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Beyond Celebrating Diversity: Creating Equitable Learning Environments w/ Multicultural Education By Paul C. Gorski March 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Beyond Celebrating Diversity: Creating Equitable Learning Environments w/ Multicultural Education By Paul C. Gorski March 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beyond Celebrating Diversity: Creating Equitable Learning Environments w/ Multicultural Education
By Paul C. Gorski March 2007

2 I. Introduction: Who We Are
Who is in the room? My background and lenses Beyond the Shaded Box - Gorski

3 I. Introduction: Agenda
Introductory Blabber Starting Assumptions Warm-Up Activity Conceptualizing Multicultural Education Dimensions of Equity in a Learning Environment

4 I. Introduction: Agenda Cont’d
Inclusion/Exclusion Intro. to Multicultural Curriculum Stages of Multicultural Curriculum Development

5 I. Introduction: Primary Arguments
Multicultural education, at its heart, is about creating equitable and just learning environments for all people in a learning community It is about curriculum, and it’s about more than curriculum Being a multicultural educator involves shifts of consciousness that inform comprehensive shifts in practice

6 I. Introduction: Primary Arguments
4. Much of the work that goes into eliminating the achievement gap is misguided, and creates more inequity than equity 5. There is something we can do about it

7 I. Introduction: Objectives
Develop deep understanding of the process of creating an equitable learning environment Connect curriculum development to pedagogy, classroom climate, and context for a broad vision of “equitable learning environment”

8 I. Introduction: Warning!!!
I do not have any of the following: “The” multicultural curriculum formula or workbook, A tidy set of activities for you to implement in your classroom tomorrow, or A single book or poster or video that will make any classroom “multicultural.”

9 I. Introduction: However…
I do have all of the following: A framework for thinking complexly and critically about educational equity, Strategies for creating equitable learning environments based on your curricular and pedagogical expertise, and Some difficult, sometimes even uncomfortable, questions about what is and what could be in education.

10 I. Introduction: Consciousness of a Multicultural Educator
You will get the most out of this workshop if: You allow yourself to be challenged. You react openly to cognitive dissonance. You acknowledge your own great expertise. You acknowledge your need for even greater expertise. You challenge yourself to think deeply and critically.

11 II. Starting Assumptions

12 II. Starting Assumption #1
All students deserve the best possible education we can provide, regardless of: Socioeconomic status or class Gender Religion Citizenship status (Dis)ability Race or ethnicity Sexual Orientation Etc.

13 II. Starting Assumption #2
Educational equity is deeper than simple curricular content Pedagogy Assessment Classroom/School Climate Distribution of Power

14 II. Starting Assumption #3
Education is NOT politically neutral We decide which readings and activities to use in class We decide how students are to be assessed We decide engage (or don’t engage) students in the learning process And so on...

15 II. Starting Assumption #4
The problem of educational inequity is one of consciousness, not only one of practice Impossibility of implementing a multicultural education if one doesn’t think and see multiculturally Even with a great curriculum, I cannot teach against racism if I am a racist Shaking free from traditional models of teaching and learning (and asking, “to whose benefit..?”)

16 II. Starting Assumption #5
The “achievement gap” is not as much an “achievement gap” as an “opportunity gap”

17 II. Starting Assumption #6
A single teacher cannot undo systemic inequities in the school system or larger society. But at the very least we can make sure we’re not replicating those inequities in our own curricula and pedagogies.

18 II. Starting Assumption #7
Gross inequities exist in our public schools And these inequities, and the resulting achievement gap, will not be eliminated by Taco Night, the International Fair, or other activities that, however fun, do not address racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and other oppressions in educational policy and practice.

19 II. Starting Assumption #7: Gross Inequities
Compared with low-poverty U.S. schools, high-poverty U.S. schools have: More teachers teaching in areas outside their certification subjects; More serious teacher turnover problems; More teacher vacancies; Larger numbers of substitute teachers; More limited access to computers and the Internet; Inadequate facilities (such as science labs);

20 II. Starting Assumption #7: Gross Inequities (cont’d)
More dirty or inoperative bathrooms; More evidence of vermin such as cockroaches and rats; Insufficient classroom materials Less rigorous curricula; Fewer experienced teachers; Lower teacher salaries; Larger class sizes; and Less funding.

