Your Multicultural Classroom: The 4 Elements You Need for Success
It is not news that the American classroom is increasingly made up of students from diverse backgrounds. Of course, from the beginning of the history of the United States, the country has been multicultural, but the growth of minority populations is expected to increase annually. Now, 37% of school-age children fall into the category of “minority population,” and this figure is projected to increase significantly in the next few years. In 2000, Hispanics replaced African Americans as the largest minority population in America. Official figures also showed an increasing percentage of people of Asian background. In this article, we will discuss the 4 elements that you need for success in your multicultural classroom.
Young people often make up a large part of these “minority groups.” The percentages of minority youths in some states are extremely high and increasing. Children of color are expected to make up more than half of all American classrooms by the year 2040. Texas, Florida, California, and New York are expected to account for more than one third of the nation’s young people by 2040, and according to previous projections, 52% of the youth population of each of these states will be from “minority” groups.
It’s best not to take these statistics lightly. It’s not just about ethnic and racial diversity—it’s also about the huge diversity in belief systems, academic levels, educational expectations, and linguistic diversity. This last issue is crucial in education. Large numbers of students are now entering schools with little or no competence in the English language and, regardless of their educational level, will immediately fall behind the state expectations.
Because of the diversity in the classroom, a “typical student profile” no longer exists. Education in America must suit the needs of all its students. So, multicultural education is a hot topic. More classroom teachers have studied the concepts of multicultural education in the past few years than ever before. Textbook publishers are integrating content into their books that reflects and respects the changing face of American schools and society.
Multicultural education will benefit everybody—including European Americans. It will aim to build skills, knowledge, attitudes, and passions for all members of our ever-changing society. Going further, educators need to create classroom strategies that will improve multicultural education.
Here are four elements that will do just that:
- Educators should write and implement a curriculum that is more inclusive of different cultural perspectives and the contributions related to each subject or concept. A history or sociology course, for example, should discuss the contributions, differences between, and importance of African American, Native American, and Hispanic peoples and cultures, and their impact and influence on the society as a whole.
- Teachers and schools should be conscious of, and deeply committed to, helping all students reach their full potential, without prejudice or discrimination regarding academic achievement, race, culture, and physical or mental disability.
- Teachers, schools, and educators should be aware of, and address, racist tendencies and any actions that convey discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping of minority groups.
- Teachers and schools should provide help and support for students, to aid their understanding and treatment of social and structural inequalities in American society. Teachers should encourage open dialogue about issues such as classism, racism, and sexism.
This article should be the starting point for you to create an educational environment that reflects society’s changing needs.