We live in an increasingly diverse society, one in which being an American can mean many things. This diversity is especially apparent in our public schools. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics predicts that children of color will make up 56% of students in public schools by the fall of 2029.
As a result of this demographic shift, educators across the country have begun to develop more inclusive curricula that address their students’ cultural backgrounds. By swapping the outdated “colorblind” approach for a “color aware” model, teachers encourage students to share their experiences and become more accepting of one another’s perspectives.
If you want help incorporating a multicultural educational program into your school’s classrooms, please consider Positive Action, a complete multicultural curriculum for students in preschools, elementary schools, and secondary schools.
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Our socially-focused multicultural curriculum aims to reduce bias by teaching students that we feel good about ourselves when we do positive actions, which include treating others how we want to be treated—regardless of cultural backgrounds.
By emphasizing values like empathy and respect, the Positive Action model effectively teaches students to understand people from a variety of cultures. Through stories and role-playing exercises, students learn that living among people with different backgrounds makes our world a better place.
Teaching students to treat each other kindly leads them to see life from other people’s perspectives, gaining a better understanding of those from different cultural groups.
Our multicultural curriculum for the youngest students begins with two hedgehog puppets, Squeak and Mimi, who meet new friends from totally different cultures. Throughout a story complete with helpful visual materials, the characters recognize that they must get along to live in harmony.
From kindergarten through fifth grade, the Positive Action educational content features human characters in relatable social situations, like learning how to make friends in a foreign community. Students learn that they can create meaningful friendships anywhere. As a result, they develop positive feelings about people from many different cultures.
Using teaching materials that describe fictional scenarios, students address issues that they face in their classrooms and discuss them using critical thinking skills. The eighth-grade curriculum concludes with a challenge to “broaden your horizons” as a way to encourage students to explore diverse perspectives and understand people from different groups.
The content for our oldest group of students consists of four kits that you can complete in any order. Rather than storybook teaching materials, these curricula incorporate a variety of formats for different learning styles, including creative projects, community service, and peer leadership. In the latter, all of the students have the chance to be leaders as they teach each other about ideas like the Golden Rule—a concept with a deep history in more than 270 cultures.
Each Positive Action kit includes the materials for two free, downloadable sample lessons from our multicultural education curriculum.
As an evidence-based curriculum, the Positive Action multicultural education program results in tangible improvements that teachers can see among their students, including:
Learn the ways that students, teachers, and communities across the nation have used Positive Action’s multicultural education program to create environments more accepting of diversity:
“What is helpful is that the Positive Action program is compatible with our Native American values and ethics. We want to celebrate who we are and improve on that.” –Marlene Harrell, principal and federal programs administrator at the Frazer School District (Frazer, MT)
“Positive Action teaches empathy and acceptance of others. It provides a foundation for the children to fall back on when there is a situation that happens on the playground or when there is a new student.” –Suzee Fujihara, teacher at Lihikai Elementary (Lihikai, HI)
Compared to other multicultural education programs, Positive Action provides the most content, meets the most state and national standards, and offers the most support, training, teaching, and learning resources.
Multicultural education focuses on students’ development of a broader understanding of our diverse world. Students learn to value one another’s cultural history and appreciate diverse perspectives.
The teachers play a major role in this educational model. They listen to students’ experiences and address both social and institutional inequalities between different cultural groups, helping everyone understand the challenges their peers face and the accomplishments they’ve achieved.
This diversity-centric curriculum helps students feel understood and empowered to succeed within the classroom and beyond. Experts refer to multicultural education as a process because educators should constantly work toward reaching these goals.
In particular, multicultural education covers five important areas:
Content integration: Teachers must include the history, concepts, and values of a variety of cultures in their educational content.
Knowledge construction: Educators must reevaluate their perspectives and construct new, bias-free alternatives.
Equity pedagogy: In education, equity means providing students in different groups with the resources they need to achieve an equal outcome.
Bias reduction: Teachers must help students become more accepting of people different from them.
School culture empowerment: The school’s guiding beliefs and values must include cultural acceptance.
By eliminating bias within the walls of the classroom, educators will help students emerge better prepared to interact with diverse groups in a variety of social and professional settings. Learning about and accepting other cultures will serve them well whether they plan to attend a university or enter the workforce immediately after graduation.
On the flipside, multicultural inclusion is critical to making members of minority groups feel welcome and safe in an American education setting, as well as in society at large.
Society itself will benefit, too. Learning about others’ cultural experiences in the classroom will inhibit the development and spread of prejudice going forward—a must for societal growth.
Whether they teach preschool or university students, educators can do many things to create a multicultural education experience, including the following:
Recognize biases: Knowing what bias looks like—be it racial, religious, or otherwise—means being able to spot it in your students as well as in yourself. Teachers must work toward rooting out these harmful perspectives.
Value students’ life experiences: Encouraging students to share their experiences is critical to exposing their peers to other perspectives as well as providing the sharers with powerful validation.
Understand students’ learning styles: Students process information in a variety of ways, including visual, auditory, and tactile methods. Education should incorporate all styles to reach all students.
Include other cultures in your teaching materials: Educators must teach their students about the history and vibrancy of other cultures. Teaching students about other backgrounds may involve assigning cultural content to read, presentations about family traditions, and other projects.
If you want to see how Positive Action can encourage your students to learn about and embrace others’ perspectives, please let us know when you’re available for a webinar, and we’ll help you introduce our multicultural education program to your classroom.
Of course, you can always contact us via phone, chat, or email as well.