Multicultural Education: Paying Lip Service?

By Srilata Bhattacharyya.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study discusses the level of cognizance and perceptions regarding cultural diversity in the classrooms of graduate in-service college students. It also investigates whether multicultural education, as taught in many college courses is helping in the understanding and fostering of appreciation of the immense cultural diversity existing in our classrooms. One hundred and fifty graduate students who were enrolled in educational courses over two semesters in a small, private institution in the northeast USA, and were attending courses in Multiculturalism were studied. Results indicated that students in these multi-cultural courses were intensely concerned about the nature and purpose of multiculturalism. They needed clarifications on critical concepts in understanding a pluralistic society, the history and experiences of different cultural groups, the impact of socio-demographic variables on an individuals' identity, and application of the concepts. Students with a liberal arts background were more perceptive and cognizant of the discrepancies of rhetoric versus actual implementation to solve multicultural issues than were students who had science, math or business backgrounds.
In summary, most respondents agreed that such multicultural courses were not really preparing the students to teach in a pluralistic society. Besides, the differences between the new and experienced teachers lay in the understanding, interpretation, and implementation of the course material covered in multicultural education.

Keywords: Multicultural Education, In-service Students

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.187-194. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 549.309KB).

Dr. Srilata Bhattacharyya

Associate Professor, Childhood Development, Curriculum & Instruction, Ruth Ammon School of Education, Adelphi University, Glen Cove, New York, USA

I have been a faculty member at the University of Bombay, India for 10 years, and was an invited Scholar at the University of West Indies, Kingston,for one semester from a grant by the Rotary International. Then I taught at New York Institute of Technology, NY before joining Adelphi University, NY. My research interests are in Cross-cultural and Multicultural Education, Motivation and Self-regulation of Learning.

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