Multicultural Perspectives and School Climate

EDUB 539 Multicultural Perspectives and School Climate

Course Description

In this course, participants examine the nature of cultures and the contexts for multicultural teaching.  Candidates explore core values of multicultural education in relation to curriculum models, school conditions and climates, and learning styles theory. They analyze the meaning of culture, race, cultural assimilation, pluralism, and the nature of prejudice. They learn about theories of ethnic identity development, dynamics of race relations, and guidelines for understanding cultural differences.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:

  • Examine the contexts for multicultural teaching
  • Develop cultural consciousness and intercultural competence
  • Identify and explain the terms and definitions underlining multicultural theory: identity, equity, assimilation, pluralism, marginalization, ideology, etc.
  • Analyze the self, the school, and society in relation to the goals of multicultural education
  • Evaluate the culture of a school and how it directly affects the students’ academic and social growth
  • Develop a historical understanding of various racial and ethnic groups
  • Better understand differences in individual and cultural styles of learning
  • Integrate multicultural theory into curriculum and instruction


Lecture: Introduction: Multicultural Perspectives and School Climate

Lecture: Defining Multicultural Education


  • Discuss the historical origins of multiculturalism
  • Identify the difference between pluralism and multiculturalism
  • Analyze the core values, goals, and genres of multicultural education
  • Identify with the need for multicultural education in our schools


Lecture: Defining Culture 


  • Define the broad and specific aspects of human culture
  • Analyze how the fields of archaeology and anthropology led to the current development of cultural studies
  • Examine how key anthropologists defined cultural theories
  • Identify the multiple ways in which cultures differ from each other
  • Discuss how cultural differences can occur and how to overcome cultural conflicts in the context of schools


Lecture: Defining Race and Ethnicity


  • Question the difference between the term “race” and the term “ethnicity”
  • Determine how race is an arbitrary social construct that changes historically over time and across various spatial planes
  • Analyze the historical and scientific origins of race and race relations
  • Define how we categorize each other by race
  • Examine the cognitive processes underlying racial prejudice
  • Question the role of race in contemporary American education


Lecture: The European Immigrant Experience


  • Define the Protestant Ideology and the Anglo-American culture
  • Compare and contrast the various waves and groups of European immigrants
  • Address the question: “How is cultural assimilation different from cultural pluralism?”
  • Examine the universal theme of human migration and its push-pull factors across time and space
  • Determine how different forms of capital provided leverage and mobility for the various European immigrant groups
  • Discuss how xenophobia and nativism affected immigrant groups back then and even now
  • Avoid the dangers of essentialism by examining differences even within each European immigrant group such as Jewish Americans


Lecture: The African American Experience 


  • Define the various phases of African American history
  • Examine the effects of slavery and segregation on the schooling of African American students
  • Describe the idea of “dual consciousness” within the African American identity
  • Analyze the achievement gap dilemma in American schools


Lecture: The Native American Experience

Lecture: The Latino American Experience


  • Examine the great degree of variance amongst various Native American groups based on culture, language and physical appearance
  • Apply the term “genocide” to the history of Native Americans
  • See how biases and stereotypes of Native Americans still persist today
  • Analyze concerns facing Native American students today
  • Examine the teaching of Native American history and culture in the classroom
  • Analyze how various Latino groups have had different histories and therefore different immigrant experiences
  • Closely examine Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puerto Ricans
  • Understand how language and cultural differences affect Latino American students
  • Examine how political issues affect the education of Latino American students
  • Compare and contrast ESL education and bilingual education models and programs
  • Analyze how humans acquire language, the language learning process, and the stages of language development
  • Absorb a list of top ten things to do as a mainstream classroom teacher with an English Language Learner 


Lecture: The Asian American Experience

Lecture: Muslim and Arab Americans


  • Identify the various Asian American immigrant groups within American history
  • Discover the pattern of migration for Asian American groups
  • Examine the various waves of Asian immigration and how they differed immensely
  • Analyze how anti-Asian-American legislation led to the prohibition, removal, and segregation of this immigrant group
  • Evaluate myths, stereotypes, and discrimination targeted towards Asian Americans
  • Apply the assimilation versus acculturation model to Asian Americans
  • Distinguish between Muslim Americans and Arab Americans
  • Examine the early origins of Muslim immigrants
  • Compare the three waves of Muslim Americans
  • Compare and contrast Islam, Christianity, and Judaism
  • Discuss the basics of Muslim beliefs and practices
  • Distinguish the various waves of Arab American immigrants
  • Analyze how current political events affect Muslim and Arab American children in the classroom 


Lecture: Learning Style and Individual Student Characteristics


  • Discuss the contrast between cultural differences and individual differences based on learning styles
  • Categorize and classify various types and modes of learning theory
  • Examine how other aspects of one’s identity such as gender and special needs can affect one’s learning just as much as race, culture, and language
  • Analyze how psychological concepts of motivation and self-esteem can also affect learning
  • Discuss how family structures and conditions at home can also affect learning 

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. October 2011