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Pros and Cons of Multicultural Education

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With all these innovations in technology, we became a globalized world. We live in a multicultural and pluralistic society so we need to teach and pass values to our children to be unified and lessen the prejudices or misconceptions. But to achieve success, we should start at an early age. Students come from various family backgrounds and it is through their secondary socialization which is the school, that they meet peers of different cultural backgrounds. Schools are the ideal surroundings where students can socialize and exchange their different viewpoints and ideas. . According to Dr Spiteri, Multicultural education is about awareness and knowledge achievement, embrace other cultures and people. (Dr Damian Spiteri,2020)

Vassallo emphasized that multicultural should not be seen as a difficult challenge but as a vital tool to lessen social barriers by indorse mutual values and principles. ( Vassallo,2017) From my own experience, One of the most important effective things to embrace multicultural education is peer-tutoringEventhough we live in the 21st Centruy, the Maltese society has different attitudes regarding different nationalities. For instance, we still discriminate and prejudice certain ethnicities such as African people but accept Italian, Romanians and Bulgarians. By discovering and bring about successful interactions between young children, multicultural education will progress.

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Multiculturalism is being enforced upon us which is resulting in different According to Banks, the aim of multicultural is when all students from different diverse groups experience equity educational opportunities. (Banks & Banks, 2009).

When implementing successful strategies of multicultural education, students will function effectively. (Banks, 1995). Today’s classrooms are rich in social diversity and offer very challenging situations. I feel that teachers were not well prepared in dealing with all these never-ending changes. According to Bigelow, the aim of multicultural education is that of endorsing equal opportunities for all and to invest in people to make the world a better home. (Bigelow,1993). The vital goal of multicultural education is to support progressively the renovation of society and try to embrace the social justice and equity.

Policies

The National Minimum Curriculum Framework 2012, together with the new Policy, A National Inclusive Educational Framework 2019, promotes multicultural education. Such policies will eventually help to enrich effective services and adjust to the needs of these students.

Characteristic of migrants

People from different countries bring different cultures and traditions so cultural diversity will occur. Diversity does not help to lessen racism and discrimination. We need to construct a culture that by embracing diversity, people will learn about other societies, and will start to appreciate others.

There are different characteristics of migrations such as International, Internal and Forced Migration.

1.International Migrants: According to the (OHCHR) international migrant is when an individual who moves outside their home country and settles in another country for more than 1 year.

2.Internal Migration

When people move within the state but with the aim to find better education better economic situation or due to natural disasters. An example of this is what happened recently in Australia.

3.Forced Migration: This is an uncontrolled type and very dehumanizing as the individual doesn`t have any choice due to human or environmental factor such as race, religion, battles, politics and social groups. Jay Weinstein and Vijayan Pillai define forced migration, when a person is forces against their will and due to external factors. (Jay Weinstein and Vijayan Pillai,2001)

Banks have identified 5 dimensions of multicultural education. These are:

1. Content integration:

Content integration is when teachers include a variety of materials, notions and principles from a variety of cultures in teaching. Banks and Banks (2009) also states that some subjects are more appropriate for incorporating the content than others. Especially during Social Studies or History, teachers have plenty of opportunities to enhance and integrate multiculturalism. In Malta, we have already incorporated this dimension but we need to move forward. (Nieto, 1994). Many textbooks are outdated and teachers use worksheets instead of textbooks. Educators need to promote positive attitudes and involve them in various activities and group work.

2.Equity pedagogy

This refers to when educators implement different resources and apply differentiated learning and teaching. The students will learn from each other. By using different teaching styles, the educator is reaching students. This can include creative writing,, group work and class discussions. According to Banks et al, effective teaching of diverse students must comprise two key aspects that are culturally approachable instructions and supporting educational setting. (Banks, 1993; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Reyes-Blanes & Daunic, 1996). The technology could easily help the enrichment of equitable nation

2. Prejudice Reduction

Prejudicing others is at the heart of the Maltese society. Education is the first place where teachers are trying to cultivate positive attitudes in children. I feel that Maltese society is still a long way to go to eliminate this mentality as we are afraid of losing our identity. By applying the correct interventions to lessen prejudice would lead to an ultimate goal. Adolescent prejudice is very real, and kids come to school with prejudices toward different groups. Teachers and parents need to be sensitive to this. All educators should use methods to help kids develop more positive racial attitudes.

3. Knowledge construction

The knowledge construction development helps teachers to understand, investigate, and determine how the implied cultural potentials, frames of references, viewpoints, and preferences within a self-restraint that affect how knowledge is built within it (Banks, An introduction to multicultural education, 2002) The reality is that teaching different perceptions and multicultural education is very challenging. The educators can go on some societal issues happening around us on racism and prejudice ask students about their opinions and perspectives. Educators can help students to become critical thinkers.

