Multicultural education has five main characteristics and goals. These are content integration, knowledge construction, prejudice reduction, equity pedagogy and empowering school culture and social structure. All of these are employed to try to create an environment that harnesses the full ability of each student regardless of their ethnicity or cultural origin.
Content integration is a key feature in multicultural education and refers to the ways in which a teacher will use ideas from a range of cultures or ethnicities to describe a concept. An example of this may be when the teacher brings an ethnic minority hero or heroine into the discussion as an example of whatever is being taught.
Knowledge Construction Process
The knowledge construction process teaches students to understand how knowledge is understood and interpreted within different cultural groups. This characteristic of multicultural learning helps students identify how knowledge is a reflection of a certain culture's experience and value system. It helps students to deconstruct this knowledge system and build knowledge themselves.
Prejudice reduction are lessons specifically aimed at teaching students to develop a positive view of different ethnic and cultural groups. These type of lessons will often include positive imagery of ethnic minorities. Research has shown that classes such as these can help students to develop a positive image of other cultural groups.
This part of multicultural education is deals with how lessons are taught when facing a class of mixed race. Research has shown that Mexican American and African American students learn better in a cooperative learning environment as opposed to a competitive one. Equity pedagogy aims to deal with this difference in learning style and employ styles of learning that will best achieve the academic ability of the students.
Empowering School Culture and Social Structure
This is a term that describes how a schools culture must change in order to accommodate students from different cultures and make them all feel a sense of equality. This is done by employing learning methods as described above and making a concerted effort to change the attitudes and beliefs in a school to suit a multi-ethnic group of students.
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images