Multicultural Education versus the Common Culture
Modernized education particularly makes it possible for every individual to develop as a fine individual that he ought to be.As a primary part of the society, each individual is entitled to an education that is made to give him the needed knowledge that he ought to receive for him to have a better outlook on life. Certainly, education’s main aim is to create a possibility for each individual to develop as a fine member of the human society.
The common set-up of education has been originated from the local-based teaching and learning process.
The students are taught by their teachers in a classroom with which the students belong to one race and are mostly having the same situation in an economic perspective.
However, the common culture in providing education to the younger generation of each civilization already changed with the introduction of the new technologies and the modern system of economy as suggested by the global trade. Through the aims of economists to create a global market of people who are interconnected for the sake of the advancement of global economy, the introduction of modern technological communication devices were also made possible.
The creation of network connections through the utilization of Internet has been a primary result of the said globalization movement. On the other face of the situation, it could be observed that another result of the said movement towards economic liberalization is that there are numerous immigrants who opt to transfer places or even countries to be able to cope up with the major changes in the society especially with regards the economic progress.
As a result, several classrooms around the world are subjected to assisting students from different cultures, different races that are also having their own individual capabilities as per based form the race that they primarily belong to. Aside form this, the primary subjects that used to be the only topics that are discussed within the four walls of the classroom increased and were added up with particular social issues that mainly concerns the multi-racial classes that they handle.
For this reason, this paper shall discuss the ethical issues, the educational problems and the teaching adjustments that are taken by educators in presenting their lessons to their classes. By doing so, the author of this paper then aims to particularly address the issues brought about by modernization towards the common culture that used to be the basis of knowledge enhancement during the past decades of human society.
The importance of education in the human society has mainly made it a reason of debate among education enthusiasts and experts who are concerned on which type of education is actually more efficient for the society; common culture education or the multicultural education, which is currently a trend in the field of education. To know both sides of the argument, knowing what the both ids of the debate pertain to, would help much in the clearing of the issue.
What is the Common Culture all about?
Mostly, traditional educational institutions plainly deal with the outlined lessons that are supposed to be taught to the students. This includes subjects such as Mathematics, Language, Science, Crafts or Home Economics and History. These particular subjects are taught to a group of students who are coming from the same race and are having a common ground. Hence, the focus of the education is more on providing the students with the necessary knowledge that they need to incur for better individual developments rather than focusing on the social involvement of the young learners.
It is by the outlined pattern of teaching common education that only the essential factors of life are taught to the students within the classrooms. While on the other hand, the social current events are to be learned by the students on their own way as it is pictured as a common responsibility of humans as major parts of the society.
According to those who takes side in this part of the issue, common education helps the students understand the lessons fully since they are asked to focus only on the most essential factors of education that they need to know which are believed to have a great impact upon their lives later on. (Mayor, 1992, 13)
Furthermore, the arguments pertain to the fact that teachers who are commissioned to teach only based on common culture education have a greater capability of addressing to their subjects more closely because they are less pressured to see to it that the students are also able to grasp the other subjects that are added up in multicultural education. (Cortes, 1976, 45)
The Nature of Multicultural Education
Because of the globalization movement that is presently adapted to by different countries around the world, immigration has become a common trend especially among entrepreneurs and other workers who find better lives in living abroad. As a result, education too has taken a new face of development. Because of the said advancements, the situation within classrooms became a mixture of students from different races trying to cope up with the subjects that are taught to them in a different setting as compared to their original locality’s traditional practice of teaching and educating students.
To support this particular fact, the following report pertains to the fact that immigration is a great cause of social divisibility:
“Most new immigrants to the United States are coming from Spanish speaking Latin American nations and from Asia rather than from Europe. Between 1981 and 1990, 87% of the legal immigrants to the United States came from non-European nations while 10% came from Europe. Most Asian immigrants came from China, Korea, the Philippines, and India while Mexico and nations in the Caribbean were leading sources of immigrants from the Americas.” (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1994).
True, many students in the United States alone came from different races around the world. Hence, to be able to create a common ground among the students, the inculcation of social studies within the curriculum is then realized to be among the most effective practice of teaching culturally divided students.
