Multiculturalism in Education Argumentative Essay
- Should religious symbols be allowed in American schools? What are religious symbols and what are religious requirements? Dress codes? Gender issues?
There has been a heated debate concerning religious symbols in the American schools for some time now. Allowing religious symbols to be used in schools can trigger conflicts. Since the major goal of multicultural education “is to reform the school and other educational institutions so that students from diverse racial, ethnic, and social-class groups will experience educational equality” (Banks 3). Religious symbols tend to discriminate against children who do not subscribe to the dominant religion within the school. Religious symbols within schools include specific routines and dress codes.
Religious requirements encompass baptism, oaths and many other unique aspects comprising religious practices of any given denomination. Such requirements are discriminatory in nature, for they may lock out children from different religious backgrounds. Dress codes refer to a particular manner of dressing which reflects ideals of a certain religious denomination. For example, Muslim girls wear hijabs. Such discriminative symbols are less helpful in a multicultural school setting. A multicultural educational program should eliminate prejudice among students (Banks 6). Such stereotypes related to race, ethnic extraction, religious affiliation, and socio-economic backgrounds can impact the learning progress of students.
- Given that a multicultural educational philosophy suggests that offering educational assignments that provide a view of many cultures rather than just our own is beneficial for students and society how can educators do this naturally?
It is a fact that offering educational assignments, which embrace many cultures, is beneficial to both the student and society. A teacher can achieve this through a number of ways. The teacher may adopt equity pedagogy that is sensitive to the needs of a multi-cultural class. The teacher could adopt approaches and interventions that would help the students from disadvantaged backgrounds (Banks 7). For instance, the choice of technology to use in class should reflect the learners’ exposure to such gadgets like computers and projectors. Due to poverty some learners may not have the exposure to such technology; hence, they may be disadvantaged in case the teacher opts to use them. Therefore, the teacher should select the most appropriate teaching aids, technology, and illustrations to use in class. The instructor could as well provide content that accommodates the needs of the diverse student population. The teacher could opt to edit the content to eliminate racial, ethnic, or religious bias in class. Students may feel neglected if the teacher focuses on content that only highlights the positive aspects of the “other groups.” For instance, the instructor could opt to cite examples of places and prominent people in society from different parts of the world to avoid being viewed as biased. For example, a teacher can cite examples of prominent Americans from different racial backgrounds. Acknowledging the contributions of celebrities and other personalities from multicultural backgrounds towards improving the lives Americans can instills a sense of inclusivity among Americans.
- We’re all familiar with the “Days” method, where each month or week here is an activity specifically devoted to recognizing and celebrating a specific culture, but is there a better way?
The “Days” method helps to enhance harmony among students by promoting equality in the society. However, schools and other institutions of learning could encourage inclusivity through holding consistent programs which celebrate different cultures. Teachers could offer “positive regard and acceptance to the students” as a way of encouraging inclusivity in the school (Anctil 84). By being sincere and genuine in their approach to handling their students, teachers can develop friendly environments that accommodate the needs of students from different backgrounds. Teachers must be aware of the different racial feelings among the students and actively be involved in creating harmony among students. The teacher who is aware of diverse racial feelings among the children should not act in a manner that seems to divide students based on ethnicity, as “young children are aware of racial differences and their racial attitudes are formed early in life” (Banks 24). Instead, the teacher should provide class examples, demonstrations and teaching aids that do not discriminate against any specific racial and ethnic group. It is thus important for the school to initiate programs and teaching approaches that celebrate diverse racial and ethnic groups rather than set specific days of the week to recognize them. It should not just be formalities, for anyone could tell whether such gestures are genuine or not. More often, weekly or monthly rituals of observing specific days are rarely genuine. But being consistent in the manner in which different groups are treated on daily basis is significant in enhancing harmony in a multicultural school setting.
Banks, James. “Multicultural Education: Historical Development, Dimensions, and Practice.” Review of Research in Education, vol. 19, 1993, pp. 3-49, www.jstor.org/stable/1167339. Accessed 25 March 2019.
Padilla, V. “High Stakes and Accountability as Social Constructs Across Cultures.” Leaving Children Behind: How“Texas-Style” Accountability Fails Latino Youth, edited by Angela Valenzuela, SUNY Press, 2005.