Multicultural Education Essay

1213 words - 5 pages

Multicultural Children’s Literature
Multicultural education must be integrated into the curriculum and focus on the appreciation of all cultures and ethnic differences. Much research has been documented supporting the use of high quality multicultural children’s literature as a powerful medium to develop varying cross-cultural understandings of perspectives concerning cultures, roles, insights, traditions and beliefs (Au, 2001; Callins, 2006; Howrey & Whelan, 2009; Lowery & Sabis-Burns, 2007; Mei-yun, 2007) . Teachers also can use multicultural literature depicting children's worlds as a means to bridge home and school cultures personally as well that of the students. Within Howrey and Whelan’s (2009) research project, utilization of multicultural children’s literature was used to enhance teachers to become culturally responsive educators. “According to Villegas and Lucas (2002), exposure to the literature of different groups can give future teachers access to the rich textures of people’s lives, hopes, aspirations, dreams, disappointments, pains, and joys” (p. 27). Literature can be a powerful vehicle for understanding cultures and experiences different from our own. Howrey and Whelan (2009) research analysis concluded that multicultural children’s literature provides not only “a mirror on one culture and a window to another” for children, but for adults as well. (p. 132).
In parallel, the work of Evans (2010) highlights the use of multicultural literature to address racial, ethnic, and linguistic equality. In this qualitative study, demonstrated that through using an innovative critical literacy practice with multicultural literature, students’ awareness and understanding of others was positively impacted. Over a period of time, many multicultural books were read aloud and displayed within the classroom. The books were selected based up the guidelines established by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Great care was taken to use multicultural books that: avoided stereotypes, portrayed the values and cultural groups in authentic ways, showed people from different cultures working together, emphasized both similarities and differences, broadened children’s visions, invented reflections, and showed multiple and contradictory perspectives. Evans (2010) found that within the use of multicultural literature and activities, students’ cultural awareness, acceptance, respect, empathy, and cultural understanding was heightened. Multicultural literature should represent all groups of students within schools and classrooms in including literature about culture, race, class, language, and ability differences. It is important that teachers share a range of multicultural literature and carefully select books that are anti-biased to the fullest extent possible. As Evans (2010) found, exposure to quality multicultural literature helps children appreciate differences among ethnic groups, develop new perspectives, and eliminate ethnocentrism. It is an...

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