One of the greatest challenges a teacher faces today is a multicultural classroom. All aspects of each culture must be addressed and kept in mind when a teacher is designing their curriculum. Today’s classroom is more diverse in every sense, and a teacher must be prepared for any scenario he or she is faced with. In order for a multicultural education to be effective, there needs to be a combination of challenges that takes into consideration the assets and disabilities each student may or may not bring into the classroom. According to James A.
Banks from the Center for Multicultural Education, “Multicultural education is an idea, an educational reform movement, and a process (Banks, 1997). Banks identified multicultural education in five dimensions: “content integration, the knowledge construction process, prejudice reduction, an equity pedagogy, and an empowering school culture and social structure” (Banks, 1995a). “The knowledge construction process describes how teachers help students to 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). An empowering school culture and social structure is created when the culture and organization of the school are transformed in ways that enable students from diverse racial, ethnic, and gender groups to experience equality and equal status. The implementation of this dimension requires that the total environment of the school be reformed, including the attitudes, beliefs, and action of teachers and administrators, the curriculum and course of study, assessment and testing procedures, and the styles and strategies used by teachers. (Banks, 1996) In my opinion, some steps required to make a multicultural classroom effective are the following: 1. Each student must have the opportunity to be treated equally in order to achieve his or her goals in a classroom. 2. No matter the differences in a classroom, a teacher must be prepared to ease learning for every individual student, no matter how culturally different or similar from him or herself it may be. 3. All members of the faculty must take an active role in the educational process of students.
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This includes books, educational processes, the school counselor, discipline and other methods. 4. The school must be personally responsible to end all types of brutality and mental or physical anguish within the school walls, in turn parenting socially active aware students. 5. Each teacher should be responsible for creating a multicultural curriculum catered to all students including those with disabilities and obvious challenges. 6. Each multicultural classroom should have a policy statement that encourages and supports diversity. 7.
The staff of every educational institution should reflect ethnic and multicultural backgrounds. The structure of a school that supports multicultural groups can transform the educational process. In will enables students from all backgrounds to experience equality and proper status. Positive activities in the classroom can help alleviate tension surrounded with multicultural differences. Some activities that may help with this tension are important to maintain, and a teacher is above all else required to keep these activities in play to succeed.
A teacher should emphasize openness in his or her classroom, encouraging children to explore their differences and embrace them at the same time. One activity I myself had in school was using real life examples that each child could relate to and understands. Different cultural holidays are a fun way to explore our cultural differences. Each student can be assigned to research and explore a holiday from a different culture.
Then in turn the class can participate in that holiday, to make each other aware of the differences in our views about that certain holiday. Incorporating holidays into the classroom could be done in groups of five; five different holidays for five different groups. Each member of the group can identify the holiday they like the most, or means the most to them and each student can then discuss and research that particular holiday. Another activity that could be implemented into the classroom