[Original date posted: 9/28/2011]
I’ve heard about the idea of multicultural education and understood it on a surface level for a while. However, it wasn’t until reading the interview with Dr. James A. Banks on Multiculturalism’s 5 Dimensions. (unfortunately I don’t really have any citation data).
Here is a breakdown of the 5 dimensions. These are all ideas directly from Dr. Banks. Any of my personal connections are put in [brackets] and italicized:
- Content integration–this is where many teachers stop. It is use of multicultural literature (literature with voices representing different races, ethnicities, identities, etc. It’s crucial, but multicultural ed. does not stop here)
- Knowledge construction–“teachers help students to understand, investigate, and determine the implicit cultural assumptions and frames of reference and perspectives of the discipline they’re teaching. In other words, we help kids understand.” [Differentiated instruction!]
- Equity pedagogy–“teachers change their methods to enable kids from diverse racial groups and both genders to achieve.” This includes cooperative groups, simulations, role-playing, discovery. [But maybe instead of ‘both’ genders, maybe ‘all’ or something more inclusive. The idea of gender and identity is constantly evolving and only mentioning two genders does a great disservice to individuals who may not identify wholly with one or the other]
- Prejudice Reduction–“all educators should use methods to help kids develop more positive racial attitudes.”
- Empowering school culture and social structure–Educators should examine: group and labeling practices, disproportionality in achievement, who participates in sports and interaction of the school staff.
Dr. Banks believes that there are three main things teachers need to teach:
- To know
- To care
- To act
The only one I might consider including is “to question” between “to know” and “to care”. Dr. Banks has helped me further define my own personal teaching philosophy.
For more resources, see Social Justice/Multiculturalism