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We live in a diverse world and an increasingly diverse society in the United States. This diverse society includes a number of young people who experience some degree of alienation in our classrooms and schools. Through the application of multicultural education concepts, we can strive to create more inclusive classrooms and schools in which our students can see themselves in the curriculum.


Good social studies is multicultural and multicultural concepts make for good social studies!

multicultural concepts
Multicultural Concepts
  • Culture
  • Cultural Pluralism
  • Diversity is Valued
  • Oneness is not sameness & balancing difference with commonalities
  • Multiple Perspectives
  • Visibility
  • Awareness of Stereotypes
what is culture
What is Culture?
  • Idealized definition:
  • The way our ancestors speak through us.
culture working definition
Culture-Working Definition
  • Learned traditions, loyalties, beliefs, customs that guide behavior of a group of people.
we are all multicultural
We are all multicultural!
  • Members of many groups that have cultural aspects
  • Gender, social class, regional, ethnicity, religious,…..
  • Race??White, Black, ???
  • Dynamic--our loyalties change over time
  • Complex--groups overlap
cultural elements
Cultural Elements
  • Values and beliefs
  • Customs and traditions
  • Language/communication patterns
  • Diet and food preparation
  • Dress and/or body decoration
  • Religious practices
  • Family structure
  • View of time may vary
  • Recreation-athletic games

CULTURE PROFILE: To which group(s) do you belong?

1.Language --English only; Spanish; Chinese; Vietnamese; Bilingual; Others________________

2. Ethnicity/National Origin-people in class with at least one ancestor from the areas:

Native American--Tribes/Nations ________________

Latin American--Countries/Regions: Mexico ; Cuba; El Salvador; Panama; South American Country, ________________

Euro-American--Countries/Regions: Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales); Ireland; Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia;

Others ____________

African American--Countries/Regions ______________

Asian American--Countries _____________

Arab American/ Middle East--Countries ___________

3. Religion


Major Branches-- Catholic; Orthodox; Mormon; Protestant

Protestant Denominations: Baptist,Congregational;

Disciples of Christ (Christian Church); Episcopal (Anglican)

Friends (Quaker), Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian

Other denominations __________________

Islam (Muslims)

Branches of Islam: Shiite; Sunni

Judaism (Jewish);


Buddhist (including Confucianism, Taoism)

Other religions______________________

4. Musical Preference: Country-Western, Rock, Jazz, Rap, R & Blues, Latin, Tejano, Religious, Hip-Hop,Bluegrass

5. Clothes: Casual, formal, uniform, ethnic

6. Food: Fast food, traditional diet, ethnic

7. Drinks: soft drinks, coffee, tea, milk, alcohol

8. Athletics: Golf, Football, Soccer, Basketball,

Baseball, Gymnastics

9. Housing: Apartment, Single family dwelling, dorm

10. Living location: City/urban, rural, small town

11. Politics: Democrat, Republican, independent

12. Transportation: Bicycle, walk, auto, bus, subway

cultural pluralism
Cultural Pluralism
  • Multiple identities and loyalties in a nation
  • Not a melting pot
  • Opposite of Assimilation
  • 1890-1910 population doubled
  • “PIGS”-- “WASPS”
  • Not a deficit or deprived--different
diversity has value
Diversity Has Value
  • Paradigm shift from deficit, more than tolerance, to view it as a strength
  • Music analogy-unison/harmony;
  • “same song”---Our song is about equality, civil rights & social justice included in our founding documents!!
  • Analogy from Biology--positive adaptation
  • Political Science --Democracy is inefficient but in the long run the best decisions are made when many points of view are listened to
oneness is not sameness balancing difference with commonalities
Oneness is not sameness & balancing difference with commonalities
  • E Pluribus Unum
  • Balancing Act
  • Different yes but much more in common
multiple perspectives
Multiple Perspectives
  • Important social studies concept
  • Not just one story
  • “Don’t believe anything I tell you”
  • Elian
  • Anglo centric
  • Imbalance “What if Custer’s men had repeating rifles and the kill ratio were higher?” Same math skills could have been applied with bacteria and antibiotics.”
  • “Settled--Won”
  • Nine Year Freshman Story
  • Singer Quote
  • Posters, Calendars, Bulletin Boards
  • Add history/SS to math to show the contributions of many cultures
  • First Person Reports
  • Many good websites--biographies
  • TheMacTutor History of Mathematics archive
  • Dr. Sarah Greenwald “Incorporating Mathematical Achievements of Women and Minorities into Schools-…Classroom Activity Sheets
  • Benjamin Banneker Lesson plan at:
visibility curriculum materials
Visibility- Curriculum Materials
  • REACH Center
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Cobblestone--recent issue on contribution of women in the civil war
  • VOICES Herstory: A collection of stories about women in history
visibility quote
Visibility Quote
  • ‘“We, the people.’ It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September 1787, I was not included in that ‘We, the people.’ I felt somehow that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in ‘We the people.’” Barbara Jordan, House of Representatives, 1974

Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research

  • http://brownvboardBrown Quarterly, other resources-- videos
  • National Park Service Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site
  • curriculum materials, videos & CD’s, Ranger visits,
  • Video: A Case for Equality: Reading, Writing, and Resistance (elem-middle)
  • Video :Dialog (high school) phone:(785) 354-4273
visibility music
  • John McCutcheon
    • “Travelin’ in the Wilderness”
    • “Cross that Line”

Other Suggested Resources

  • “Simple Justice” by Richard Kluger both book (1975) and movie (video)
  • “Brown V. Board Of Education, A Brief History with Documents”, (1998)
      • by Waldo E. Martin Jr.
  • Black, White & Brown video by KTWU (PBS)website:
  • Fry,“The Struggle Against ‘Separate But Equal’—Teaching About Brown v.
      • Topeka,” Southern Social Studies Journal, Vol.30 (1) Fall 2004
visibility associations
  • TODOS: Mathematics for ALL
  • Benjamin Banneker
  • NAME
awareness of stereotypes
Awareness of Stereotypes
  • Stereotype, Prejudice (Bias), Discrimination
  • Cognitive, Affective, Behavior
  • Head, Heart, Hand
  • Jane Elliot’s “Eye of the Storm”
  • Terrible Thomas Jefferson Quote
  • Banneker’s Twelve Page Letter
  • Jefferson Reply-sort of retraction
  • Detect stereotypes in materials
goals of students seeing themselves in the curriculum include
Goals of Students Seeing Themselves in the Curriculum Include:
  • Improving the academic achievement of minority students
  • Build commitment to American ideals of pluralism and democracy
  • Eliminating bias in classroom interactions and learning materials
  • Incorporating minority perspectives into the curriculum
  • Fostering respect and appreciation for the contributions to society that minorities have made