Teaching and Cultural Diversity
This course focuses on a reflective examination of the interaction of several variables which affect educational success and failure for students who are linguistically and culturally different: the students' cultural background, including ethnic, racial, religious, and gender issues; the school's cultural format of an educational setting; and the social forces in the wider community. The underlying assumption of the course is that the achievement of equity and maintenance of cultural diversity in pluralistic democracies are not only desirable goals, but also necessary for political unity, social stability, and sustained economic development. The educational system plays a critical role in nurturing multiculturalism, creating instructional environments which encourage tolerance and praise for cultural diversity, and honoring cultural differences as assets rather than deficiencies. Educators have a moral and civic responsibility to ensure that multicultural attitudes and values permeate the total school curriculum and learning environment. Students study the nature of culture and learn to appreciate the strong influence that a student's culture has on learning behavior and values. They also develop ways to uncover more aspects of cultural diversity among their students and evaluate culturally appropriate responses and strategies which enhance learning opportunities.