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Britain has become a multicultural society. How can schools/teachers develop their pupils' awareness of the values of other cultures?

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Introduction

Britain has become a multicultural society. How can schools/teachers develop their pupils' awareness of the values of other cultures? It is a fact that children from cultures other than white British under perform in the classroom. Even children from minority groups who have been born and fully educated in Britain still under-achieve in schools compared with their white counterparts. (Hill, D, 1976) With this in mind, the following pages will outline ways in which teachers and schools can develop their classroom activities to include British ethnic children, and children from other cultural diversities, by teaching a curriculum that acknowledges the wide range of influences from all around the world. There are many theories and perspectives on the issue of multicultural education however, for the purpose of this essay we shall draw upon Hessari and Hill's (1989) view that multicultural education is, That which enables children to develop towards maturity with the ability to recognise inequality, injustice, racism, stereotypes, prejudice and bias, and which acquires them with the knowledge and skills to help them challenge and try to change these manifestations when they encounter them (pg3) Therefore, to open a child's mind to the facts rather than the suppositions of cultural diversities will help them to recognise and value the beliefs and traditions of cultures other than their own, and ignore the deeply rooted Euro centric views of modern day society. Schools and teachers can achieved this by delivering a diverse curriculum that develops an understanding of not just different races and religions, but languages, traditions, customs, dialect and nationalities. ...read more.

Middle

Lynch, J. (1984) highlights some key points for schools to consider when choosing books for the classroom, in order to create positive role models for children from all cultural backgrounds. The author believes that correct books should avoid stereotyping and the reinforcement of prejudice by presenting members of ethnic minorities in centrally important roles in which the story revolves around, rather than taking a small token role. He also believes that illustrations should not instigate bias in the form of obscure caricatures or the assumption that all persons from one culture dress identical, and the language used within the books should not be discriminating or degrading towards any culture in any way. Therefore, books with bi and multi-lingual texts will help children understand that there is more than one language in the world and will help children who speak several languages feel more valued as their home tongue is being acknowledged within the classroom. Subsequently, When pupils have been introduced to the idea of stereotyping and have been helped to spot examples in selected texts, they should be encouraged to identify stereotypes in more general reading and to discuss them with others. (Saunders, M. 1982, p116) The development of language is an important factor in the multiethnic classroom. As outlined in the last paragraph, children will enter the learning environment with a varied and diverse knowledge of the English language. Some will be confident and fluent; others will need extra support and may find it hard switching from their first language to a second. ...read more.

Conclusion

To aid the policy, racist bullying must be explicitly discussed in the classroom and there must be clear guidelines set out to children, for dealing with incidents. If a pupil is reported to be displaying racist behaviour within the school, teachers need to remain calm and objective, and Talk through the incident with the parties involved. If the incident involves two pupils, each pupil should be listened to whilst an open mind is kept. Although full support must be given to the victim, younger children may not necessary understand what they have done wrong. If this is the case, remind the pupils that racist behaviour is any behaviour, which is perceived to be racist according to the schools policy. Finally, Make it clear to the child responsible why the behaviour was unacceptable and assure the parents of both parties are informed of the incident and the outcome. In conclusion, it can be said that schools may face many problems and challenges when teaching a multicultural curriculum. Nevertheless, multiethnic pupils contribute to the life of the school in a thousand different ways during the course of the year. (Townsend and Brittan 1972) Regardless of their cultural status all children deserve the right to be fully educated, and all children deserve the right to be prepared for the type of bias' and prejudices that may face them in today's society. Sooner or later children realise that they are in a multicultural world. Surely it is better that they are taught this than find out for themselves. ...read more.

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