Multicultural Education in the Classroom
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The Benefits of Multicultural Education in the Classroom
I have grown up with Education being my catapult through life; I love it. I love to study children and figure out how they learn and how our educational experiences shape us as adults. Five years ago, I found myself accepting a position as a Toddler teacher in a government facility. To describe it simply, I was a fish out of water. I had experience with children, but not with children so small. This experience taught me a great deal about learning in our great world. I was amazed to witness the pure relationships between children of all races in that little toddler room. All color aside, the children seemed to embrace each other’s differences and celebrate in their dedicated friendships. It would be a beautiful world if we could achieve this oneness within our public school classrooms. Multicultural Education is essential to improve Societal and Economical factors that significantly cause the lack of cultural diversity within the classroom. Children, who continued to be taught in diverse classrooms would reduce animosity among all races, improve the performance of minority groups, and provide an equal educational experience for all. Integrating multicultural education in school is beneficial for the reduction of racial stereotyping and the performance of minority races.
I believe multicultural education embodies a perspective rather than a curriculum. Teachers must consider childrens cultural identities and be aware of their own biases. It is tempting to deny our prejudices and claim that we find all children equally appealing. Teachers and parents need to acknowledge the fact that we, like our children, are inevitably influenced by the stereotypes and one-sided view of society that exists in our schools. Not only must we recognize those biases, but we must change the attitude they represent by accepting all children as we receive them. One system tried by school districts around the nation was “busing,” to provide diversity in the classroom. Busing was a concept where school districts were integrated with the dispersing of races throughout the county’s schools, often balancing out races in the schools. In the early stages, Charlotte, North Carolina was instrumental in the implementation of busing in the United States. “In 1971, Charlotte schools became the first school district to face court ordered busing.” (NPR, 2004). In the landmark 1971 case Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the Supreme Court considered a case in which North Carolina students of different races attended different schools because they lived in different neighborhoods. The court ruled that students could be required legally to ride buses to schools outside their own neighborhoods in order to achieve a truly desegregated school system. Soon after the Court established busing as a tool for creating racial balances in schools, it also broadened the geographic scope of desegregation. For the rest of the decade, court-ordered desegregation spread to hundreds of school districts throughout the nation. Busing for Charlotte was unique in nature as thousands of Caucasian students, some being from wealthy families, were bussed as well. It was a noble decision that changed the learning experiences of Charlotte’s youth. The success of “busing” was based on the results of increased test scores and positive feelings among races towards each other. In 2005, three educational professionals from Columbia University and the University of California at Los Angeles researched the lasting effects of students integrated in the late seventies. They studied the impact this experience had among six different school districts across the nation, including West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, NC.
“The lessons these graduates said they took away from their high school years were
all the more valuable because they realized just how unique these experiences
were once they graduated. Most of them said that it was only when they got to
college or to their workplaces that they realized what they had learned vis-а-vis their
peers who had not attended diverse schools. Compared to these peers, the graduates
said they were more open-minded, less prejudiced, and less fearful of other races.
They attribute much of this to their experiences in racially diverse schools.” (Holme,
Wells, Revilla, 2005, p.15).
Students from all racial backgrounds who participated in the desegregation project reported positive feedback in the area of social development. Caucasian students were more comfortable