Education in the United States has a long history, since the movement of Common Education with Horace Mann. The goal was to create a system that will function as an agent to Americanizing the citizens. Since that time, the philosophy of educating the American has not change much. The school has always been a sites and agencies of “Americanism” by using English-only language and Anglo-Protestant culture textbooks that reflect their curriculum. Students from marginalized culture felt their education experience is “too much schooling and very little education” and wanted no part in Anglo-Protestant society (Kharem & Villaverde, 2002). Anglocentric culture doesn’t only prevail in school but also in popular knowledge in the nation’s parks, museums, and other public sites (Banks, 2001). But society in general has undergone drastic development since the time of Horace Mann. We changed so rapidly recent with the civilization advancement.
Multicultural Education calls to reform the U.S.’s education in order to meet the current culture climate to be more modern and democratic. The idea aims to bring the focus of learning activity on the individuals’ personal development and identification. That is opposing to the current practice of teaching the individual into become the society’s identification. It can open up a new avenue in Deaf Plus Education. It could refine the inclusive education into ways that will empower the students to take responsible of their learning experience. The task itself may seem to be daunting but it can be accomplish with a right recipe. One example with the traditional standardized formal test, it focused on a discrete area of a specific language that doesn’t account for culture diversity. That reflected on Multicultural Education and Deaf Education and Special Education because these groups experience marginalized results on the test unless they assimilate with the mainstream-centric long enough to step into the society’s identification to perform outstanding on the test.
To give you a sight idea of multicultural education philosophy, James Banks offer four approaches to address the reform. The approaches works like stages, from the basic to the advance. It will give the school some transition time to allow the reform to take effect. The first stage is contribution from the likes of the ethnics’ history, art, food, dance, and on. Additive approach is the next stage and the school can add materials, unit, and course but the curriculum remains unchanged. In order for the curriculum to face change, they need to undergo transformative approach to restructure the new materials that was added from the additive approach. Last, social approach will allow the students to create social actions responding to the issues they learn in class.
In Nieto & Johnson’s paper, they discuss how multicultural education doesn’t give enough attention to disability and deafness although disability represents around 20% of the population in the US. That is 1 out of 5 person are disabled, whether it is short term or permanent, mild or severe, and etc… The authors felt it was important for disability to receive multicultural framework to increase their academic achievement and reduce stereotype. They also felt that multicultural education focus more on changing the attitude of the society instead of focusing on accommodations without considering the disability’s perspective. They use cultural immersion as a strategy to teach their students to reduce stereotype. They believe that personal contact to those who are stereotyped provides realistic and humane view. One of their cultural immersion activities is called “cultural plunges” and it proves to be effective in increasing awareness of individual’s stereotypes and help reduce them.
There are number of lesson the students felt they received from their experience. They realized it is important that stereotypes get in the way to know an individual because the prejudgments are often inaccurate. The biased the students grew up unconsciously were being challenged via direct experience. The students felt shamed and guilt largely because of their realization of their stereotypes and biased toward the individuals. The students also felt direct interaction via cultural plunges teaches lesson that other form of education cannot replicate. This type of learning also has lasting impact other memorization and regurgitation. These lessons the students experienced showed that they are changing their attitude toward respecting each individuals’ character, personality, preference, and much more.
Banks, J. A. (2001). Approaches to Multicultural Curriculum Reform. In Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. (Eds).
Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, (4th ed) (225-246). Seattle, WA: Wiley.
Kharem, H. & Villaverde, L.E. (2002). Teacher Allies: The Problem of the Color Line. In Soto, L. D. (Ed).
Making a Difference in the lives of Bilingual/Bicultural Children (195-210). New York, NY: Peter
Nieto, J., Johnson, J.R. 2007. Truly Inclusive? Disability and Deaf Experience in Multicultural Education. Perspectives on Urban Education. University of
Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s Online Urban Education Journal 5 (1), retrieved from http://www.urbanedjournal.org/node/155