In the modern world, the society is characterized by diverse populations with different cultures. It is important that individual members of today’s society learn to interpret and interact with other individuals from different social groups. Since the colonial era, society has experienced inequalities based on cultural and social factors. Some cultures have been depicted as more superior and others inferior. The colonial masters created a general notion that theirs was a more superior culture that others needed to assimilate and follow.
However, since the revolutions of 1960’s multiculturalism has been embraced and is now accepted as an important facet of learning. Culture Mitchell, B. M. & Salsbury, R. E. (1996) defines culture as a common set of values, beliefs, perspectives and practices that are learned and shared by a particular social group and which contribute to the behavioral outcomes of the said social group. Culture forms a basis on which individuals defines interpret and interact with others.
It influences individuals’ aspirations and relationships. Multicultural Education This refers to a system of learning that cultivates educational equity, awareness of and respect for the diversity of the modern society in an educational setting. Thomas, D. G. (1994) posits that multicultural education is based on the realization that children need to learn how to interact with others who are culturally different from themselves.
Multicultural education is an important tool that can address cultural differences and bias in an educational setting this is because increased understanding of the nature and basis of differences can enhance peaceful coexistence where the student learn to respect one another as well as the others’ beliefs and practices. In this way multicultural education destroys the basis of bias not only in the educational setting but also in the society at large. Additionally, multicultural education creates a self awareness for the students in such that they learn how to place themselves among their peers which improves their relationships.
According to Grant, C. A & Lei J. L. (2001), multicultural education serves an important purpose of eliminating the suspicion that exists between people from different cultures that is usually as a result of misconceptions and misinformed stereotypes. My preconception in light of research. Initially I had thought that the cultural practices I considered extreme like the FGM just needed to be simply done away with but have realized from my research that the people practicing that deserve respect and it should not therefore be imposed on them that they stop the practice.
Rather they should be treated with dignity and such approaches as education be used to create awareness of the adverse effects of the practice. Again research has helped me understand that the cause of cultural bias cannot necessarily be blamed on ignorance alone but rather that the issue is multi faceted touching on the very foundations of the modern society. It is important that a better understanding of the cultural question be cultivated in the best forum there is i. e. education setting.
As a teacher the responsibility lies heavily on my shoulders to pass this education to the students and the understanding gained will enable me to be more sensitive in the course of instructing my students. I intend to create a classroom atmosphere that embraces diversity. Having a cultural day at school where students display different cultural aspects such as dress, song and dance, and foods is one idea that I would like to implement in the quest of enhancing understanding and appreciation of cultural differences.
Reference Thomas D. G. (1994). Implementing multicultural education in teacher education Programme. Childhood education vol. 70 Grant C. A. and Lei J. L. (2001) Global constructions of multicultural education: Theories and Realities Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Mitchell B. M. and Salsbury R. E. (1996). Multicultural education an international guide to research, policies and programme. New York Greenwood press Alex Moore (2000). Teaching and learning pedagogy, curriculum and culture. New York Routledge.