21 II. Starting Assumption #7: Gross Inequities (references)
Barton, P.E. (2004). Why does the gap persist? Educational Leadership 62(3), 8-13. Barton, P.E. (2003). Parsing the achievement gap: Baselines for tracking progress. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Carey, K. (2005). The funding gap 2004: Many states still shortchange low-income and minority students. Washington, D.C.: The Education Trust. National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (2004). Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education: A two-tiered education system. Washington, D.C.: Author. Rank, M.R. (2004). One nation, underprivileged: Why American poverty affects us all. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

22 Warm-Up Activity Morning Calisthenics

23 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
Contextualizing Multicultural Curriculum

24 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
How do you define multicultural education? Twos or threes Quick report back Where do you get your perceptions about what multicultural education is?

25 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
Multicultural education is a movement and process for creating an equitable and just learning environment for all students Definitions vary, but five key principles are agreed upon across the literature

26 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
Principle #1 Multicultural education is a political movement that attempts to secure social justice for individuals and communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, home language, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, religion, socioeconomic status, or any other individual or group identity.

27 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
Principle #2 Multicultural education recognizes that, while some individual classroom practices are consistent with multicultural education philosophies, social justice is an institutional matter, and as such, can be secured only through comprehensive reform.

28 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
Principle #3 Multicultural education insists that comprehensive reform can be achieved only through a critical analysis of systems of power and privilege.

29 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
Principle #4 The underlying goal of multicultural education—the purpose of this critical analysis—is to provide every student with an opportunity to achieve to her or his fullest capability.

30 III. Conceptualizing Multicultural Education
Principle #5 Multicultural education is good education for all students.

31 IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education

32 IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education
Adapted from the work of Maurianne Adams and Barbara J. Love (2006).

33 IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education
1. What Students Bring to the Classroom Past educational experiences (it’s not always all about us) Complex identities, prejudices, biases Expectations about the roles of students and teachers Varying learning styles, intelligences, ways of illustrating learning

34 IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education
2. What We Bring to the Classroom Complex socializations, identities, biases, and prejudices Notions about the purposes of education and our roles as teachers A teaching style, often related to our own preferred learning styles and how we’ve been taught

35 IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education
3. Curriculum Content Course materials: Who’s represented in readings, examples, illustrations Perspective and worldview: Whose voices are centered, whose are “other”ed Is content, whenever possible, made relevant to the lives of the students? What is the “hidden curriculum”? Are multicultural issues addressed explicitly?

36 IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education
4. Pedagogy Focus on critical, complex thinking and asking critical questions Paying attention to inequity in classroom processes Attending to sociopolitical relationships (power and privilege) in the classroom Acknowledging student knowledge through problem-posing, dialogue, and general student-centeredness Using authentic assessment techniques

37 Seeing the Intersections: A Narrative Activity
Inclusion and Exclusion in Our Educations

38 V. Student Outcomes & Equitable Practice

39 V. Student Outcomes Clarifications
We can work toward these outcomes in individual classes, but usually they’re reachable only through systemic reform. So the question for all of us is, How can I within my context contribute to moving students toward these outcomes? Because multicultural education is as much about unlearning as about learning, it’s a process, not an immediate transformation.

40 V. Student Outcomes Outcome #1
Students will think critically, particularly about those things they’ve been taught previously not to think critically about. Examples: Consumer culture, US foreign policy, technology as the “great equalizer”

41 V. Student Outcomes Outcome #2
Students will have considered their own biases and prejudices, worked to understand where those biases and prejudices come from, and identified strategies for continued reflective learning. Examples: Racism, sexism, US-centrism

42 V. Student Outcomes Outcome #3
Students will understand how every field of knowledge can be used both to oppress people and to promote social justice. Examples: Eugenics v. environmental justice movement; the Eurocentric literary canon v. critical studies

43 V. Student Outcomes Outcome #4
Students will understand how to apply skills and knowledge to real-world problems. Examples: Applying engineering to urban planning; applying arts to social activism; applying computer science to political organizing

44 V. Student Outcomes Outcome #5
Students will feel empowered to continue seeking knowledge related to course content. Examples: Taking additional classes in an area of interest, pursuing their own growth, etc.

