectives within a discipline influence the ways in which knowledge is constructed within it.” (Banks, 1996)
  • By learning about knowledge construction, students grasp the concepts of epistemology; basically why knowledge is knowledge
  • This process shows that knowledge can be discovered (objective knowledge) but is often created (subjective knowledge), for example:
    • White racial superiority is subjective knowledge based on bias
  • By understanding the process of knowledge construction, students can identify for themselves the value of knowledge as either objective and subjective, and even go as far as constructing their own knowledge
five dimensions of m e equitable pedagogy
Five Dimensions of M.E.:Equitable Pedagogy
  • “An equity pedagogy exists when teachers modify their teaching in ways that will facilitate the academic achievement of students from diverse racial, cultural and social-class groups.” (Banks, 1996)
  • To establish an equitable pedagogy, teachers should modify their teaching strategies to cater to the strengths of students from various cultural groups, for example:
    • Teachers in the Kamehameha Early Education Program in Hawaii successfully utilized small-group strategies for native Hawaiian children, whose culture emphasizes kinship and collaboration (Mvududu, 2010)
    • Teachers in the Webster Groves Writing Project likewise cater to African-American children by capitalizing on their “uniquely expressive and performance-oriented tendencies” (Mvududu, 2010)
five dimensions of m e prejudice reduction
Five Dimensions of M.E.:Prejudice Reduction
  • “Prejudice reduction describes lessons and activities used by teachers to help students to develop positive attitudes toward different racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.” (Banks, 1996)
  • One of the major aims of multicultural education is to combat any preconceived notions , negative attitudes, and biases about different groups of people that students may bring with them to school
  • Teachers need to create an atmosphere of caring and acceptance by presenting students with learning opportunities to help them understand, appreciate and value those who are different from themselves, without reverting to “political correctness”, for example:
    • Investigating and sharing unique cultural practices
    • Researching and debunking stereotypes
five dimensions of m e an empowering school culture and social structure
Five Dimensions of M.E.:An Empowering School Culture and Social Structure
  • “An empowering school culture and social structure exists when the culture and organization of the school have been restructured so that students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and gender groups will experience educational equality and cultural empowerment.” (Banks, 1996)
  • The final dimension of Banks’ model is by far the most complex, as it infers that the school – not the student, teacher or classroom – is the vehicle of multicultural education, and as such must undergo substantial reforms
  • These are reflected in the eight characteristics of a multicultural school, as developed by the Center for Multicultural Education (Mvududu, 2010)
the eight characteristics of a multicultural school
the eight characteristics of a multicultural school
  • Teachers and school administrators have high expectations for all students and positive attitudes toward them. They also respond to them in positive and caring ways.
  • The formalized curriculum reflects the experiences, cultures, and perspectives of a range of cultural and ethnic groups as well as of both genders.
  • The teaching styles used by the teachers match the learning, cultural, and motivational styles of the students.
  • Teachers and administrators show respect for the students’ first languages and dialects.
  • The instructional materials used in the school show events, situations, and concepts from the perspectives of a range of cultural, ethnic, and racial groups.
  • Academic assessment procedures are culturally sensitive and result in students of color being represented proportionately in both gifted and special education programs.
  • The school culture and hidden curriculum reflect ethnic and cultural diversity.
  • School counselors have high expectations for the careers of all racial and ethnic groups and help all children plan for success.

(Mvududu, 2010)

the road ahead
The Road Ahead…
  • While meeting the educational and social demands of the five dimensions of multicultural education, and therein the eight characteristics of a multicultural school is by no means a simple, or easy process, it is a necessary step towards the national unity we seek to create in America through the process of multicultural education.
  • Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (1998) and other critics of this movement challenge the aims and overall value of multicultural education, stating that the process serves not to unify, but to cause further separation between groups.
  • I would contend that in the thoroughly researched, measured, planned and implemented form proposed by Banks and the Center for Multicultural Education, this movement has the potential to unify the American people, while preserving the aspects of culture, race and ethnicity that make each of us unique and interesting.
the road ahead1
The Road Ahead…
  • By striving for multicultural literacy, following in the footsteps of the great cultural scholars of the past and present, and putting in action the necessary facets of multicultural education, we – as educators – can set in motion a cultural awakening that will bring about national unity, and finally bring truth to our national motto: “E Pluribus Unum” – One nation out of many.

Banks, C. A. “Intellectual Leadership and African American Challenges to Meta-Narratives”. In J. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge and action (pp. 46-63). Teachers College Press: New York.

Banks, J. “The Canon Debate, Knowledge Construction, and Multicultural Education”. In J. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge and action (pp. 3-28). Teachers College Press: New York.

Banks, J. “The African American roots of Multicultural Education”. In J. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge and action (pp. 30-45). Teachers College Press: New York.

Banks, J. “The Historical Reconstruction of Knowledge about Race: Implications for Transformative Teaching. In J. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge and action (pp. 115-128). Teachers College Press: New York.

Banks, J. “Transformative Knowledge, Curriculum and Action”. In J. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge and action (pp. 335-348). Teachers College Press: New York.

Barnett, E.F. “Mary McLeod Bethune: Feminist, Educator, Activist”. In J. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge and action (pp. 115-128). Teachers College Press: New York.

Mvududu, N. (2010) Lecture series. Presented online for EDU 6525: Culturally Responsive Teaching. Seattle Pacific University.

Roche, A. M. “Carter G. Woodson and the Development of Transformative Scholarship”. In J. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge and action (pp. 115-128). Teachers College Press: New York.

Schlesinger, Jr., A. M. (1998). The Disuniting of America. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.