Should Multiculturalism Permeate the Curriculum

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The definition of multiculturalism in the Webster 's Dictionary is: "of or relating to a social or educational theory that encourages interest in many cultures within a society rather than in only a mainstream culture" (1984). There are many reasons why multiculturalism should be integrated into the curriculum of America 's schools. Multicultural education is an idea that seeks to develop the same opportunities for all students; it is not geared solely for the benefit of those from different racial, ethnic, and social-class groups, but it is also designed to help the middle to upper class white Americans (Banks, n.d.). The goal of multicultural education is to restructure schools, so that all students will achieve the knowledge, proper outlook, and abilities required to function in a diverse nation and world (Banks, 1993). It is important for multicultural education to permeate the curriculum in all grades and aspects of the educational system.
A problem with multicultural education is that people tend to simplify. It is a complex and multidimensional concept (Banks, 1993). James A. Banks, a professor and Director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington, uses the following five dimensions to describe the field 's major components: 1) content integration, 2) the knowledge construction process, 3) prejudice reduction, 4) an equity pedagogy, and 5) an empowering school culture and social structure (Banks, 1993). Content integration deals with teachers and how they use information from different cultures to explain key concepts and theories for a certain subject (Banks, 1993). This aspect of multicultural education is mostly taught in schools today, and for this reason teachers in the subjects of biology, physics, and mathematics think that multicultural education is irrelevant to them (Banks, 1993). Teachers from these subjects do not regard multicultural education as important to them because this aspect is being taught



References: Anderson, S. K., MacPhee, D., & Govan D. (2000). Infusion of multicultural issues in curricula: A student perspective. Innovative Higher Education, 25(1) 37-42. Astin, A. W. (1993). How are students affected? Change, (25)2. Banks, J. A. (n.d.). Multicultural education: Goals and dimensions. University of Washington. Retrieved June 15, 2006, from http://depts.washington.edu/centerme/view.htm Banks, J Gorski, P. C. (2000a). Curriculum reform. EdChange Multicultural Pavilion. Retrieved June 6, 2006, from http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/curriculum/steps.html Gorski, P Hyman, C. (2003, May 06). Awareness of racial stereotypes happens at an early age, has consequences. Berkely University of California. Retrieved June 15, 2006, from http://www.berkely.edu/news/media/release/2003/05/06_aware. shtml Miller, H Stewart, W. J. (2001). Infusing multiculturalism into the curriculum through broad themes. Education, 98(3), 334. Webb, M. (2000). Multicultural education in elementary and secondary schools. ERIC Clearinghouse of Urban Education New York, NY. Retrieved June 15, 2006, from http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9218/secondary.htm Webster, M. (1984). Webster 's ninth new collegiate dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

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