4. Empowering school culture

The last dimension of multicultural education is empowering school culture and social structure which means how to make school culture more equitable. To empower school culture we must: enhance positively affecting approaches and make school rules more equitable; tailored programs according to students’ needs such as applying different assessment techniques and creating the norm among the school staff that all students can learn regardless of their cultural background.

Culturally responsive schools and teaching

Through in-service training, cope sessions, team building activities and conferences, all educators will eventually learn how to deal with their discomfort show empathy, provide support and understand better the students with different cultural backgrounds. According to Boler, it can also create confidence which involves coping skills. (Boler,2004).

1.Positive Perspective on parents. integrations between teachers and parents are very important as they will create a unified collaboration and provide support in the educational system. parents’ help in recognizing the right and significant goals and activities for family involvement in multicultural education is the first step. Teachers need to involve parents as much as possible such as creating meetings and focuses on the curriculum, create events where they can share multicultural information with parents.. According to Banks, research, children’s practices are powerful in influencing their cultural credentials (Banks, 1993). Children begin their improvement of self-understanding at birth and this is built from experiences with others, (Rossi & Rossi, 1990). According to Banks et al, Strategies that will enhance multicultural learning are parent education and support, school-family curriculum activities, and teacher-parent collaboration (Banks, 1993; Swick & Graves, 1993).

2. Communication of high expectation

According to Rist, by communicating high expectations, students will develop their self- concept. (Rist,1971). When students feel a safe and comfortable environment, they will increase their motivation and enhance communication success.

3. Learning within the context of culture

Many foreign students, struggle in classrooms and the learning process as they feel disengaged from learning due to language barrier. All people learn in different ways and have different expectations. According to Sheets, when students are from minority cultures, they may feel pressures and deny themselves of their cultural views and norms to integrate into the majority culture. This can interfere with their emotional and cognitive development and result in school failure. (Sheets, 1999).

By enhancing, cooperative learning, implement role-plays and group works, apply research projects and use UDL by giving different means of representations, students will reach their full potential.

4.Culturally mediated instruction

When people integrate and shares different ways of learning styles, thoughtful and expressive information, education and learning take place in a safe environment that encourages multicultural viewpoints and allows for the inclusion of knowledge that is relevant to the students. Learning can happen anywhere and at anytime. According to Nieto, to have active participants students in their learning, they must be allowed to learn in different ways and hare their perspectives based on their own cultural and social experience. (Nieto,1996). According to Hollins, culturally mediated instruction offers the best educational settings for all students. (Hollins,1996). This may help to lessen inappropriate behavior from students when they feel burned out such as others don`t understand their needs.

5.Student-centred instruction This is a very different approach to traditional teaching. Teachers planning should begin with the student in mind that allows students to actively participate in their learning. In a student-centered classroom, the focus of activity is the student.

6. Reshaping the curriculumà in Twenty-first-century learners are facing huge challenged as they need to try to obtain the cognitive skills needed for self-regulating and critical learning, and become computer cultured. The curriculum needs to be incorporated and meaningful. by promoting: inquiry-based learning, diversifying lessons, creating a shared learning environment, encourage real, active and engaged learning, creating a safe environment, enhance autonomous learning. We cannot forget that the new policy “ Route for inclusion” emphasizes that education must be available and accessible to all learners. (MEDE,2019).

5. Teacher as a facilitator

Today we are focusing on students to get involved in their learning. First, teachers must adjust to a new way of teaching. The teacher should provide resources, monitors progress by continuous assessment and encourages students to problem-solve. Teachers must teach students to accomplish their education. When educators find ways how to shift to facilitated learning, students become more motivated in the classroom and will disturb less.

According to Hefflin et al, a qualitative teacher makes her utmost to endorse different strategies and one of these aspects is the child` values. (Hefflin, 2002; Linek, Fleener, Fazio, Raine, & Klakamp, 2003; Seidl & Friend, 2002).

Conclusion

Even though we are living in the 21st century, multicultural education is still a big challenge and people struggle for equity. Individuals are shaped up both from home, school and by society. It is a worrying situation that even though we consider ourselves as open-minded citizens and have a tolerant perspective towards diversity and multiculturalism, we are still lacking integration. To have a successful, equitable, and holistic multicultural society, schools need to make more effort to embrace diversity. Bigelow (1993) states that to try to make the students vision enduring, students must be given the chance to activate their idealistic dreams. Multicultural education should not marginalize people but should lead to become united. Every participant should participate. An important goal to embrace multicultural education is to lessen the struggles related to diversity and increase the educational opportunities and potentials to reach our goal.  

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