Term Paper: Cultural Diversity Multicultural Education Was Developed

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Cultural Diversity

Multicultural Education was developed in the 1960's as a movement whose main purpose was to oppose the past orientation of education towards an assimilation of the ethnic or racial minorities in the mainstream, dominating American culture, and emphasize cultural awareness. It was felt that the tendency towards cultural uniformity does not comply with the essential requirements of democracy, whose main end is to achieve balance in diversity. Therefore, the principal goals of multicultural education are obviously to offer equal opportunities for all the students integrated in the educational process, and also, in its larger scope, to mediate the better functioning of the culturally diverse society, by eradicating stereotypes and promoting a positive attitude towards difference in terms of race or ethnic background. Cortes (1978) evinces a number of goals to be achieved by multicultural education: the ability to understand multiple, diverging, cultural perspectives on values or attitudes, the ability to keep an open mind when confronted with difference, and the ability to take pride in oneself and respect all peoples the other people.

The ways in which these basic goals could be achieved usually form a subject of debate among the specialists. As Burnett (1998) shows, the types of multicultural programs vary: there are content oriented programs, namely those that focus on revising the curriculum so as to include as much information as possible about minority cultures, there are student oriented programs that attempt to increase academic success of some minority groups by paying attention to their special needs but without changing the basic curriculum, and there are, finally, social oriented programs that have a larger compass and usually focus on social activism and the implication of the whole community in the educational process. It is also generally agreed among the specialists that a change is needed not only in the ways of educating, but in the general "school climate and pedagogy," as Ronald C. Tharp suggests. The crucial thing that needs to be considered when attempting the implementation of multicultural education are first of all, the focus on eradicating the stereotypes and myths that are circulated with regard to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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