A unique characteristic of our secondary schools is that the students are from three different ethnic groups namely Malay, Chinese and Indian. These three dominant ethnic groups have their own beliefs, culture, values and norms that will affect their behaviors and actions. It’s a goal of Malaysian education and schooling practice to enhance social integration among these various ethnic groups beyond mere physical integration, and intends to eliminate social prejudices and discrimination.
2. What is Multicultural Education? Multicultural education relates to education and instruction designed for the cultures of several different races in an educational system. This approach to teaching and learning is based upon consensus building, respect and fostering cultural pluralism within racial societies. Multicultural education acknowledges and incorporates positive racial idiosyncrasies into classroom atmospheres. 3.
What are the major hindrances to multicultural education in Malaysia? 03. 01. Multicultural Curriculum The goals of multicultural education are achievable and measurable through the use of a multicultural curriculum. Gollnick and Chinn (2009) described a good multicultural curriculum as one that incorporates the histories, experiences, traditions and cultures of students in the classroom and supports and celebrates diversity in the broadest sense.
Comprehensive multicultural curricula are needed in Malaysia to address differences in race, ethnicity, class, religion, language, gender and socioeconomic status and the occurrence of prejudice, bias, stereotyping, injustice, inequity and discrimination. 03. 02. Racial Intolerance Racism is not always visible to educators, except in cases of overt hostilities between individuals at which time it's simply the tip of the iceberg. Teachers try to cope in a variety of ways, from ignoring it and assuming it will go away to treating all children equally.
Often, they are constrained in what they can do by increasing demands for varied and differentiated education in a climate of dwindling resources and inadequate preparation. Some research reports how teachers make assumptions about students' capabilities based on their ethnicity and class background. Others assume that minority children enter school as an empty slate with little to offer or maintain that is distinctive and, therefore, proceed with a curriculum that seeks to assimilate them into dominant society traditions. " 03. 03. Managing diversity
Managing diversity is an on-going process that unleashes the various talents and capabilities which a diverse population brings to an organization, community or society, so as to create a wholesome, inclusive environment, that is safe for differences, enables people to reject rejection, celebrates diversity, and maximizes the full potential of all, in a cultural context where everyone benefits. Teachers in multicultural classrooms must be open to their students and put forth the effort needed to get to know their students inside and outside of class.
If a teacher is hesitant about being open, the class will reciprocate and the students will become estranged from one another and the teacher. In order to be open, teachers must be interested in their students, fearless, willing to try new and different things, sure of themselves in order to avoid taking things personally, and non-judgmental of his or her students. Also, openness is not making assumptions and being prepared for the unexpected (Canning 1995). Many cultures have many different mores and folkways.
Teachers must be open to what the students are doing and find out why they do what they do. This openness will create communication in the class, which will ultimately develop into a classroom that is learning, understanding, and culturally fluent. An open teacher will create an open class and an open class will have open lines of communication that will create a positive and beneficial learning environment for everyone. 03. 04. Language Difference Language difference is another major issue that teachers must address when establishing a multicultural classroom.
A teacher who tries to learn the native tongue of her or his students, if only a word or two will convey respect for the culture of his or her students and increase their potentially suffering self-esteem. Introducing the language or culture of all students in the class into the curriculum will communicate that students of that culture are important. However, a teacher should not assume that a Chinese student grew up in the Malaysian culture and knows about it.
In order to establish a respect for other cultures in the classroom, teachers must move beyond "multicultural moments" or pseudo multiculturalism (Miller, 1997). True multicultural activities must be ongoing and integrated daily in both informal and formal activities. The most important thing to remember about all classrooms is the premise that every child is unique. All children are different and beautiful in their own way, no one student should feel excluded from the class especially if the reason they feel they are excluded is based on race, ethnicity, or color.
Teachers need to show the colour of our world every time they enter a classroom whether math, science, art, or physical education. An important step in teaching children to be comfortable with their cultural background and essentially themselves is to encourage and value their input in a small group of other students. This has to do with the organization of the classroom and the development of lesson plans. When grouping students, teachers should put students from differing backgrounds and ethnic together...
An accomplished teacher should be able to create projects for a group of students from different backgrounds and ethnic groups that will require students to work together, therefore allowing each student to be an important part of the group and learn information through the interaction of the group. Lesson plans that can do this and interest students will become invaluable for teachers to posses as the need for teachers to become culturally fluent continues to grow. 4. Conclusion
As our country continues to exhibit great diversity, the need for understanding and accepting the differences among all people has never been more important. Thus, the challenge for educators is to present an effective multicultural education foundation by means of which all children can learn to accept others. The goal of multicultural education is not only to teach children about other groups or countries. It is also to help children become accustomed to the idea that there are many lifestyles, languages, cultures, and points of view.
The purpose of multicultural curriculum is to attach positive feelings to multicultural experiences so that each child will feel included and valued, and will feel friendly and respectful toward people from other ethnic and cultural groups. One key to helping young children develop a sense of being citizens of the world lies with the early childhood teacher. The disposition exhibited by this individual in promoting everyone's culture will be the successful factor in the child's development of a multicultural perspective. Creating multicultural classrooms is a growing priority for all teachers and administrators.
This includes restructuring the curriculum and classroom evaluation, but, more importantly, it includes embracing difference and opening up the classroom for communication. Schools in Malaysia are making vast improvements in this area but more still needs to be done. Our world is multicultural and children need to experience the diversity outside their immediate environment. If children are to know about minority groups, they must be taught about them in the same way they are taught about majority groups. Otherwise, children can grow to adulthood unaware of and insensitive to the experiences of other cultural groups.