The significance of multicultural education
The United States of America is widely recognised as one of the world’s most multicultural nations. It attracts individuals of diverse ethnicities and origins. There is no traditional American appearance, and American culture encompasses diverse views and characteristics. Children of colour account for around 40% of the U.S. population, compared to 70% of all children worldwide (Brinson, 2012).
This nation has endured decades of prejudice, racial segregation, and separation. Modern American culture is striving to overcome the problems of the past and develop a generation of tolerant and diverse individuals who are free of prejudice. The youngest members of contemporary American society are the focus of multicultural education courses built specifically with this concern in mind.
Can young children display prejudice?
There are numerous examples of biassed perceptions among young children: black toys signify villains, white-skinned dolls with blond hair are preferred by brown girls because they are considered more attractive, and the usual picture of a cartoon princess is a white female (Souto-Manning, 2013). The current generation of children is the first to get multicultural curricula addressing diversity issues.
All prior generations were raised and educated in far more indifferent environments, with primarily white teachers and a Eurocentric curriculum; therefore, racial stereotypes still exist in contemporary culture (Sarraj, Bene, Li & Burley, 2015). The educators do not want them to advance towards the future.
Utilization of Diversity Education
Over the years since the introduction of multicultural education to young learners in the United States, teachers have developed a variety of techniques and approaches utilising multiculturalism and integrating it into learning experiences, thereby creating a lasting impression of multiculturalism’s pervasiveness in all spheres of life.
In actuality, the essence of American multiculturalism is only mentioned and emphasised in order for children to recognise and value difference. Children who grow up in unbiased, diverse environments gain a deeper grasp of diversity, improve their chances of achieving long-term success, avoid ethical dilemmas, and become more civilised (Morrison, 2012).
There are numerous possibilities for multicultural literature that explains diversity and equality in terms that young children may appreciate. In addition, storybooks and picture books that present cultural content typically include accurate and colourful illustrations of multicultural situations and provide visual examples of diversity, so that young children are subconsciously taught to view differences as a normal aspect of life and society (Mendoza & Reese, 2012).
Examples of Literature from Various Cultures
- “A Gift from Papa Diego” (A story of a Mexican American boy)
Family, solidarity, and culture are values described.
Introduces children to elementary Spanish vocabulary and blends the two cultures.
- “A Name Bottle” (About a Korean girl, who is a recent immigrant)
- Tolerance, friendliness, and diversity are accepted as values.
- “A Sandwich Exchange” (which features two friends of different backgrounds)
Tolerance, diversity of cuisines, parental love, and friendship that transcends differences are regarded as core values.
The three books were discovered while conducting research for this paper. They are written for preschool and primary school-aged youngsters. The authors of these books address various aspects of diversity in American society, such as the emotions of a newcomer attempting to adapt to the American way of life, diverse perspectives on cultural characteristics such as food, and the lives of immigrants and their descendants in the United States.
Textbooks for younger students are designed differently than those for older students. The most effective ones are constructed in the form of a whole novel that contains activities, lectures in several fields, and brilliant colours and drawings to captivate children. In reality, images can also be utilised to teach children about ethnic art. The story in the book is divided into sections so that educators can easily organise lessons based on the book’s topics.
Children’s textbooks are loaded with illustrations and engaging stories. They are intended to captivate the reader and make the academic experience seamless and engaging, so that the youngster will joyfully and actively learn. They instruct the pupils in broad information, contextualising it within a multicultural framework.
Games and games are among of the most frequent components of preschool training. When young children’s senses are stimulated, they learn more quickly. When they play a role, dress up, sketch or construct something, or learn rhythmic songs or dances, they require so-called hands-on experience. Conversations are a vital component of intercultural activities; they must be well-structured and objective in order to educate youngsters how to speak appropriately about diverse individuals (Lee, Ramsey & Sweeney, 2008).
Examples of culturally diverse activities
Activities within intercultural education represent experiential learning. Children can not only view or listen to the stories of different cultures, but also act them out and perceive them by applying creativity—they can create their own African masks or Indigenous headdress, wear a self-made kimono or sari, learn to greet each other in foreign languages, and perform ethnic dance. This improves and deepens children’s understanding, acceptance, and curiosity about diverse cultures.
A Bibliography of Multicultural Sources
All of the above-mentioned books are intended to educate youngsters positive ideas and actions, as well as the right approach to interact with people of different cultures. To acquaint the students with the experiences of those who are typically seen as “others” in the modern world, friendly and compassionate connections between varied individuals are encouraged, and extensive displays of other cultures are presented.
Children who are raised in an environment that values variety learn not to form judgments or develop complexes based on their cultural and ethical backgrounds. Because it is essential to eliminate biassed beliefs before they become entrenched, multicultural education focuses on the youngest students.