Cultural Diversity In Education Essay

1793 words - 7 pages

About Ohio/Wva schools noneSince early American history, schools, like society, have addressed cultural diversity indifferent ways. In the colonial days, some attempts to adjust to cultural differences were madein the New York colony, but the dominant American culture was the norm in the generalpublic, as well as most of the schools. As America approached the nineteenth century, theneed for a common culture was the basis for the educational forum. Formal public schoolinstruction in cultural diversity was rare, and appreciation or celebration of minority or ethnicculture essentially was nonexistent in most schools. In the 1930's, the educators were in theprogressive education movement, called for programs of cultural diversity that encouragedethnic and minority students to study their heritage's. This movement became popular in manyschools until around 1950. Now, these days in education, the term multicultural educationnever escapes a teacher's thoughts (Ryan, 26).What does the term 'multicultural education' mean to you? I means different things todifferent people. For instance, to some minority communities, it means to foster pride and self-esteem among minority students, like the progressive movement in the 1930's. Anotherexample would be in the white communitites, that multicultural programs are designed tocultivate an appreciation of various cultural, racial, and ethnic traditions. Cortes definesmulticultural education by the process by which schools help prepare young people to live withgreater understanding, cooperation, effectiveness, and dedication to equality in a multiculturalnation and inerdependent world (Cortes, 16).When I observed at Madison Elementary in December, I expected the school wouldbe multicultural in the sense of ethnic or racial backgrounds. Instead, I was very surprised todiscover that the school was predominately white students, with only a handful of AfricanAmerican students in each classroom. I did find out that the Wheeling Island area was in verylow status pertaining to income. Not only did over half of the students receive free or reducedlunch, but the students academic skills were below the national norm. I never realized what aneffect of economic status can affect a student's academic progress. Of course there are outlying factors, the parent involvement was at a minimum because most families consisted of onlyone care taker. To make ends meet the single parent had to spend most of his/her timeworking for money to buy clothes, food, and to keep their children healthy. MadisonElementary had made great strides to improve their efforts to better the students academicprogress. The school had instilled different programs like A-Team, Pre-K classes, ReadingRecovery, various health services, outreach to families, and many more to ensure that thestudents will succeed in their studies.The role of the teacher at Madison is to assist and guide the students through schoolwith smooth transitions. This at times is impossible...

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