Education In A Culturally Diverse Society – Journal

Education in a Culturally Diverse Society

By Michele Bennett (Winans)

            The history of American education provides a development of the needs for multicultural education. In the many years of social movements, we have seen many reasons for the growth towards more multicultural inclusion. Survival of the 1960’s social reforms will assist in directing our educational communities toward a close reexamination of educational programs and the increasing need for redirection in our teacher preparations for such a change. What will need to be done to be prepared for the next change in history, multicultural education?

            Social movements of the 1960’s gave attention to the need for changes in our education systems with regards to equality in education. Civil rights pushed our society towards some forms of equality but now we have greater issues because of the increase in other cultural groups in the United States. These movements were a mere stepping stone towards the changes that are now needed towards an overall multicultural education curriculum. The goals of our education systems are to provide all children with an equal educational opportunity. This has not always been the case, yet we are making great strides toward being inclusive to all students. Our countries educational community recognizes a natural pattern of progression to incorporate a positive attitude about developing a strong multicultural education system at this time in history.

            We can go as far to describe the United States as a cultural landscape because we have so many different cultures, ethnics, and religious groups making up our culturally diverse society. We have always been referred to as the ‘melting pot’ and even more so now with such a diverse society. Never before in history have we had such diversity and genuine opportunities to learn and develop knowledge of such cultures. With these new diversities comes the responsibility of educating all people with educational equality. Included with this responsibility are required changes in our methods of thinking and approaching education in such a way that all people are respected. More intercultural understanding and an awareness of social and global knowledge will need to be actively incorporated into our educational curriculums. Not only is knowledge of other cultures required but also creative and critical thinking will be developed to create new policies involving equalities in multicultural education.  Change in our school history has not been that easy because not all people or even educators have been open to changes.

            An educator must be trained to recognize, accept, and even value the cultural differences of their new students. Educators will have to be able to overcome obstacles involved with cultural diversities. Beliefs will need to be incorporated into their educational philosophies that all students are able to learn regardless of their gender, social class, and ethnic or cultural diversities. Our school systems need to make strides towards creating more equality in our schools with some positive feedback from teachers and students. A possible step towards the change to multicultural education is recognizing our own biases, prejudices, and assumptions about other cultures in the world around us. As educators, we will need to attend some further training about diversities and the development of positive attitudes regarding multicultural education and its connection to some peace and harmony amongst our differing cultures.

            All people deserve to be educated on equal terms. Even though our educational system has developed through time to include many situations, and they may not be completely prepared to completely change over to a multicultural education curriculum, we are making progress toward this phase in our history of American education. Professional development training of future educators as well as present educators will certainly move us towards a possible acceptance of multicultural education.  Let us look to the future with eyes wide open and also with our minds completely open. Our world is changing, so let us as educators embrace our opportunity to educate the world.