As a result, Baker’s study on the issue has the following findings:
“Teachers currently find themselves adrift in a seemingly endless sea of school reform literature and policies. Moreover, the often acrimonious, and increasingly politicized public debates about educational issues (phonics versus whole language, immersion versus English as a second language, basic skills versus problem solving)… these practitioners face additional challenges, including poverty, violence, overcrowding, and huge bureaucracies, which drain precious energy from the primary goal of opening students’ minds.” (Baker, 97, Internet)
From the findings cited above, it could be noticed that one of the particular results of the said adaptation to multicultural-based learning is the stress that is placed upon the teachers and the students. In addition, the subjects are doubled and thus more works and research are supposed to be completed, especially focusing upon social events that are currently reported. Certainly, these situations within the classrooms makes it hard for the educators and the learners to grasp as much as their minds could with the bundle of responsibilities that are required to them for learning their multi-cultural based subjects.
In a more concise discussion, it could be observed that multicultural education simply aims to attend to the needs of the students of the present generation. Since globalization caused immigrants to fly to different countries abroad, attending to their needs as students is also essential for social development.
The Ethical Issues
Although the created curriculum for international classes are designed to help the students understand humanity as a whole and not as an individual race, it could not be denied that these particular subjects raise the questions of discrimination between the students. Most often than not, its either superiority or inferiority that the students feel towards their own race when they are given the chance to join international classes.
Actually, the creation of international learning classes aims to open up the minds of the students to the fact that they are of a great importance to a growing society of a developed human civilization. This is the reason why it is necessary to address ethics within the subjects that are taught in classrooms.
This is because of the fact that the lessons may address several issues on the connection of culture towards the particular ethical practices of the society. The educators should carefully address this while assisting their students understands the lessons that they ought to grasp.
To be able to avoid being subjected to particular issues of ethics and problems alike, it is suggested that the students are taught about cultural equality starting from their pre-school years.
“Young children can develop stereotypic viewpoints of cultures different from their own when similarities among all individuals are not emphasized. Teachers can help eliminate stereotypes by presenting material and activities that enable children to learn the similarities of all individuals. Circle time is particularly helpful in this respect, as it provides children with a feeling of group identity and introduces them to the variety of cultures represented in the class (Dixon and Fraser, 1986).
This suggestion would actually work if the students are made to
realize that discrimination is a social sickness that keeps the human civilization form progressing to the best possibilities that they could be, making their differences work for the sake of social development.
The Involvement of Technology
Technology has a great role in providing students from different countries the education that they need to know through the utilization of the Internet. People from all over the world are able to access education within the convenience that they are satisfied with. A part of this particular educational innovation with the integration of teaching and technology, it has been possible for this particular educational set up to host cultural crossover among students.
It is through this particular advancement that students are able to learn about their classmates’ cultural background in a broader view of their importance in the society. It is by this process that the students are given a chance to see others in a more balanced way.
Education is a provision given to everyone. Not a single person should be denied of this provision whatever race he may come from. People from over the world are making several progresses pertaining to becoming globally connected to each other. The cultural crossover as a result of the globalization movement should then be used for the betterment of the entire human society.
Through education and accurate knowledge of others’ worth to the society, the social issues and the ethical questions that are raised because of the differences of the races from each other could be gradually eliminated. Yes, education itself is the key to a more peaceful, progressive society that has particularly burst-out from a multicultural society.
Dixon, G.T. & Fraser, S. (1986). “Teaching Preschoolers in a Multilingual Classroom.” CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, 62, 4, 272-275.
U.S. Bureau of the Census (1994). Statistical Abstract of the United States (114th ed.). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Cortes, Metcalf and Hawke (1976). Understanding You and Them: Tips for Teaching About Ethnicity. Bolder Colorado: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies Education and Social Science Education Consortium.
Gill, D., Mayor, B., & Blair, M. (Eds.) (1992). Racism and Education: Structures and Strategies. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Hanvey, Robert G. (1978). An Attainable Global Perspective. Next Steps in Global Education: A Handbook For Curriculum Development, ed. William Kniep. New York: The American Forum.
Frederick J. Baker. (1999). Multicultural Versus Global Education:
Why Not Two Sides of the Same Coin? http://www.csupomona.edu/~jis/1999/baker.pdf. (April 9, 2007).