Diversity in the Classroom
In a typical classroom, it is a common scenario to find students of diverse races and cultures. Each culture is unique, and many beliefs and practices are misunderstood by those outside that culture. With variety comes certain challenge in dealing with the students’ behavioral and academic performance. Other individual issues may also develop, such as bullying, poor self-image, anxieties, superiority and inferiority complexes, and a number of other concerns. It is up to the teacher to supervize how students relate with each other.
The Need for Multicultural Education
As the adult in the classroom, it is the teacher’s task to monitor the well-being of the students. The total development of the students becomes the major concern of the teacher, instead of solely focusing on how they perform academically. In fact, one of the reasons for a student having poor grades could be psychological and emotional trauma. To be able to handle successfully such concerns, the teacher must be equipped with ample knowledge about multiculturalism which can be achieved through education.
What is Multicultural Education?
One of the pioneers of this principle was James Banks, and according to him, "Multicultural education is a field of study and an emerging discipline whose major aim is to create equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups." It serves as a constructive solution to racism that exists in a mixed environment. Through this principle, the students become aware that there other lifestyles, beliefs and practices that exist in the world other than their own. With such insight, they have the grounding to be accepting of others and relate harmoniously with people.