Marva Collins said, “There is a brilliant child locked inside every student” (MotivateUs.com, 2010). In order for that to become a reality, children need the opportunity to learn, to be taught, to express them selves and be able to be challenged to the best of their abilities. That will happen when schools and parents recognize all students as being equal when it comes to education. Multicultural education can only work when there is a united front to promote equality and diversity. Many things can be done to achieve this and should be done. Every child has the right to become the best student they can be.
In order for multicultural education to be effective schools need to create a curriculum that incorporates something from all different backgrounds. There are many different learning styles, cultural and religious views, ability levels, and income levels that need to be considered. Before teachers can start teaching the students, the teachers’ needs to be taught them selves. It should be mandatory that teachers participate in classes or workshops about diversity in the classroom. If our teachers are not prepared, then how can we expect them to set a good example for the students? Parents also need to be involved in this learning process and keep updated as to what the student is learning in school. In a perfect environment, all teachers and parents would have the same ideals about how and what a student is taught. That is normally not the case. However, if teachers and parents can make more of an effort to work together it will not only be beneficial for them, but the student will most likely flourish.
I think there is a limitless amount of activities and projects you can do with students to promote multicultural education. Start in the simplest form and have each student share something about them selves that is unique to them in some way. It can either represent their gender, race, culture anything that would be unique to them. This is a great way for students to learn about the different cultures, but also a great way for them to get to know their classmates. I would also make sure that I, as the teacher, am spending equal time with all of the children. Teachers can not expect that all students will raise their hand and ask a question if they need to. Some students may be too shy or afraid of ridicule to do this. Take time individually with each student, and there will be a better chance of students understanding the material and succeeding.
Another great way to enhance the overall environment of the classroom is to give the students a voice. Let them express themselves and practice working together. Ask open ended questions that will intrigue and involve them. Give them the opportunity to engage in debates, while making sure they are respectful of other students (BrighamYoung University, 2010). This can create a more comfortable environment for students if they are interacting with each other on a daily basis. They will feel more comfortable with their peers and will also learn more about them individually as well.
In a group with many different backgrounds in one classroom there are many ways the students can contribute to the learning of others. Different points of view, different ways of doing things and different ideas about life in general can all be shared between students if given the chance. Students need to be able to work in groups to practice their social skills. If all students do is sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher talk all say then they are not getting the best education they can. The more they interact with their peers the more they will get used to differences between themselves and others. Hiding or sheltering children from things that scare or upset them will not make it go away. A very shy child will never open up if they are allowed to hide in the back all day and do not have to interact with other students.
Overall, I believe it is our job as teachers to put more focus into teaching our students about respecting and understanding things that are different. I believe that really has a lot to do with it. People sometimes shy away from things they do not understand. The more we expose and discuss and teach our children, the more prepared they will be once out of school.