Multi-Culti Is the Key
‘My dream would be a multicultural society, one that is diverse and where every man, woman and child are treated equally. I dream of a world where all people of all races work together in harmony. ‘/Nelson Mandela/
Nowadays our classrooms are more culturally diverse than ever before. As educators working with culturally-different learners we need to adjust our teaching practices to build a culture of mutual respect – when starting at schools with young kids we can make Nelson Mandela’s dream come true, creating a multicultural society based on diversity and equality.
Black and White, Ossendreiwer, Ilan,
1985, National Library of Israel, CC BY.
Give Them Five
James A. Banks, considered the father of multicultural education, has distinguished five dimensions of multicultural education, namely, content integration, the knowledge construction process, prejudice reduction, an equity pedagogy, and an empowering school culture and social structure. Using teaching materials referring to various cultures, helping students understand how to construct knowledge avoiding prejudice, developing positive racial attitudes, incorporating cooperative activities integrating different groups and, finally, proving such a school environment that offers equal educational opportunities to all students are the factors that multicultural education is based on. Thus, the model seems to be fully consistent with Sustainable Development Goal 4 mission statement, ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’
Multiculturalism on Europeana
If you are an educator searching for materials that will help you make your students open-minded, unprejudiced individuals who will constitute a stable pillar of a multicultural society working together in harmony, Europeana is definitely a place for you to visit. Why don’t you start with the rich collections on Multiculturalism or Diversity & Inclusion? European Identities also provide a wealth of information on European cultures and history. Moreover, if planning to make your students familiar with the beauty resulting from the diversity of European cultures, you will easily find numerous examples in the following galleries: European Landscapes and Landmarks, National Parks of Europe, Bridges of Europe, Churches and Cathedrals as well as European Folk Costumes. While browsing Europeana, I was really surprised to find out that more than sixty cities across Europe have held, since 1985, the European Capital of Culture title– visit the gallery to check out if your hometown is among them.
Unity in Diversity
Experienced in working with students coming from different cultural backgrounds, Europeana educators emphasize the significance of such educational activities that develop their students’ knowledge of different cultures by means of collaborative tasks conducted by diverse groups. Some examples of learning scenarios based on the above-mentioned idea include: Culture: a Unifying and Diversifying Element, Rasing Awareness about Refugees Inclusion, You Are Welcome, Globalization, National and European Identity or We Speak Different Languages but Our Hearts Are the Same. I can also highly recommend the resource containing the Scavenger Hunt that is based on the Celebrations in Europe exhibition – your students will learn a lot about various traditions and customs across Europe that constitute our common European heritage.
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. /Mahatma Gandhi/
You may say Nelson Mandela dreamt big and I am a big dreamer myself. Thus, I have no doubt: as educators, we are good at preparing our students for passing tests – with our help they will pass this one as well!
By Katarzyna Siwczak, Europeana Education Ambassador
Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Falbygdens museum.
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