What is Multicultural Learning?Multicultural Learning is learning that integrates and explores the rich tapestry ofperspectives reflected in our diverse world. It occurs when differences among learners areboth valued and explored. Multicultural Learning recognizes and reaches across boundariesof ability, age, class, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation and other personal,social and cultural identities so that learners will more thoroughly understand the multifaceteddimensions of knowledge.Multicultural Learning re-examines and expands what is taught, and attends to who is in theclassroom and is transparent about why this matters. It embraces the lived experience of thestudents, their families and their communities, connects with concepts of social justice andpower, and teaches students how to investigate and integrate diverse ways of thinking anddoing.Multicultural Learning must be cultivated. Learners need practice and guidance to becomeactive listeners, readers and writers striving to understand what others are saying andmeaning. Sustaining Multicultural Learning involves creating classroom climates in whichstudents and teachers can acknowledge and address the discomfort of working acrossboundaries, learn how to respond to difference, and grow intellectually and personally as aconsequence. To make multicultural learning both possible and effective, instructors muststructure classroom interactions to be respectful and challenging, creative and meaningful,engaged and transformative. In such an environment, inaccuracies, mistakes, hastygeneralizations and intolerance are addressed with honesty and care.Through regular and purposeful interactions that encourage students to reflect on andexplore the implications of diversity and power, Multicultural Learning is education for life inour multicultural world.Written for the Driven to Discover Campaign, April 2008Ilene D. AlexanderCarol Chomsky “Bridging Emotion and Intellect” Jane Fried. College Teaching: Fall 1993.The work of a teacher involves (1) development of critical thinking skills, so that studentsunderstand how to organize data, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and draw conclusions; (2)recognition of meaning attribution and the power that emotions, values, and personalexperience have in shaping ones interpretation of information.The professor, therefore, becomes responsible for teaching students three sets of skills: • first is separating facts from cultural assumptions & beliefs about those facts • second is teaching students how to shift perspective. • third is perhaps the most difficult to learn, that of differentiating between personal discomfort and intellectual disagreement.
Universal Design for InstructionDisability is a difference. Being disabled, in itself, is neutral.Disability derives from the interaction between the individual and society.The remedy is a change in the interaction between the individual and society.The agent of remedy can be the individual, an advocate, etc. Carol Gill, Director Chicago Institute of Disability Research On “the Interactional Model”Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) refers to a teaching process that considers thepotential needs of all learners; it is an inclusive model of teaching and learning. There are anumber of variations of Universal Design, and somewhat different approaches with regard towhat principles comprise good UD. This listing of principles, based on work at the Universityof Connecticut inform our work at the University of Minnesota:The generally recognized principles of Universal Design are: 1. Equitable Use 2. Flexibility in Use 3. Simple and Intuitive 4. Perceptible Information 5. Tolerance for Error 6. Low Physical Effort 7. Size and Space for Approach and Use 8. A community of learners 9. Instructional climateAnd Meaningful Access is sought across four environments: • Physical Environment • Program/Policy Environment • Information Environment • Attitudinal EnvironmentIn all models, UDI begins with good curricular design: identification of clear and measureablelearning objectives, followed by creation of an assessment strategy that is linked to theseoutcomes, and then moves to the formation of teaching and learning activities. This cycle ofdesign begins with a mapping of environmental factors – including generalizations aboutstudents on campus, campus and department expectations of learning, teaching practicesand goals, and learning outcomes expected on and beyond campus. The mapping, in part,calls attention to gaps between what is and what is sought so that these can be attended toin design.
