Ide 650 Research Paper Multicultural Perspective


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Diversity in curriculum and Classroom Research Paper

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Ide 650 Research Paper Multicultural Perspective

  1. 1. Multicultural Perspectives 1 Running head: MULTICULTURAL PERSPECTIVES IN THE CLASSROOM Multicultural Perspectives in the Classroom and Curriculum Tajii R. Nord University of South Alabama
  2. 2. Multicultural Perspectives 2 Abstract Introducing students to a diverse curriculum in higher education has been researched with mixed conclusions. Studies have shown a positive impact on students by addressing, and discussing sensitive issues concerning race relations. In multicultural classes students gain respect and appreciation toward individual differences that’s needed in today’s society. Research has also shown problems with the implementation of a diverse curriculum, and lack of diversity amongst college faculty members. The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss the different studies that considered both the positive and negative aspects of providing a diverse curriculum.
  3. 3. Multicultural Perspectives 3 Diversity means differences and encompasses gender, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, languages, disabilities, and race (Schauber 2001). Diversity for the purpose of this paper will focus primarily on racial and ethnic differences. In reviewing multiple studies, a unifying theme has been identified that multicultural education is needed for students in today’s society. Due to the Civils Rights movement during the late 1960’s multicultural education emerged with lots of promises and little delivery (Howley 2001). Multicultural education is described as promoting strength, equal opportunity, social justice, reducing prejudice, and the distribution of power between members of different ethnicities (“Integrating cultural,” n.d). During the 1960’s and 1970’s diversity planning originated in institutional policies to support affirmative action and equal opportunity for a diverse student body (Iverson 2008). By the year 2050 48% of the United States will be from a minority groups (Williams 2001). The future of our nation to remain productive and prosper depends on our abilities to interact with other countries effectively (Bruce, Weil, and Calhoun 2004). Effectively communicating and working with diverse individuals in the US or abroad is needed for successful working relationships for all individuals. Multicultural classes can properly enrich, inform, and teach to the whole being of all students. Incorporating traditional studies with a diverse curriculum further expands the knowledge base of individuals, producing culturally aware, empathetic, and socially equipped individuals (Humphreys 1998). Multicultural classes provide students with historical knowledge about other cultures, and how to avoid stereotyping (Humphreys 1998). It’s essential for students to not only learn American history, but to be knowledgeable about International diversity (Bucher 2000). Students that have taken multicultural classes have reported their more willing to
  4. 4. Multicultural Perspectives 4 seek out relations with other ethnic groups, are equipped with skills needed in the workforce, can debate sensitive issues fair and objectively, and are prepared to take action against social structural inequalities (Williams 2001). According to Humphreys (1998) students whose professors included racial and ethnic materials during coursework, had an increase level of satisfaction with their college experience. Occidental College in California offers a course called “The History of Human Patterns of Migration, Emigration, and Immigration” informing and preparing students for current immigration challenges. In New Jersey Rowan College offers a course called “Comparative Race Relations: A History of Race Relations in South Africa, Brazil and the United States that develop students cognitive understanding of beliefs, and origins of their cultural attitudes and traditions (Humphreys 1998). Most universities in the U.S offer some form of multicultural classes. Out of 196 colleges surveyed 54% offered multicultural courses, 33% offered ethnic and women’s studies and 34% offered multicultural classes as a general education requirement (Schauber 2001). In 1862 congress passed the Morrill Act to create land-grant universities that provide higher education to all citizens. Historically only the dominant culture benefitted, while minority groups were excluded (Iverson 2008). Colleges may have strategies and plans to reach out and recruit a diverse faculty, and serve a diverse community. Yet, many minority groups still remain underrepresented at many college campuses (Iverson 2008). Change can bring about internal struggle if the organization is not ready to diversify. Some view that improving college diversity plans as a mandate, or fear the unknown challenges and uncertainties (Schauber 2001).
