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Write a culminating research paper providing some suggestions for delivering a multicultural education. Be sure it demonstrates your comprehension, application, analysis, assessment, and integration of the research. Compare socioeconomic status, familial makeup, and the influence of extended family in educational achievement.
Analyze how physical, social, emotional, intellectual development, and the culture influence student learning. Evaluate differentiated instructional approaches to learning by focusing on the strengths and needs of diverse learners. Integrate knowledge and skills into strategies of effective and reflective practices to reduce academic achievement gaps. Determine how specific teaching strategies for one group of students can be transferred to all learners. Evaluate how religiosity appears to be a function of cultural and socialization patterns that affect education. Evaluate the process of second language acquisition for non-English speaking students.
Students deserve the best education available irrespective of educational budgets, personal bias, or student beliefs. There are many issues, which need to be taken in to account when dealing with the broad array of students. The color of a skin, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, gender, developmental stage, or intellectual level should not be a factor in the education of any student. All students have their individual challenges, which must be met. Recognizing intelligent students is as important as recognizing the student with below average mental capabilities. The child who is African-American is as important and deserves the same education as the Asian- or European-American. Children of both sexes deserve the same available options regardless of the processes that have been in place for years. Moreover, no matter what, just because a person's family may be more financially stable to put funds into the educational system, does not mean that any student should receive any different education or allowances than any other student.
In the early 1950's there were developmental changes with regard to desegregation of students throughout the country. In 1954, unconstitutionality of segregated schools noted in Brown v. Board of Education was addressed and desegregation of schools, classes, students, and educational practices began (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954). This landmark case overturned a half-century long case of Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 where case law established that the educational practice of segregation of students and the "separation but equal" processes of education (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896). In the early 1900's the practice was to separate schools of color and offer "equal" educational practices, but this was found not to be the case. As Brown v. Board of Education came into law, many states took quite some time to adhere to the federal mandate, and bussing became part of the status quo for educational "desegregation". However, as time continued to move forward recognition of segregation was still noted, not so much the segregation of students of color, but of religion, culture, intellectual ability and disabilities. These segregation practices have taken time to overcome, but to date are still dynamic issues that continually need to be addressed.
Educational leaders, educators, communities and states need to be aware of these significant multicultural issues and step up and address student outcomes through continued multicultural educational processes. "'Assessment' and 'accountability' became two of the hottest buzzwords in education policy across the country" (Braun et al., 2010, p. 16). States have to make strides toward multicultural, equal, education for all students no matter what their age, color, gender, religious preference, intellectual ability, or socioeconomic status. States are accountable for student outcomes, and should be held accountable to the community for student progress. There is accountability of educators, leaders and community, but there also needs to be accountability of the parents and students themselves for a successful outcome. Blame needs be shared and without a recognition of each one of these groups as to their responsibilities success will never be seen.
Diversity of Learners
There is a large diverse group of learners across the nation and globe that need an adequate education for success. Education will allow students to become viable, strong, productive citizens, and potentially possess a sense of pride for the individual. Developing these students so they are able to handle the daily trials and tribulations of life is important to them and to society. No matter what the underlying factors are for these students, the education they receive is important for themselves and their community. So much needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to multicultural educational diversity. Student's successful progression in educational outcomes is primary. Teacher education and an understanding of the multicultural issues comes to the forefront of success. There needs to be a community and educational culture change toward a diverse educational process for all. All persons have potential; some may take more time, some may take more work, but all students have the probability for success.
All classrooms have diversity, whether that classroom has students who are all one color, one culture, one gender, etc. there are still diverse sub-populations, which are located in these classrooms. It may be nothing more than a mindset or attitude, but a diverse student population is in every class. Students need to recognize and grasp the importance to understanding diverse populations and groups. Recognizing, accepting and believing in the differences of all persons and the potential these differences could make for a more successful society can make all the difference in the world for a successful educational outcome. Multicultural education is important for a successful complete education. Students can learn so much from each other, there is nothing less than a learning experience at every turn of a multicultural classroom. Developing classrooms that are diverse and getting students and teachers alike to understand the multicultural educational experience is important. As such Paul Gorski (2009. p. 310) "found in his ï¬ve 'deï¬ning principles' of multicultural education:
(1) multicultural education is a political movement and process that attempts to secure social justice underserved and disenfranchised students;
(2) multicultural education recognizes that, while some individual classroom practices are philosophically consistent with multicultural education, social justice is an institutional matter, and as such can be secured only through comprehensive school reform;
(3) multicultural education insists that comprehensive school reform can be achieved only through a critical analysis of systems of power and privilege;
(4) multicultural education's underlying goal -- the purpose of this critical analysis -- is the elimination of educational inequities; and
(5) multicultural education is good education for all students."
