"What you have said I will consider. What
you have to say I will with patience hear, and find a time both meet to hear and
answer such high things."
These three lessons are presented as examples of curriculum integration of multiculturalism in the classroom. Curriculum Integration is a curriculum design focus on enhancing possibilities for personal and social integration by basing the curriculum around important problems and/or issues, rather than by subject area boundaries. The assessments are based on the idea of authentic assessment, which is an form of assessing students that overcomes the problems of standardized assessment. Some types of authentic assessment include oral presentations, performances, teacher observations, student inventories, student observations, debates, inquiries, portfolios, and more. In essence, it assesses progress in "real world" arrangements.
I suggest that anyone new to these ideas read: Curriculum Integration by Beane and Authentic Assessment in Action by Darling-Hammond, Ancess and Falk. As an educator, you will find them stimulating and information filled.
Read David M. Soderquist's article on Monoculture versus Multiculture. Explain to the students, if necessary, the difference between monoculture and multiculture. Have students list examples of monoculture in a positive view and in a negative view. Have students then list multicultural examples from both positive and negative viewpoints. Discuss in small groups or as a class, the reasons for each of the four views. Assist students in sharing their viewpoints in a non-threatening manner. Have students then focus on collectively listing positive issues for multiculturalism.
Lastly, have each student write on any one positive issue on multiculturalism from someone else's list and not their own.
Have teacher read through the four stages of implementing multicultural education in your school and classroom by Enid Lee.
Stage 1. Surface - signs in several languages, ethnic foods, and festivals.
Introduce your class to the four stages. Then have students create some sort of project around the four stages.
Then, have students share insights, ideas and ideals with others. Reflect and reevaluate. Then write a short paper on some aspect they learned from the exercise. This could include information from history, the present, literature, personal interviews, personal experiences, etc.
Have students begin by writing an autobiography with the focus on their cultural heritage. Have students prepare by talking to family members about what cultures are included in their family (and family can be as broad as they desire) and some of the traditions of each of the cultures. They should not limit their discussion of who they are to just the traditions that are unique to their culture. Then students can, in small groups discuss these traditions and see how they overlap from one cultural group to another. Collectively, they should find similarities between cultures and discuss how locale, language, and interaction blend monocultures in a new multiculture. It might be interesting to also discuss how the multiculture changes, evolves with time.
The idea of each of these lessons is to provide students a project that includes basic communication skills (necessary for participating in our society) combined with opportunities that require them to think, carefully choose their words and manner of communicating, practice listening skills (necessary in all facets of life), and write for practice with word choice, grammar, punctuation, etc., all with a multicultural theme.
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