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The Importance of Multicultural Education Geneva Gay


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Title: The Importance of Multicultural Education Geneva Gay

The Importance of Multicultural EducationGeneva
An e-presentation by Brenda Dillon and Celia Kim
Canada's experience with diversity distinguishes
it from most other countries. Our 30 million
inhabitants reflect a cultural, ethnic and
linguistic makeup found nowhere else on earth.
Approximately 200,000 immigrants a year from all
parts of the globe continue to choose Canada,
drawn by its quality of life and its reputation
as an open, peaceful and caring society that
welcomes newcomers and values diversity.
(Canadian Heritage, 2004, Jan. 20)
Two-thirds of Canada's population growth over the
past five years was fuelled by immigrant
newcomers, according to the 2006 census data
released Tuesday. Canada saw its native-born
populace climb by a modest 400,000 souls between
2001 and 2006. It was the addition of 1.2 million
immigrants that helped push the country's
enumerated population total to 31.6 million.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007 0928 AM ET CBC NEWS
  • What is Multicultural Education?
  • Why is Multicultural Education important?
  • Conceptions of Multicultural Education
  • Multiculturalism in the Curriculum
  • Connections to Classroom Teaching
  • Some Current Instructional Activities in Canada

What is Multicultural Education?
"Multicultural education is a field of study and
an emerging discipline whose major aim is to
create equal educational opportunities for
students from diverse racial, ethnic,
social-class, and cultural groups. One of its
important goals is to help all students to
acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills
needed to function effectively in a pluralistic
democratic society and to interact, negotiate,
and communicate with peoples from diverse groups
in order to create a civic and moral community
that works for the common good." (Banks Banks,
1995, p. xi)
What is Multicultural Education?
  • A progressive approach for transforming education
    that holistically critiques and addresses current
    shortcomings, failings, and discriminatory
    practices in education.
  • It is grounded in ideals of social justice,
    education equity, and a dedication to
    facilitating educational experiences in which all
    students reach their full potential
  • Multicultural education acknowledges that schools
    are essential to laying the foundation for the
    transformation of society and the elimination of
    oppression and injustice.

The Importance of Multicultural Education
Geneva Gay believes that as the challenge to
better educate underachieving students
intensifies and diversity among student
population expands, the need for multicultural
education grows exponentially. (320)
The Importance of Multicultural Education
Multicultural Education is essential in allowing
all students to reach their full potential as
learners and as socially aware and active beings,
locally, nationally, and globally.
Gay believes that the demographics, social
conditions and political circumstances in
multicultural education have important
implications for educators. But why the
difficulty in implementing Multicultural
Conceptions of Multicultural Education
Obstacle 1 Multicultural education is not a
central part of the regular curriculum.
Educators have relegated it primarily to social
studies, language arts, and the fine arts and
have generally targeted instruction for students
of color (Gay, 316)
Conceptions of Multicultural Education
Consequence Cultures are merely visited in a
curriculum dictated by months or seasons of the
year. e.g. Native Americans during Thanksgiving,
Chinese during Chinese New Year
These attitudes distort multicultural education
and make it susceptible to sporadic and
superficial implementation (Gay, 316)
Conceptions of Multicultural Education
Obstacle 2 Teachers and educators do not see the
value of multicultural education.
Another obstacle lies with teachers themselves.
Many are unconvinced of its worth and its value
in developing academic skills and building a
unified community. (Gay, 316)
Conceptions of Multicultural Education
Consequence Academic success denied to students
of color. Lack of preparation for democratic
citizenship in a pluralistic society.
As disparities in educational opportunities and
outcomes among ethnic groups continue to grow,
the resulting achievement gap has reached crisis
proportions (Gay, 316)
A fallacy underlies these conceptions and the
instructional behaviors that they generate (316)
Fallacy Multicultural Education should be taught
as a separate subject.
The perception of multicultural education as
separate content that educators must append to
existing curriculums as separate lessons, units,
or courses. (Gay, 316)
Truth Multicultural Education is an approach
that promotes education that is multicultural
In its comprehensive form, it must be an
integral part of everything that happens in the
education enterprise. (Gay, 316)
Truth Multicultural education can assist society
in being more tolerant, inclusive, and equitable,
recognizing that the whole is rich with many
contributing parts.
Teachers need to use multicultural education to
promote such highly valued outcomes as human
development, education equality, academic
excellence, and democratic citizenship. (Gay,
Multiculturalism in the Curriculum
Gay suggests that high quality educational
experiences will not exist if some ethnic groups
and their contributions to the development of
history, life, and culture are ignored or
Multiculturalism in the Curriculum
The curriculum virtually overlooks the
contributions of the many ethnically diverse
people. School curriculums need to reverse these
trends by including equitable representations of
diversity (Gay, 318)
Multiculturalism in the Curriculum
A key factor in establishing educational
relevance for these students is cultural
similarity and responsiveness (Gay, 319)
Multiculturalism in the Curriculum
In order to establish educational relevance for
students of color, instruction must include
content about the cultures and contribution of
many ethnic groups. (Gay, 320)
Multiculturalism in the Curriculum
Through the teaching practice of cultural
similarity and responsiveness (319), Gay
believes that students will perform more
successfully on all levels (320).
Multiculturalism in the Curriculum
Students perform more successfully on all levels
where there is greater congruence between their
cultural backgrounds and such school experiences
as task interest, effort, academic achievement,
and feelings of personal efficacy and
accountability. (320)
Connections to the Classroom
  • James A. Banks' Dimensions of Multicultural
    Education is used widely by school districts to
    conceptualize and develop courses, programs, and
    projects in multicultural education.
  • The five dimensions are
  • content integration
  • (2) the knowledge construction process
  • (3) prejudice reduction
  • (4) an equity pedagogy and
  • (5) an empowering school culture and social

