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Questions for Discussion #1


The changing diversity of P-12 students will change the way schools function and the
way classrooms are instructed. According to Gollnick and Chinn, students from diverse
cultural groups will comprise over half of the elementary and secondary populations by
2020 (pg., 32). This means that half of most classrooms will be composed of ethic
students. This means that teachers will have to understand and change their role in
teaching cultural diversity. Teachers must understand the different cultures to be able to
effectively instruct the classroom. A teacher who lacks understanding of diversity is at
risk of offending students and parents and facing the issues of favoritism, racism, sexism,
and discrimination.
According to Gollnick and Chinn, culturally determined norms provide the dos and
donts of appropriate behavior within our culture (pg., 4). Students from different
cultural backgrounds have different behavior because what is acceptable in their culture.
An example may be that in one cultural they sit on the floor to eat. However, the
dominant culture has determined this to be a dont. In many cases, a teacher can learn
about the different cultures in his/her classroom and learn ways to integrate them into the
curriculum. Something as simple as changing a name in a word problem from john to
Muhammad makes students from diverse backgrounds feel like they can relate to the
problem. Also, observation of different types of holidays and not just American and
Christian holidays shows diverse students that you care and understand them. It also
provides a way for children of the dominant culture to learn about other cultures.
Schools can promote and support multiculturalism by observing differences of different
cultures. A teacher should know the culture of all students in his or her classroom. This
way she or he can better integrate cultural diverse material in their curriculum. It would
not make sense for a teacher with White, Chinese, and African American students to
integrate Jewish culture into the curriculum. Instead, base the curriculum with
experiences from the students life including holidays and traditions. The book provides a
good example of supporting and promoting assimilation with the textbook example. In
the example it covers how textbooks only pictured students of the dominant culture
(white).
According to Gollnick and Chinn, Group identity is based on traits and values learned as
part of ones ethnicity, religion, gender . . .(pg., 13). An example would be that a person
who is brought up Catholic compared to someone who does not follow a religion would
have a different set of values. All of these different pieces work together to create a
cultural identity. Just because some people are female and are part of the female identity
does not mean the rest of the pieces add up. Cultural Identity can change as someone
ages, moves location, and gains life experiences.
A focus of equality and social justice can improve the quality of education and the
academic performance of diverse students. Equality and social justice are hard concepts
to achieve. It is a simple fact that no everything in the world can be equal and just.
However in a school system, educators and administrators can enforce rules to make all
opportunities and activities just and equal to all students. This way no student or group of
students is at a disadvantage from the rest. This way all students will have optimal ability
of achieving academic success regardless of diversity between students.
Multicultural education is just as important to students of the dominant culture as it is to
diverse students. Students of the dominant culture need to be educated about the different

cultures that live around them. By learning more about cultures, students become more
aware and can have a better understanding of different cultures and peoples. If the
students are diverse in their classroom, people in their workplace and community will
also be diverse.