There are layers to multiculturalism and its influence on psychological functioning and development of students in the classroom. These layers are made of constructs, helping to define contributing factors, highlight perspectives and better illustrate a continuum of acceptance.
Contributing factors to our diverse population are Americanization, assimilation, nativism, and xenophobia. In Human Differences, Kent Koppleman states Americanization “…encourages immigrants to abandon their heritage and conform to American ways” (Koppelman, 2011). Assimilation, adopting other’s traits (Koppelman, 2011), can be unfavorable if multicultural perspectives are not introduced in curriculum to help further inform. Assimilation and Americanization can be effects from extreme anti-immigrant ideas, like nativism and xenophobia. Nativism occurs when people from a country feel threatened by immigrants causing xenophobia, or prejudice against immigrants (Koppelman, 2011).
A practice to combat such views is creating an open climate where “authentic” behaviors and perspectives are allowed (Luneburg & Orstein, 2008). Teaching skilled disagreement, negotiation strategies, can help students to appreciate “multiplicity”, acceptance there is a multitude of perspectives and possible answers (Koppelman, 2011). Relativism can then be attained, as students become more open to the possibility of no absolute (Koppelman, 2011).
Culturally aware students can move up a continuum of acceptance. Tolerance is met when students are aware of differences and minimalization can then be realized by emphasizing human qualities verses origins (Koppelman, 2011). Last, students can become “understanding”, accepting differences without judgment (Koppelman, 2011).
As educators we need proactive curriculum, so students gain better insight into the world around them. Ignoring diversity is harmful to learning and to students’ attitudes. Human diversity is advantageous when valued by...