King George County Public Schools has a
Division-Wide Multicultural Education Advisory Committee with representatives
from all four (5) schools. These individuals meet several times throughout
the school year to research the concept of multicultural education and
curriculum and study how the concepts are being implemented in other schools and
institutions throughout the United States and the world. In addition, the
committee is developing in-services and training for division employees.
Below is an excerpt from the book,
Planning and Organizing for Multicultural Instruction, by Gwendolyn C.
Baker. Ms. Baker has published several books on the topic of multicultural
education, and the committee feels that her views and philosophy express the
beliefs of our committee.
Students learn better if they are able to
relate to what is being taught. The same rationale should be used for any
student or group of students whose ethnic and cultural backgrounds differ from
what has been considered traditional or mainstream in American society. As
a school division, the basic skills must be taught to all children as the first
step in helping them develop their capacities. To achieve this first step,
all curriculum must change.
The need to change and design instructional
strategies to be compatible with the learner’s learning style and background is
every bit as crucial as the need to change curriculum. The way children
learn is often controlled by factors other than those learned in the formal
school setting. Some children learn better when the style of instruction
is consistent with their lifestyles. Teachers and schools must be more
familiar with the various lifestyles. Teachers and schools must be more
familiar with the various lifestyles their students bring to the classroom.
Multicultural education must be thought of as a process and not simply as a
program. In other words, all education should be multicultural.
Education, in general, should be viewed as the process through which students
are provided with instruction and experiences that acknowledge the cultural
backgrounds of all individuals and through which they are prepared to develop a
more just and equal society.
Ms. Baker stated, “Educators must begin to realize that multicultural education
can benefit all children. If multicultural education is seen as a process
– a process for helping all children, including the non-minority child,
understand their place in society and in the universe, then and only then will
the goals and aims of education be achieved.”
The goals of multicultural education support
and encourage individuals to become more aware of their cultures, to have an
understanding and appreciation of other cultures, to participate in one or more
cultures while assuming responsibility for maintaining a shared national
The process of multicultural education should
begin with the very earliest experiences a child has with school. The
entire educational environment should reflect the pluralistic nature of society
and not be confined to the immediate school community and/or classroom. A
total approach will involve far more than the academic curriculum, although the
general trend is to make changes in the content taught in classrooms. A
total approach means a revamping of educational objective and goals. It
means making sure that hiring policies ensure diverse staffing patterns, that
curricula revisions are comprehensive and include ethnic and cultural content,
that instructional materials are bias-free, and that inservice training programs
provide teachers and staff with information and assistance on how to make
education multicultural. A total approach will certainly include and
involve the entire school community and will capitalize on the richness of
resources that can be provided through students, parents, and other members of
the school community.
plan represents a collection of ideas and beliefs. It is the hope that
this plan will assist in the development of the multicultural education process.