The 1970s gave rise to the initiative of multicultural education right after civil rights movement. The main aim of incorporation of multicultural education into the mainstream education was to help the students belonging from multiple cultures to gel up together. It envisioned helping teachers and students support, learn, appreciate and understand the cultural diversity in depth.
The students who tend to learn in a multicultural environment are able to perform better in various situations and have a better sense of social awareness. The students, who don’t keep up with the advancements and are not able to accept multicultural societies, face resentment and alienation from the rest. It is important to include multicultural education in mainstream education in order to promote an anti-bias working environment in classrooms and workplaces.
THE BENEFITS OF MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION
There are several benefits of multicultural education. Some of which include-
- It helps the students to nurture vital skills for college and workplace.
When a person is deeply rooted in the cultural values and understands the history of other cultures, he tends to appreciate other people’s opinions. It prepares them for varied diverse cultures that work together in the market. It is vital to understand the wide range of multiple cultures and the historical backgrounds that they are based in. This helps the students to appreciate another person’s perspective. The students, who learn the importance of multicultural education, are knowledgeable, wise, compassionate, open for change, community-oriented and accepting of challenging opinions.
- It helps in creating equal learning opportunities for everyone.
Irrespective of the race and ethnic backgrounds, multicultural education yields equal learning opportunities for each and every student. It does not focus on the child’s cultural or ethnic background but lays focus on quality education. It helps the students to realise the social stigmas, fight social injustices, appreciate all the cultural differences, and eliminate all the set stereotypes.
- It helps the students to build strong personal identities.
When the students have multicultural education as their backbone, they learn to develop their own personal identities rather than the ones based on cultures, colour or race. They realise the importance of accepting new ideologies that are based on their personal interests and not their skin colour. They learn to embrace family values and treasure the new teachings.
- It reduces the prejudices formed against other cultures.
When a student learns about new cultures, it leads to breaking down of all the previous notions related to the culture. It also helps in empowering social structure and school culture by harbouring the feeling of equality amongst all. It celebrates different cultures and helps the students in implying the best of all.
- It helps the students to become great communicators.
A good communicator is the one who is a good listener. A good orator knows how to cater to each section of the society and make them see his/her perspective. When it comes to that, students who study in a multicultural background are able to communicate effectively with all the people from different walks of life.
DISADVANTAGES OF MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION
- Laying too much focus on accepting multicultural education might lead to a generalisation of education.
When more focus is laid on learning multicultural education, the teachers tend to restructure their lessons in order to keep them in a broader perspective. This makes the lesson more lengthy and generalised. For instance, while elucidating an example from the works of William Shakespeare, a teacher might feel the need to include more from Chinua Achebe and other native writers in order to maintain the balance between the education learning. But this might lead to a generalisation of education, making it robust.
- Language can pose a barrier for the ones who are not proficient in one language.
Students who are not proficient in one language might face the linguistic barrier. They might also feel that the language barrier is eating away their self-esteem. They find it difficult to express their inability in understanding the language. It becomes vital for the teachers to see into this matter and adopt a way in which every student can learn.
Multicultural education is a concept that includes a wide range of school programs, practices along with designed materials which can help the students from different groups to have equality in education. It involves having additional content added in the mainstream education to cater to all the students belonging from varied multicultural backgrounds. This helps them to have a personal identity and focus on building relationships based on their personal interests rather than on the cultural background, race or ethnicity. It helps in promoting the students to have an open mind and become great communicators. It also helps in building up empathy in the classroom towards other cultures. It helps in igniting societal change and move towards the creation of a world where each and every individual is treated with equality.