Although multicultural research in education has been around for a while, many do not realize such studies’ scope. This is because the focus tends to be on the minority groups rather than the majority. Some claim that teaching students about different cultures will be counter-productive, causing them to feel isolated. However, most teachers and educators agree that incorporating an understanding of these cultures helps students achieve much better school results.
Teachers need to recognize the differences between cultures. While all American cultures are just as equal, they differ in how they deal with various situations. For example, the United States is often thought of as a relatively free country when it comes to immigration. On the other hand, a closer look at various countries’ immigration policies reveals that some rules and regulations govern foreign-born Americans.
When it comes to teaching U.S. history, most schools teach their students the story of America as a melting pot of various ethnic groups. While some parts of this history are problematic, such as the slave trade, most schools stress that the nation was built upon a melting pot of people from all over Europe, Asia, Africa, Native America, and some parts of Latin America. Although there are parts of the country populated by large populations of native Americans, many do not accept this. Also, many foreign-born students tend to feel more comfortable learning about their ethnic group rather than discussing all of the different cultures. A trend suggests that a higher number of foreign-born students are enrolled in college courses in ethnic studies. Many believe that the educational system must embrace this type of multicultural research.
Multicultural research has helped shed light on how different instructional approaches can be utilized in the classroom. The research has shown that incorporating several instructional approaches can produce better results than just using one. The results range from providing an inclusive educational environment to increasing student achievement and enhancing comprehension. These results are helpful to teachers who are trying to design lesson plans with a multicultural group of students.
One approach to conducting multicultural research involves studying the U.S. population as a whole and its relation to the multiculturalism model. This approach is also helpful when trying to understand the needs and expectations of the various ethnic or cultural groups that are a part of the United States’ population. For example, understanding why some groups have higher educational achievement than others can help educators design educational programs and curriculum that are more likely to appeal to students. Another aspect of multicultural research deals with the relationship between economic status and ethnicity. It is believed that poor educational outcomes may be tied to some groups and cultures’ lower economic status. On the other hand, higher economic status may be linked to higher educational achievement.
Another important facet of multicultural education deals with how teachers should relate cultural beliefs to academic teaching styles. For example, in some schools, it has been found that teachers tend to enforce Western academic styles in classes with African American and Hispanic students. This may cause some students to feel threatened by this, which in turn causes them to withdraw. With regards to how teachers should relate cultural beliefs to their academic teaching styles, it is found that the most effective way to do so is to model cultural competence as well as academic freedom.