Content Integration
Content integration deals with the extent to
which teachers use examples and content from a
variety of cultures and groups to illustrate key
concepts, principles, generalizations, and
theories in their subject area or discipline. The
infusion of ethnic and cultural content into a
subject area is logical and not contrived when
this dimension is implemented properly. Make the
conscious effort to include various ethnic and
cultural groups within the context of core
curricula rather than as an addition throughout
the year. For example, many primary classroom
teachers use snow as a core integrated theme
during the winter months.
Prejudice Reduction
The prejudice reduction dimension of
multicultural education seeks to help students
develop positive and democratic racial attitudes.
It also helps students to understand how ethnic
identity is influenced by the context of
schooling and the attitudes and beliefs of
dominant social groups. Ask yourself if there
are children in your class who are marginalized
by other children. If so, why? Ask yourself what
you can do to eliminate the problem. Our students
look to us for reinforcement. Your positive
interaction matters.
Equity Pedagogy
An equity pedagogy exists when teachers modify
their teaching in ways that will facilitate the
academic achievement of students from diverse
racial, cultural, socioeconomic, and language
groups. This includes using a variety of teaching
styles and approaches that are consistent with
the range of learning styles within various
cultural and ethnic groups, such as being
demanding but highly personalized when working
with American Indian and Native Alaskan students.
It also includes using cooperative learning
techniques in math and science instruction to
enhance the academic achievement of students of
Knowledge Construction
The knowledge construction process describes
teaching activities that help students to
understand, investigate, and determine how the
implicit cultural assumptions, frames of
references, perspectives, and biases of
researchers and textbook writers influence the
ways in which knowledge is constructed. Multicultu
ral teaching involves not only infusing ethnic
content into the school curriculum, but changing
the structure and organization of school
knowledge. It also includes changing the ways in
which teachers and students view and interact
with knowledge, helping them to become knowledge
producers, not merely the consumers of knowledge
produced by others.
Empowering School Culture and Social Structure
This dimension involves restructuring the culture
and organization of the school so that students
from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and
language groups experience equality. Members of
the school staff examine and change the culture
and social structure of the school. Grouping and
labelling practices, sports participation, gaps
in achievement among groups, different rates of
enrolment in gifted and special education
programs among groups, and the interaction of the
staff and students across ethnic and racial lines
are important variables that are examined and
Canadian Education Trend Report Anti-racism and
Multicultural Education Current Instructional
Activities in Canada
  • Federal
  • PCH published a Resource List of educational
    materials in 1998. PCH has published two
    teacher's guides (1 2) as part of the March 21
  • The Public Service Commission published a
    comprehensive listing on resources on diversity
    in 1998.
  • The Western Canadian provinces and territories
    have established a shared set of learning
    outcomes for aboriginal education and on heritage
    languages. The Western Canadian Protocol on
    shared learning outcomes in includes a section on
    aboriginal perspectives.
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada has sponsored
    a web site with a collection of educational
    resources depicting the historical contribution
    of Canadas many diverse cultures.
  • PCH has funded a research project into Canadian
    secondary school curricula and cultural
    differences (Blades, Johnson Simmt, University
    of Alberta).
  • PCH has funded research into the effectiveness of
    human rights education on changing youth
    attitudes and beliefs (Covell Howe, University
    College of Cape Breton).
  • PCH has funded research on how to integrate
    antiracist education into teacher education
    programs in universities (Solomon).

Canadian Education Trend Report Anti-racism and
Multicultural Education Current Instructional
Activities in Canada
  • Provincial
  • An optional is offered in Quebec CEGEPs for
    minority students and others to understand the
    diversity of Quebec. The Ontario education
    ministry has authorized additional qualification
    courses for teachers in multiculturalism and in
    teaching aboriginal students. The ministry has
    also published resource guides on religion and
    diversity, the use of the Mohawk language and
    other aboriginal languages.
  • The Manitoba education ministry has an Aboriginal
    Education Directorate that is infusing aboriginal
    perspectives into all Manitoba curricula,
    promotes the Native Studies program, offers
    summer professional development institutes, has
    published a bibliography of educational resources
    on aboriginal education, a bibliography of
    educational resources on anti-racist education
    and on Black History, Conflict Resolution,
    multicultural library services, the holocaust,
    human rights, multicultural perspectives in math,
    and collections of resources in multicultural
    education and native studies. The ministry has
    also established policy guidelines on ESL
    instruction at all grade levels and published
    resource guides for teaching German and Spanish.
    More recently, the Manitoba ministry has
    announced new distance education courses in
    international languages, and published online
    bibliographies on Spanish education. The ministry
    maintains several different sections of its
    website that are relevant to multicultural/antirac
    ist education.

