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Multicultural Education

This guide is designed to provide you with resources on multicultural education.

What is Multicultural Education?

Multicultural Education is an educational philosophy or set of teaching strategies which promotes integrating the "lived" experiences, cultural characteristics, values, and perspectives of diverse students into the learning environment. 

Goals of Multicultural Education

Creating safe classroom environments.

Providing equitable educational opportunities.

Seeking diverse perspectives.

Becoming cuturally aware.

Promoting every students success.

Fostering inclusion for ALL.

Implementation in the Classroom- Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings,1994).

Some of the tenents of culturally responsive teaching are:

1. Developing positive relationships with parents and families

2. Communicating clear expectations and standards

3. Intergrating student's cultures into the curriculum

4. Applying student-centered instructional methods

5. Develping pedagogy which encourages all students to succeed

6. Teachers demonstrating cultural caring and awareness

Implementation in the Classroom-The Banks' Model

 James A. Banks, identified four identifiable approaches/levels to the integration of ethnic content into the curriculum.  





Level 1: The Contribution Approach

This most frequently used approach, focuses on integrating ethnic content such as special events, cultural holidays and celebrations into the curriculum.

 An instructor incorporates lessons on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during the month of January.


Level 2: The Additive Approach

This approach allows instructor to add certain ethnic content, themes, & perspectives to the curriculum without restructuring the curriculum itself.

 An instructor incorporates the experiences of African American homesteaders during a general lesson on westward expansion in America.


Level 3: The Transformation Approach

This approach requires the instructor to change the basic concept of the curriculum and allows students to view concepts, themes, and problems from several ethnic perspectives.

 An instructor includes the first-person accounts of African American students into a lesson on the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.


Level 4: The Social Action Approach

This approach allows instructors to introduce students to social problems and helps them develop decisions and take actions to solve them.

 After participating in a lesson on the effects of pollution on their communities, students write letters to local officials to express their concerns.


Suggested Keywords

Multicultural Education 


Minority Students 

Cultural Competence 

Cultural Literacy 

Teacher Education 

Culturally Responsive Teaching 


Cultural Pluralism

Bilingual Education

Anti-bias curriculum


 "Understanding diversity for teachers is critical, because what teachers say, perceive, and believe can either disable or empower minority students" (Nel, 1992) 

Timeline-Education Reform

1945Brown v. Board of Education-declares that segregating students violates their constitutional rights. 

1964-The Civil Rights Act-outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

1965- Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)emphasized equal access to education for all students.

1968- Bilingual Education Act (BEA)-affords equal educational opportunity to limited English speaking students.

1973-The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)-ensures students with a disability are provided with equal educational opportunities.

1974- Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA)- protects women from gender discrimination in education. 

2001- No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)-sought to narrow the class and racial achievement gap by creating common expectations for all students.

2015-The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) - contains a number of meaningful levers to promote educational equity for disadvantaged and high-need students.