MULTICULTURAL CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
According to Gollnick and Chinn (2001), multicultural education has the purpose of further developing a democratic society by providing and promoting a respect and understanding of diverse ethnic and cultural groups. While this clearly seems like a worthwhile educational goal, it must be understood that there is a good deal of debate about multicultural education in general and the multicultural curriculum in particular.
With respect to this debate, Banks (2001) reports that it has been argued that rather than making students more democratic in their perspective, multicultural education and its accompanying curriculum actually divides them along ethnic and cultural lines. Further, according to Banks, those opposing the multicultural curriculum hold that it focuses exclusively on minority cultures providing a feeling of exclusion for students of the majority group. The point is also made that the emphasis of the curriculum is on differences and not similarities.
The position presented in this paper is that multicultural education and its curriculum provide some very real and tangible benefits to all students. The paper begins by defining multicultural curriculum, and goes on to discuss research supporting its benefits. This is followed by a brief discussion of what is required to promote and teach the multicultural curriculum.
Definition of the Multicultural Curriculum
The multicultural curriculum is based on the philosophical position of Multiculturalism which holds that gender, ethnic, racial and cultural diversity of a pluralistic society should be reflected in all of its institutionalized structures and most especially in its educational institutions, including the staff, norms and values, curriculum, and student body (Banks, 1995). The multicultural curriculum promotes this philosophy using the set standards of: accuracy and completeness in educational materials, engagemen...