Multicultural Considerations in Early Learning

Abstract

This article is devoted to studying the influence of the multicultural approach in early education on student performance. Globalization leads to a noticeable increase in cultural diversity in society. Multicultural methodology becomes an inseparable part of modern educational systems and provides a wide variety of opportunities. The paper discusses the term multicultural education and its possible benefits. It also explores the primary principles and dimensions of multicultural education. This paper suggests that the implementation of multicultural practices in early education may improve student performance.

Introduction

As globalization continues, society becomes more and more diverse. Cultural and ethnic aspects become a prime consideration in a wide variety of fields, including education. There is a list of education concepts regarding these cultural aspects, including bicultural, cross-cultural, intercultural, and trans-cultural education, which form the basis of multicultural concepts (Manning et al., 2017). The American population undergoes significant changes with essential growth in African American, Asian, and Native American populations. These populations require access to high-quality education services that take cultural background into consideration. Therefore, it may be necessary to introduce a multicultural approach to education in all age categories and particularly in early education.

It may be highly beneficial to implement five educational dimensions as soon as possible in order to provide a basis for further education. These dimensions include content integration, knowledge construction, prejudice reduction, equity pedagogy, and empowering school culture (Banks & McGee Banks, 2020). Some of these principles may considerably correlate with the educational attainment of pupils in a multicultural environment. Therefore, the implementation of multicultural practices in early education may improve student performance.

Multicultural Approach to Student Performance Improvement

As already mentioned, American society undergoes a considerable change in terms of raising cultural diversity. Furthermore, international students from all over the globe with distinct cultural backgrounds come to the US to find opportunities for obtaining a high-quality education. It may be vital to help the students who represent different cultures to acknowledge their differences and respect each other. Implementing a multicultural approach to education may provide considerable benefits for future generations. First, it may maintain a healthy climate for student socialization. It may be critical to address the cultural diversity of children in order to achieve that goal. Second, it may contribute to the development of student confidence and communication, which, consequently, may improve student performance (Alghamdi, 2017). Third, building healthy relationships between the students by providing a multicultural approach may allow the classmates to use their cultural backgrounds as learning opportunities and share knowledge. Hence, introducing a respectful attitude to racial and ethnic aspects may be an essential part of learning environment improvement.

It has been argued that it is best not to implement multicultural approaches during early childhood and address the issue in adolescence. However, according to some sources children under 3 are able to develop self-identity and may not be free from prejudice (Abdullah, 2009). Therefore, it might be necessary to introduce multicultural practices during early childhood. In addition, it may be possible to teach multicultural principles to children with higher efficiency than to adults. Moreover, maintaining social justice may be an essential part of multicultural education. According to some sources, enforcing human rights and preventing discrimination may have a positive impact on student performance (Cho, 2017). Multicultural education may not only influence learning achievements but also provide opportunities for socialization and a healthy learning climate establishment.

Decreasing Language Barriers

Language barriers have a significant negative influence on the quality of communication. Even though the language is a considerable part of the culture and should be treated with respect, it may be necessary to provide sufficient learning opportunities to study English to international students. Multicultural education prevents social stratification, as it unites people by acknowledging their differences. Teaching English in early education may significantly contribute to the achievement of such a goal. Even though it may not always address the cultural background of the students, it provides communication opportunities and maintains student performance. Moreover, it may be beneficial for students to obtain sufficient knowledge of English in terms of further education. According to recent research, language barriers have a considerable negative impact on student performance (Akhmetova et al., 2020). Hence, it may be necessary to implement a multicultural approach in order to maintain strong English skills on the domestic level.

However, education should also take other languages into consideration as the system is often “ideologically biased” towards languages. It may be necessary to focus not only on teaching English but also to address native languages. Distinct practices such as sharing knowledge regarding native languages and using cultural differences as learning subjects may have positive consequences. Various sources also state that it is critical to introduce an individual approach while teaching languages (Akhmetova et al., 2020). Bilingual education should become a significant concern for early childhood education facilities. According to recent research, teaching multiple languages does not always cause confusion and literacy underdevelopment and may provide considerable advantages (Abdullah, 2009). Hence, it is vital to develop comprehensive language-related frameworks in early childhood education.

Dimensions of Multicultural Education

As mentioned before, there are five dimensions that should be addressed in early multicultural education. Some of these dimensions have a direct positive impact on student performance. For instance, the principle of equity pedagogy provides equal learning opportunities and fair assessment regardless of racial or cultural differences. Such teaching techniques may considerably improve academic achievement. Furthermore, multicultural education may have several positive effects outside of the educational system. For example, a multicultural approach may decrease prejudice by developing tolerant attitudes between students of different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups. Such prejudice reduction may be beneficial not only during the learning process but also on a wider social level. Students may demonstrate a respectful attitude both at school and out of school. A recent study shows that multicultural education offers the required equity and respect to all children (Nikawanti, 2017). Furthermore, it may be beneficial to address prejudice during early childhood, as children might be more flexible in terms of understanding multicultural aspects. Insufficient attention to prejudice reduction may lead to misunderstanding and conflicts between diverse groups in society.

Conclusion

Cultural diversity plays a considerable role in modern American society. It may be vital to address ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural differences at all levels of education. It may be particularly important to implement a multicultural approach to early education as it serves as a basis for further education. Maintaining a healthy environment, self-awareness, and respectful and tolerant attitudes may be highly beneficial in terms of both education and global social issues. Multicultural education also addresses such practical matters as language barriers and miscommunication. Minimizing the effect of such problems may significantly improve student performance. Moreover, treating cultural aspects with respect may provide additional learning opportunities. Conclusively, it may be necessary to implement a multicultural approach to early education not to miss the numerous opportunities it offers.

References

Abdullah, A. C. (2009). Multicultural education in early childhood: Issues and challenges. Journal of International Cooperation in Education12(1), 159-175.

Akhmetova, A., Gamper, J., & Dalbergenova, L. (2020). The problem of overcoming the language barrier when learning a foreign language in higher education institutions. Bulletin of the Karaganda University. Pedagogy Series100(4), 104–114. Web.

Alghamdi, Y. (2017). Multicultural education in the US: Current issues and suggestions for practical implementations. International Journal of Education9(2), 44. Web.

Banks, J. A., & McGee Banks, C. A. (Eds.). (2020). Multicultural education issues and perspectives (10th ed.). Wiley.

Cho, H. (2017). Navigating the meanings of social justice, teaching for social justice, and multicultural education. International Journal of Multicultural Education19(2), 1. Web.

Manning, M. L., Baruth, L. G., & Lee, G. L. (2017). Multicultural education of children and adolescents. Routledge.

Nikawanti, G. (2017). Multicultural Education for Early Childhood. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Early Childhood Education (ICECE 2016). Web.

Multicultural Considerations in Early Learning

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