But, Gorski also states that the "multicultural education most often practiced by teachers, administrators, staff developers, teacher educators, and others in the United States is a conservatized, personalized version" that actually works against the multicultural educational process that maintain and reduce inequities in education (Gorski, 2006). Recognizing this is the first step in making changes for the best.
Equity in education is important for all student success. As the federal, state and local governments have recognized education of all is important for feasibility in the future. These officials talk about equity and the equalization of all, but this is not the case. Due to the differences in state testing, and educational standards, equity should not be the word used actoss the board. Paul Gorski states eloquently "equity 'is increasingly being conceptualized as opportunities for all students to be held equally accountable to the same high-stakes tests despite unequal resources' while teacher education 'is increasingly being conceptualized as a training and testing problem' focused on bringing pupils test scores to a certain minimum threshold". Many enter Multicultural Teacher Educational experiences in denial of their own privilege or even to the idea that inequities exist. When multicultural teacher educators challenge these views, students and participants often respond with resistance (Gorski, 2010, p. 5).
As stated earlier, students are the first step in understanding multicultural education. Educating our future is important for a viable, successful society. This is a new age of global economies and broad acceptance of others. If you walk into any classroom in the United States, and look close enough there are significant differences in all of us. The perspective that many of us are alike is so far from the fact. People have different shapes, sizes, color, educational abilities, speech, backgrounds, experiences, etc. etc. etc. Students are so far from being the same, that recognition of diversity should be the norm, not the opposite.
Children are influential and when a child is young and just starting in elementary school there is recognition of differences in others, but in most circumstances if not all, these young, influential minds notice nothing more than people are as much like them as different. The change comes as these children progress through school, with peers, educators, parents and communities changing their individual attitudes toward others. Developing these innocent values early and toward a more diverse outlook as they progress would be much easier than attempting to change their attitudes later in life.
One of the biggest concerns and issues when it comes to multicultural education is the educational standards, training, personal bias, and attitude of teachers. "Teachers matter tremendously!" (Almy & Theokas, 2010, p. 3). Teachers are very influential for students. Banks has an incredible statement which covers this area completely, "Before we [educators] can transform the world, we must first transform ourselves" (n.d., p. 5).
If personal bias or prejudice is noted, students will begin to emulate the actions of the ones they admire. If segregation is done in class, students are placed together because of culture, intellectual ability, gender, race, etc. children begin to believe that this is the way things are to be done and "learn" this as standard practice throughout life. Educators need to recognize their actions are being watched and be aware of how their attitudes play in the minds of their students.
Teachers are respected by students initially and most everyone believes that the educators whom are eaching our young are certified or trained in the specific classes they lead. This is not necessarily the educational processes. In an article by Almy and Theokas there is an identifiable problem with teachers, which are not trained in the field they are teaching. According to the article "one in four core classes (25.1 percent) in high-poverty suburban schools has an out-of-field teacher compared with one in nine (10.6 percent) in low-poverty schools. The percentage of classes taught by out-of-field teachers in high-poverty suburban schools is nearly ten percent higher than the national average of classes taught by out-of-field teachers (25.1 percent versus 15.6 percent). Regardless of poverty status, an out-of-field teacher teaches one out of every six secondary level classes in small towns across the country. For the high-poverty schools in these towns, this jumps to almost one in four classes" (2010, p. 2). These teachers have shown through research to be insufficient in subject area knowledge and show little increase in student outcomes compared to teachers with demonstrated subject area knowledge, who engender strong results (Almy & Theokas, 2010).
Since teaching excellence is considered to be one of the most important factors in improving student achievement, education reforms that aim to improve the caliber of teachers are critical in addressing achievement gaps (Braun et al., 2010, p. 14). Teachers need to be trained in the skills they are trying to pass on. Continual training of these "subject experts" is important for successful student outcomes. Effective teachers also need to be multiculturally competent. They need to reï¬‚ect on their biases and how these inform practice. ''Teaching for Resistance and Counter-Hegemonic Practice.'' respecting diversity means little if this respect does not inform practice (Gorski, 2009, p. 316).
Educators need to step up and develop equitable pedagogy, by changing methods to enable students from diverse groups to succeed. They need to develop practices that encompass diversity, as children recognize these as the norm they tend to accept this as commonplace. Changing the way they do things is important for success. Recognizing different cultures learn differently would assist in this process. The values, experiences and attitude of the teacher can assist in developing a set of cultural values that will be effective with a broad range of diverse students. As students recognize the educator is attempting to teach many different ways in respect to all students, and change the educational process to reach different groups throughout the teaching process they will accept the teacher much better than shutting the teacher out completely. Educators may not be able to reach all diverse groups but in an attempt may reach many whom were unreachable before (Banks, n.d., p. 4).
