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The Difference and Similarities of Multiculturalism and Ethnocentrism Thinking in Today's Classroom.

Essay by   •  August 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,036 Words (5 Pages)  •  4,505 Views

Essay Preview: The Difference and Similarities of Multiculturalism and Ethnocentrism Thinking in Today's Classroom.

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In today's society, Multiculturalism can have several meanings. Being that we all live in a world with various cultures, the language we speak bears witness to the various belief's and traditions that take place in each culture. In the United States, multiculturalism is a combination of psychological, political and legal "protective shields" that make it more than just a theory of social existence. Based on the laws that were created by the United States Supreme Court, minority ethnic or cultural groups may not be unreasonably discriminated against. According to Kanpol & McLaren (1995), This legal protection gives us the opportunity to coexist with all our rights intact regardless of the numerous amounts of citizens that oppose. Ethnocentrism; however, has a totally different outlook.

People that follow the ethnocentric approach are known to have an attitude that favor's self and ones own. According to Ornstein and Levine (1997), Ethnocentrism is also the view that a particular ethnic group's system of beliefs and values is morally superior to all others. Ethnocentrism leads us to make false assumptions about cultural differences. We are ethnocentric when we use our cultural norms to make generalizations about other peoples' cultures and customs.

When it comes to providing education, Multiculturalism in the classroom can assist the students in learning about diverse cultures from other students in the class. Students can also compare experiences and share information about their cultures with others as well. According to Kanpol and Peter McLaren (1995), these comparisons can help strengthen the student's own beliefs and views. Dialogues are known to increase curiosity to learn about the world through travel and other experiences.

Students also are exposed to diverse languages as well. Children in multicultural classrooms may feel that different languages are intriguing; however, They will soon begin to appreciate the diverse languages in the world. Students will also begin to recognize words used in English that have foreign origins. Teachers can use language diversity to teach foreign languages in class.

In today's public schools, children have a broader view of the world around them. According to Brenkman (1993), Students are more aware of the enormousness of the world, the variety of people and diverse views. Students will develop a deeper respect for people from diverse backgrounds. Brenkman (1993) further noted that Students would also learn of some of the struggles faced by people in minority groups around the world. Students develop racial tolerance. When exposed to a variety of cultures, students learn to live in harmony with people of other races, reducing prejudice. This approach will assist Students in becoming more accustomed to communicating and working with diverse students.

A multicultural classroom can produce a rich and creative learning environment for both the students and the teacher. As the world becomes more interconnected, it is common for contemporary classrooms to be culturally diverse. A culturally diverse classroom presents the teacher with a number of challenges. According to Carby (1980), The overall goal is to use a multicultural classroom to enhance the educational experience of all the students while avoiding the risk of stereotyping students or thinking in terms of cultural clinches.

When taking a multicultural approach in your classroom, teacher is considered the authority figure in the classroom and has the responsibility and opportunity to be the role model for the students. According to Frankel (1993), The teacher's personality sets the tone for

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