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6 Ways to Implement a Real Multicultural Education in the Classroom – The Edvocate

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Most American citizens are proud of our “melting pot” status. After all, how many of us refer to ourselves as one ethnicity or another, and not just an “American”? It is a source of familial pride for us. Even African Americans, who do not always have an Ellis Island story in the family true, find collective strength in the stories of their ancestors and what it means for their lives today.

While this blending of cultures can most definitely be a blessing—it can also be a curse. With more diversity than ever, teachers have to adjust methods from one student to the next, and from one year to the next. Multicultural education is about more than a classroom with varied skin color – it includes careful examination of the neighborhoods, parenting styles and general experiences that shape each and every K-12 student.

In this article, I want to take a look at several ways to encourage a real multicultural education in our schools.

In the last century, there has been an increase in global mutual acceptance of opposing views and different cultures – though arguably, there is still a long way to go. Specifically when it comes to America, it is crucial that multicultural education exist with the increasing number of students who speak a second language and come from somewhere else. Diversity exists even within mainstream society and students need to have the communication life skills that multicultural education promotes.

In other words, multicultural education cannot be taught in a textbook. It must be developed by each educator based on a particular student group.

While book knowledge about diverse cultural groups can come in handy to a certain extent when designing lesson plans and educational materials, one of the most important reasons for truly learning about the cognitive patterns of cultural groups is so that the interpersonal attitudes and behaviors of diverse students can be effectively interpreted in terms of the culture that they’re entrenched in.  Traditional teaching environments force students from those and other groups to modify their thought and behavior patterns to fit standard European-American norms or else face academic and behavioral consequences.  In a culturally responsive classroom, the onus is instead placed on the instructor to learn about and adapt to the cultural intricacies of the students that they teach.

There are tons of ways that educators can approach multiculturalism in K-12 classrooms but the first step is recognizing its importance.

How do you adjust to and promote multiculturalism in your classrooms?

This content was originally published here.

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