  5. 5. Multicultural Perspectives 5 In a study that analyzed 21 University diversity plans, a common trend was identified. Diversity plans contained language that referenced diverse people as outsiders, at risk for failure after entering college, non tenure, harassed, and discriminated against. Dialogue such as “us” and “them” was identified which further separate diverse individuals from the dominant culture. Assumptive concepts from one view point to be inclusive may work to further exclude a diverse population. Also, the recruitment of a diverse faculty was considered a challenge due to lack of funding and supportive resources (Iverson 2008). A study performed by Schauber (2001) at Oregon State University (OSU) extension program analyzed the organizations readiness to effectively serve a diverse community. In the study 16 organization leaders and 10 faculty members were asked fourteen questions concerning: challenges or benefits of working with diverse groups, to define diversity, and challenges and benefits of their jobs. It was discovered that participants were committed to serving diverse populations, open to diversity training, agreed new approaches to diversify were necessary, able to be creative while working with people, aware that a diversified staff was needed, and that due to an increase in serving a diverse community funding could possible increase (Schauber 2001). Participants expressed some defensive concerns about: cultural and language barriers, workload too strenuous to accommodate a diverse group, pressures of promotion and tenure left little time to promote community relations, lack of funding to hire a diverse staff, and that the organization was not committed to reaching out to diverse groups (Schauber 2001). Uncertainties that participants expressed were: fear of offending cultural groups, concerns of a quota system to service diverse groups, lack of proper cultural educational
  6. 6. Multicultural Perspectives 6 designs, and fear of not communicating effectively (Schauber 2001). The study revealed that faculty members were supportive of serving and hiring a diverse staff, yet due to misconceptions and fears, no further actions were taken for improvement. After reviewing the findings of the study OSU is taking steps in the right direction to improve and implement an effective diversity plan. A diversity committee of 30 people has been formed responsible for staff development, mentoring of staff, revising recruitment procedures, and reviewing the language capacity of staff members (Schauber 2008). OSU is focusing on the positive reasons needed to effectively diversify in a rapidly changing society. In conclusion the different studies, books, and articles all agree that a diverse curriculum that properly prepares students for the global society is imperative. The word minority over the next 40 years will become obsolete (Bruce et al. 2004). The problems that colleges are experiencing are effectively reaching out to a diverse community, and reflecting the diverse cultures via faculty members. Faculty members that are recruited are treated as outsiders and not supported with deficiencies due to cultural differences. University state they lack funding to properly recruit and train diverse faculty members. Implementation of a diverse curriculum from a dominant culture perspective can produce an opposing effect on diverse students further alienating minority groups (Klenowski 2009). If colleges are willing to accept the challenge, invest time, money, train staff, and effectively recruit to better serve their communities, the long term goal to increase funds while increasing their diverse student population can become a reality (Caraballo 2009). As mentioned by Caraballo (2009) being only interested in ethnic food, music, dress, and dance shows a tolerance of multicultural education, but fails to change schools and
  7. 7. Multicultural Perspectives 7 societal power structures. According to the New York Times diversity map of school districts (n.d) in 2006 out of 64,873 students Mobile County ranked third in diversity out of 67 in the state of Alabama. Native Americans are 1%, Asians 2%, Hispanic 1%, Blacks 51%, and Whites 45% of the populations. Since 1998 to 2006 Whites have declined by 8%, Blacks have increased by 6%, Hispanics have increased by 1%, Asians have increased by 1%, and Native Americans show a .5% increase. Providing a platform to service all students to further the growth and development of the United States to function effectively in a diverse world through multicultural education should apply in all educational settings. Creating dialogue and a action plan from many different perspectives to gain insight on an effective diverse curriculum will be a challenge, but is a necessity that colleges cannot afford to ignore.
  8. 8. Multicultural Perspectives 8 Reference Bruce, J., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2004). Gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. In J. Bruce, M. Weil, & E. Calhoun (Eds.), (2004). Models of teaching. (7th ed. , pp. 351-369). Boston: Pearson Education. Bucher, R. (2000). Diversity consciousness. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Caraballo, L. (2009). Interest convergence in intergroup education and beyond: Rethinking agendas in multicultural education. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 11, 1. Diversity in the classroom (n.d). Retrived July 1, 2009 from Howley, C. (2001). Education Research: What Education Leaders Need to Know to Make better Decisions. Retrieved June 15, 2009 from http// Humphreys, D. (1998). Diversity innovations and curriculum changes. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from http// Illinois Community College Board FY 2006 Adult Education and Family Literacy Report to the Governor and General Assembly. Retrieved June 16, 2009 from http// Integrating cultural diversity into the curriculum. (n.d). Retrieved June 7, 2008 from Iverson, S. (2008). Now is the time for change: Reframing diversity planning at land Grant universities. Journal of Extensions 46, 1. Klenowski, V. (2009). Public education matters: Reclaiming public education for the common good in a global era. Australian Educator Researcher, 36(1), 1-25. Lamdin, D. J. (1995). Testing for effect of school size on student achievement within a school district. Education Economics, 3, 33-42 Schauber, A. C. (2001). Talk around the coffeepot: A key to cultural change toward diversity. Journal of Extensions 39, 6. Williams, B. (2001). Accomplishing cross cultural competence in youth development programs. Journal of Extensions 39, 6.
  9. 9. Multicultural Perspectives 9 .