What is Universal Course Design?Adaptation of PDF at http://ecinstructors.wikispaces.umb.edu/file/view/What+is+UCD.pdf and principles of UD from http://udi.uconn.edu.Universal Course Design (UCD) is constructing college courses including course curriculum, instruction, assessment and the environment to beusable by all students, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for accommodations.Faculty Goal: What should all students know and be able to do by participating in this learning experience?Faculty Challenge: High standards and greater student diversity. DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS UDI PRINCIPLES Use in conjunction with Integrated Aligned Design Primary Starting PointsCourse Curriculum• Determine the specific content, skills, and strategies to be learned. 1. Equitable use• Ask the question, “How will the students access the information?” 2. Flexibility in use• Provide flexible media & materials to ensure information access & learning. 3. Simple and intuitive• Motivate & engage the students based on interest, experience & application.Instruction• Provide multiple and flexible methods of presentation. 1. Flexibility in use• Provide multiple models of correct performance, multiple opportunities to practice with 4. Perceptible information supports & flexible opportunities to demonstrate skill. 9. Instructional climate• Provide choices of content and tools, choice of learning context all of which are culturally responsive.Assessment• Create two or more assessment choices for students to choose from to coincide with their 1. Equitable use learning style 5. Tolerance for error• Provide ongoing evaluation of “what is working and what is not.”• Change methods according to the effectiveness & appropriateness of pre-sentation format, expression methods & level of engagement of all students.• Measures a range of student performance across multiple levels.Environment• Create a campus-wide climate that is safe, caring, and nurturing. 6. Low physical effort• Build a personalized learning environment. Teach respect for all learners. 7. Size and space• Use physical space to enhance student participation and engagement. 8. Community of learners• Student-teacher social interactions, classroom climate, and peer group relationships
enhance student learning. EXAMPLES: Suggestions from Early Childhood Instructors’ Wiki RESOURCES: Suggestions from us for Further InformationCourse CurriculumA statistics professor at New Hampshire Community Technical College began his • Developing an Inclusive Curric. http://z.umn.edu/ukinclusivecourse by asking students name their interests. He then incorporated the • Creating an Inclusive Campus: http://z.umn.edu/3h8interests into the statistical data sets he used in class. Students reported beingmore interested in the class and better able to understand how information theylearned applied to their profession.InstructionA family studies professor at the University of Vermont teaching a large lecture • Preparing Future Faculty portal: http://z.umn.edu/ida8101class used to lecture for an hour but noticed that after 20 minutes students’ eyes • Improving web access for learning: http://webaim.org/look dazed and they stopped taking notes. When the mid-term exam scores were • Accessible PowerPoints: http://z.umn.edu/3h9not great he decided to begin providing the class with an outline of session • Connecting: http://z.umn.edu/findingcommongroundconcepts & content. Also, students broke into groups to discuss a particularproblem and then report to the entire class. This strategy increased the level of • Merlot on UCD: http://z.umn.edu/udmerlotengagement in class. Using an MP3 player to audio, he recorded lectures, andafter class put the audio file on the website for students to download. As a resultof this technique, students were better prepared to participate in class.AssessmentAn education professor at Rhode Island College recognized the diverse learning • Accessible Assessments: http://z.umn.edu/assmtstyles in her classroom and decided that a typical final exam would not • Universal Design for Testing: http://z.umn.edu/3haaccurately reflect what students had learned. So, she gave them a choice: take • Universal Design for Assessment: http://z.umn.edu/3hbthe final exam or develop a website in groups of 3 using wikis to reflect what theyhad learned in the class. 65% of the students chose to develop a website, which • Writing & Multilingual Students:they still refer to that site as a resource and she has used it as a resources in http://z.umn.edu/multilingualsubsequent classes.EnvironmentA nursing professor at the UMassachusetts-Boston assigned a small classroom • Multicultural Learning/Teaching: http://z.umn.edu/islandswith rows of chairs does not like the arrangement because it does not permit her • Universal Design for Instruction: http://udi.uconn.edu/to freely interact with all students. She arrives in the classroom a ½ hour early torearrange the chairs into a large circle, equalizing the learning environment for all.Students not only take a more active role in the conversation during the class, but alsoarrive early to help her with the chairs & speak to her about their work.