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Teaching & Learning In The Multiculturally Transformed Classroom

When examining what goes on in our classrooms today, one must ask some basic yet, engaging questions. These are questions that cause us to think about what our students are actually learning in the traditional classroom.

  • Are we challenging students to think critically about the material they are learning?
  • Are we promoting an appreciation of multicultural voices within the classroom?
  • Are we encouraging students to question and openly discuss critical issues surrounding diversity and multiculturalism?
  • Are we preparing students to truly live in a multicultural society?

Below you will find what is called a "Multicultural Montage" that can lead to more successful teaching and learning in the classroom. By applying these strategies, you will be able to answer the above questions knowing that you are improving your students' learning.

A Multicultural Montage is defined as a set of multiculturally-based strategies combined to form a unified approach to improve teaching and learning. (King 2000).

King's Multicultural Montage

  • Avoid an over-reliance on cultural generalizations
  • Construct a non-threatening learning environment
  • Provide guest speakers from diverse backgrounds and perspectives
  • Encourage diverse students to contribute to discussions; do not push them to speak for their communities or race
  • Acknowledge the contributions of multicultural groups to your discipline or subject matter
  • Make sure your course materials represent female authors, international cultures, people of color and the differently-abled who may be cited as references; also consider alternative lifestyle authors when appropriate
  • Ensure that student grades are not negatively affected because of controversial subject matter
  • Respect those students for whom English is a second language by demonstrating patience and valuing their contributions to the class
  • Model respectful, yet challenging, communication and questioning skills
  • Challenge all negative perceptions and stereotypes expressed in order to perpetuate new learning
  • Utilize techniques that value multiple modes of student learning, such as lecture, discussion, small group projects, presentations by students, and storytelling
  • Involve students in shared experiences outside of the classroom that allow them to explore diverse community perspectives
  • Provide opportunities for all students to share their own cultural experience, research others, and lead discussions on other cultures
  • Provide culturally-based icebreakers early on to foster open communication and engender trust
  • Demonstrate how multiculturalism and diversity are beneficial for student development and how they promote student activism
  • Become familiar with the major multicultural theorists, in order to better understand today's diverse student population

- Darrell King, Multicultural Center, Lansing Community College

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