The concept of multicultural education

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The concept of multicultural education has recently become one of the most debated topics in the field of education. The historical origin of this approach can be traced back to the civil rights movements when African Americans and other historically oppressed minorities challenged discriminatory educational practices in the 1960s (Davidman and Davidman, 1997).


It emphasizes the need to prepare students for their responsibilities in an international interdependent world, recognizes the role educational institutions can play in building up the attitudes, norms and values necessary for a genuinely democratic society, and challenges all forms of discriminatory attitudes in education (Banks & Banks, 1995). The common definition reflects these basic functions of multicultural education: "Multicultural education is a field of study and an emerging discipline whose major aim is to create equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups. One of its important goals is to help all students to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to function effectively in a pluralistic democratic society and to interact, negotiate, and communicate with peoples from diverse groups in order to create a civic and moral community that works for the common good" (Banks and Banks, 1995, p.xi).
Multicultural education encompasses several major dimensions. James A. Banks, one of the most influential and renowned multiculturalist, outlines five of them: integration, knowledge construction, prejudice reduction, equity pedagogy, and an empowering school culture (Banks, 2003). ...
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