The school system itself, including the administrators of individual school building, is a significant asset to educators and students in diversity training. Schools are the brick and mortar places of learning, but more than that, they are the communities where children grow and develop. States develop plans of action for diverse educational practices and school systems and individual schools are empowered to get the job done. States have set the standards to be measured and schools must develop the plans to make sure there is consistent student growth within the confines of testing and evaluation, but within the confines of educational processes and budgets. Many schools have developed plans to teach strictly to the test thereby showing successful outcomes. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) stresses the testing of students in the fourth, and eighth grades with one last evaluative testing in high school. Without the continued success of students in these areas, federal funding would be cut, schools would lose funding and teachers would lose jobs, much less gain well deserved pay raises. Therefore, teaching to the test would be easy to accomplish and show progress without student learning. There is significant criticism of the NCLB because of the "perceived unfairness of using a status measure to evaluate school effectiveness (Braun et al., 2010, p. 6).
One area of concern at the school level is that of parent and community engagement of educational processes. "Willard Waller (1932) called parents and school agents 'natural enemies,' underlining the power struggles that are often at the core of this relationship. Today, parents are most often expected by schools to play a supporting role in their children's education, while leaving the core day-to-day academic activities up to teachers" (Horvat et al., 2010, p. 703). Improvement of school efforts for improvement of these relationships needs to be pressed for successful community student outcomes. Communities and parents are as much involved in the learning process as the students and teachers themselves. Educators and leaders need to "assess and understand the context in which they work and if they acknowledge the power of parents and community actors while working to effectively "manage" this important resource" (Horvat, Curci, & Partlow, 2010, p. 724), students will have a much better outcome. Developing positive and collaborative relationships with a student's parents is important (Horvat et al.).
One of the issues with regard to multicultural education is the differences in the way states have developed and assess standards of education. States are free to establish any testing they deem necessary for evaluation of student outcomes (Braun, Chapman, & Vezzu, 2010). With the inception of the federal mandated standards of the NCLB, educational development is suppose so show an increase in student outcomes throughout a student's educational tenure.
As states develop standards of educational testing, evaluation of nationally mandated standards across state lines are impossible to recognize (Braun et al., 2010). In a socialized, global, educational, culture it is unfathomable that state legislators and educators have not recognized the importance of developing a state-to-state testing process that will show student progression outcomes if a student has moved from one location to another. "Another difficulty is that most states are quite heterogeneous with respect to student achievement, so that positive results in one sector (e.g. higher poverty schools) could be masked by negative results in another sector" (Braun et al., 2010, p. 4).
This all came about over a century ago in Plessy v. Ferguson 1896, when a law was passed to allow for separate but equal, only to find throughout most of the 20th Century that school systems were separate but far from equal. This all became noticed in the federal case of Brown v. Board of Education1954, when the federal government mandated desegregation. In making such a decision, the courts had to recognize the importance of the changes in modern education, noting that education "must be made available to all on equal terms" (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954).
Braun et al. (2006) characterized the Black-White achievement gap as pervasive, profound and persistent: Pervasive because the gap was observed in all ten states, profound because it was found at all levels of aggregation, and persistent because the median gap did not diminish over the period of the study (Braun et al., 2010, p. 5).
Strategies for Multicultural Educational Implementation
The development of educational outcomes, which address multicultural concerns, takes time and an open-minded educator with the ability to look at processes beyond normality. The Gollnick and Chinn (2009, p. 377) text has an exceptional outline that is a great model for educators who are interested in developing an equitable multiculturally diverse educational program. He states the following:
"Place the student at the center of the teaching and learning process.
Promote human rights and respect for cultural differences.
Believe that all students can learn.
Acknowledge and build on the life histories and experiences of students' group memberships.
Critically analyze oppression and power relationships to understand racism, sexism, classism, and discrimination against persons with disabilities and gays, lesbians, the young and elderly.
Critique society in the interest of social justice and equality.
Participate in collective social action to ensure a democratic society".
This is just the beginning of the process of multicultural education. The process is a long painstaking, noting so many stakeholders such as the community, families, educators, politicians, businesses, and students. This is a working relationship between all these groups, and nurturing these multiple groups is important for success. Development of our educational leaders (teachers) in culture and teaching practices toward multiculturalism is an investment in progress. Looking at different teaching methods, new educational jargon, multicultural education texts, and the recognition of cultural differences in the classroom are all-important parts of present and future education. Recognizing these as the new standard is the direction that must be adapted by all persons involved in the process of education.
Developing a multicultural attitude as an educator, is as important as developing individual lesson plans for successful student outcomes. Every student is an individual, and with individuality comes a host of engrained, deep seeded, beliefs about oneself and others. Everyone has preconceived notions about how people should behave, act, and deal with each other, even students who are trying to get an education. Teachers, along with parents, are the leaders and the mentors of our future generation. Diversity is an important part of society to include education. All classrooms are culturally diverse (Banks, n.d., p. 5), and as such recognition of this diversity is important for successful student outcomes.