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Multicultural Harmony in a Public Classroom

racial harmony, race, students, approaches, learning, cultural, society, public, racial beliefs

In a public school environment, there are often clashes amongst children due to differing personality traits, belief and value systems, and cultural identity. Sadly, there are many issues surrounding the problem with multicultural and racial harmony in the public classroom and this is something that is often left up to the teacher, when searching for a resolution. Quite often the problem stems from a lack of knowledge about another culture and when this is the core problem it is easier for the teacher to introduce ideas about another culture into the classroom.

Once children are educated on the differences among various ethnic groups, and culturally oriented societies, the problem that previously existed normally reverses itself.

Obviously there are a number of approaches to overcoming adversity in the classroom, due to these types of sociological issues. A teacher can introduce the theory of cultural democracy into the classroom in order to be able to answer students questions concerning moral and ethical issues of other cultures, as well as incorporate a historic relevance of multiple cultures in order for students to be able to appreciate one another’s personal identity’s and belief systems better. However, Dardy states that this type of philosophy is hard for teachers to do unless they utilize an intensive study program meant for themselves as well (Dardy 1991, p.99).

Once a teacher study’s the diversity found within his or her classroom then they will be able to provide a better interpretation to all of the students with a self assuredness that they are coming across with a strong knowledge of the different ethnicities themselves.

Furthermore, it is almost impossible for a teacher to follow along the strict guidelines of a set curriculum when it comes down to trying to find a natural peace and balance among students of different ethnicities. It is best to allow for an exploration into this area so that the learning experience for all the students in the classroom can be kept in with the focus of real life activities, in the real environment so that the students have a true and fundamental sense of the various aspects different cultural identities represent (Dardy 1991, p.100).

A teacher can not really bring a true sense of rationalization into the concept of multicultural harmony in the classroom by simply using textbooks. It takes more communication amongst each other and an effort to try and understand one another’s differences, rather than simply reading about different cultures in a history book. Another way in which a teacher can bring harmony into the presence of a multicultural classroom is by performing a fun but experimental exercise using blanketing statements. What the blanketing statements will do is show the youth’s how making inaccurate judgments, about another group of people is harsh and often inaccurate. By performing an exercise such as this, students can thoroughly talk with one another and come to an understanding of how ideas about other ethnicities are really misconstrued and nine times out of ten don’t hold any validity to them whatsoever.

It is a good idea to start processes like this at an early age in the public class room because it has been determined that children are more open to learning about multicultural ideas in their younger years. They are more open to the theorization of it and willing to take it into account in their interactions among other students of different backgrounds (Manning 1999, p.82).

It has been found that educators have the ability of teaching new attitudes and ideals to their students, in relation to ethnic groups that might be from the Middle East, or even Japan. Teachers can use the idea of role playing to exemplify on what they are trying to relate to their students. They can show how the wrong interpretation is gained about a person simply by how they dress, their skin color, hair texture, and their assumed belief system. By interacting with one another in the classroom through role playing, it gives deeper insight into how the victim of racial abuse feels. It also allows the other students to see how their ideas could be all wrong and therefore allows them to have the opportunity to learn the truth about their other classmates and their individual culture and ethnic beliefs (Manning 1999, p.82).

Manning’s article details that issues of fairness, equality, and justice can be introduced by using an exercise titled, “a can of worms” (Manning 1999, p.82). How this works is the teacher places controversial statements into a can that the students draw from. From this, the students can choose to begin a discussion on the statement or simply write in their personal journals about how they view the topic at hand. This also allows students to see that some statements expressed are the sole idea of the person who wrote them and not necessarily true at all. This exercise brings harmony because it allows for various interpretations to be acknowledged so that a clearer understanding of one another can develop.

These exercises that have been mentioned thus far urge the students to delve deeper into the cultural history of one another. It is good because they don’t feel forced or coerced into doing so, it is strictly voluntary and of their own choosing. Some of the exploratory topics that come to light through these types of learning experiences in the classroom are, a culture’s history, traditions, and customs; an exploration into various challenges facing those of different cultural backgrounds in foreign countries (such as African Americans in Britain, etc), immigration patterns, and art and dance of multiple cultures (Manning 1999, p.82). It all becomes very interesting and exciting for the students to learn so many things that they thought they knew but really had the wrong idea all along. This whole philosophy promotes true harmony among races in the classroom and prevents a student from feeling isolated or picked on due to their ethnicity and cultural background.

In conclusion, multicultural educational experiences promote positivism to diverseness in society. It promotes acceptance of one another regardless of race, sex, color, cultural orientation, etc. It is definitely a process that the whole of society would do well to participate in, to provide not just harmony in a multicultural context inside of the classroom, but in society as well.




References

Darder, Antonia (1991). “Culture and Power in the Classroom: A Critical Foundation for Bicultural Education”. Bergin-Garvey Publications, New York Westport, Connecticut London

Manning, Lee (1999).Developmentally Responsive Multicultural Education for Young Adolescents. Childhood Education. Volume72, Issue2, pg.82
Published: 2006-04-12
Author: Misty Keith

About the author or the publisher
Misty Keith is a wife and mother of three. She has been published in many venues on the web, as well as one print publication. Currently she works for clients, assisting them with academic papers of all genres. She can write in non-fiction, fiction, horror, romance, inspirational, motivational; basically all creative styles are a familiarity for her. Creativity and Inspirational are her favorite styles.



Misty Keith
statesidewife33@aol.com

www.writesight.com/writers/Statesidewife33/index.php#bio

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