Canadian Education Trend Report Anti-racism and
Multicultural Education Current Instructional
Activities in Canada
  • Provincial (Continued)
  • The Saskatchewan education ministry requires that
    multicultural aspects be integrated within its
    social studies curriculum. As well, respect for
    other cultures is part of the Common Essential
    Learnings that guide all curricula in the
    province., including Language Arts, Art
    Education, Communications Studies and others.
    Students receive a course credit for
    multicultural education. The ministry offers an
    infused Native Studies program at all grade
    levels with full courses at the senior high
    school level. Similarly, heritage language
    learning is infused at all grade levels and
    senior high school courses are offered.
  • The Alberta education ministry requires that its
    social studies curriculum, family studies
    curriculum address cultural diversity. Respect
    for others and diverse cultures is part of the
    provincial standards of teaching. Alberta offers
    optional senior high courses in Cree and
    Blackfoot and in German, Ukrainian, Japanese and
    Spanish. The ministry has published a discussion
    paper on heritage languages and a policy
    directive on aboriginal education. A guide to ESL
    programs has been published to accompany a
    ministry ESL policy directive. The ministry has a
    policy directive on how schools and teachers
    should deal with controversial issues.

Canadian Education Trend Report Anti-racism and
Multicultural Education Current Instructional
Activities in Canada
  • Provincial (Continued)
  • The BC education ministry requires that
    multiculturalism be addressed across most
    curricula, including history, math, languages
    arts, physical education etc. Each course has an
    appendix that addresses diversity.
    Multiculturalism is required study for all BC
    students. There is a student evaluation component
    that assesses student progress in acquiring the
    knowledge and skills required. The ministry has a
    similar curriculum infusion goal for aboriginal
    education. The ministry authorizes courses in
    Punjabi, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, German. All
    BC students are required to study a second
    language. The BC education ministry has published
    a policy framework on ESL that is supported by
    the development of ESL standards and guidebooks
    for regular teachers and ESL specialists.
  • The BC Safe School Centre maintains a list of
    educational resources on diversity.
  • The BC Community Learning Network, funded by the
    education ministry maintains a list of online
    educational resources.
  • The NWT education ministry is implementing two
    aboriginal language education programs (Inuit and
  • The Yukon education ministry follows the BC
    Native Studies curriculum.

Canadian Education Trend Report Anti-racism and
Multicultural Education Description of Some
Current Activities in Canada
  • NGP
  • The Canadian Council on Multicultural and
    Intercultural Education (CCMIE) has published a
    1999 study on teacher education, is sponsoring a
    youth education report project designed to help
    students with high debt loads, has published a
    list of educational materials available on loan,
    as well as an annotated bibliography of
    educational resources and publishes a journal on
    Multiculturalism. The Saskatchewan Teachers
    Federation has published a listing of educational
  • The Canadian Race Relations Foundation has funded
    the publication of annotated bibliography on
    educational resources.
  • The Bronfman Foundation sponsors heritage fairs
    with students that include multicultural aspects.
  • The Toronto Board of Education published a guide
    for adult educators on antiracist education in

Canadian Education Trend Report Anti-racism and
Multicultural Education Description of Some
Current Activities in Canada
  • NGP (Continued)
  • The BC Teachers Federation has published a task
    force report on aboriginal education and sponsors
    a specialist teachers council.
  • A collection of educational resources in French
    can be found at an antiracism web site sponsored
    by the Bnai Brith.
  • The National Film Board has published a list of
    films and videos.
  • TV Ontario has published a list of resources and
    educational strategies.
  • A list of French language resources and Internet
    sites can be found at a web site hosted by the
    University of Laval.
  • The SchoolNet Grassroots program has funded over
    60 class or school Internet projects that relate
    to multiculturalism.
  • The CSQ in Quebec has published a action guide on
    human rights and has supported antiracist
    education for several years.
  • The Canadian Education Association published a
    review of Heritage Languages in 1993.

Banks, James A. 2001a. Cultural Diversity and
Education Foundations, Curriculum and Teaching,
4th edition. Boston Allyn and Bacon. Banks,
James A. CORTÉS, Carlos E. Gay, Geneva Garcia,
Ricardo L. and Ochoa, Anna S.1991. Curriculum
Guidelines for Multicultural Education.
Washington, DC National Council for the Social
Studies. Gay, Geneva. 2003/2004. The Importance
of Multicultural Education Educational
Leadership 61 30-35 Canadian Heritage. (2004,
Jan. 20). Canadian diversity Respecting our
differences. Multiculturalism. Retrieved April
6, 2007, from lthttp//
spect_e.cfmgt Communities and Schools Promoting
Health. (n.d.). Canadian education trend report
Anti-racism and multicultural education,
description of some current activities in
Canada. Trend reports/News updates. Retrieved
April 6, 2007, from lthttp//www.safehealthyschool