45 V. Student Outcomes Outcome #6
Because they have seen themselves and their lives reflected in coursework, students won’t see their identities as detrimental to a possible interest in a particular field. Examples: Women identifying as future engineers; men identifying as future teachers; students of color identifying as future scientists

46 V. Student Outcomes Outcome #7
Students will see their lives and work as interconnected to the lives of the full diversity of humanity. Examples: Wealthy US students recognizing the connection between their consumption and poverty in other parts of the world.

47 VI. How We Get There: The Equitable Learning Environment

48 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
Part 1: What Your Students Bring to the Classroom

49 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom A. Find ways to challenge stereotypes (both in society and your own field) Example: Albert Einstein as a white, male scientist who wrote very progressive essays about racism, imperialism, etc.

50 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom B. Watch for and challenge student behaviors and relationships that reflect stereotypical roles Example: Men assuming the lead in lab activities, women being “note-taker” in small groups

51 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom C. Be thoughtful about how you create cooperative teams or small groups Example: Avoid temptation to “distribute” people from under-represented groups (tokenism)

52 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom D. Understand students’ reactions to you and your social identities in context Example: Even if you don’t think much about your whiteness (for example), it may mean something significant to students of color who may only rarely not have white professors

53 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom E. Help students un-learn the ways of being and seeing that lend themselves to prejudice Example: Dichotomous thinking, competitive nature of learning (NOTE: this also means WE have to un-learn)

54 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
Part 2: What You Bring to the Classroom

55 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom A. Identify and work to eliminate your biases, prejudices, and assumptions (yes, you do have them) about various groups of students Example: Race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, first language, etc.

56 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom B. Identify and work to broaden your teaching style (which, according to research, probably suits your learning style) Note: Research shows that two elements most effect how somebody teaches: (1) their preferred learning style, and (2) how they were taught what they’re teaching

57 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom C. Identify and work on your “hot buttons” Question: What are the issues that set you off to the point that you become an ineffective educator/facilitator?

58 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom D. Provide students with periodic opportunities to share anonymous feedback Note: Students already feeling disempowered and disconnected are not likely to approach you about your teaching or curriculum

59 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom E. Share examples of when you’ve struggled to climb out of the box and to see the world and your field in their full complexity Note: When we make ourselves vulnerable we make it easier for students to do the same

60 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom F. Consider the significance of the professor/student power relationship and what this means re: student learning Question: What might it mean to be a white male computer science professor teaching a young African American woman in a field historically hostile to African American women?

61 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom G. Identify the gaps in your knowledge about equity issues and pursue the information to fill those gaps Point: I cannot teach anti-classism if I’m unwilling to deal with my own classism

62 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom H. Build the skills necessary to intervene effectively when equity issues arise Examples: Racist joke or comment, sexual harassment, men talking over women

63 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom I. Mind your compliments Point: Research indicates that educators, regardless of gender, are most likely to compliment male students on their intelligence. Female students? On their appearance.

64 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
Part 3: Curriculum Content

65 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content A. Assign tasks that challenge traditional social roles Example: Assign men to be note-takers, women to be group facilitators

66 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content B. Try centering the sources you previously may have used as supplements Example: Slave narratives as central history texts instead of supplements to a more Eurocentric framing of history

67 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content C. Avoid other-ing; weave diverse voices and sources seamlessly together instead of having separate sections or units Example: No units on “women poets” or “Latino voices,” etc.

68 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content D. Discuss ways people in your field have used (and continue to use) their scholarship and platforms to advocate for social justice Examples: Leontyne Price, Howard Zinn, Stephen J. Gould, Ida B. Wells, Mark Twain

69 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content E. Discuss ways people in your field have used (and continue to use) their scholarship and platforms to support inequity and injustice Examples: “Science”: eugenics; “journalists”: refusal to critique Bush foreign policy during war-time; etc.

70 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content F. Discuss the history of oppression and exclusion in your field and how this has affected knowledge bases in your field Examples: Women and STEM fields (and law, business, etc.)

71 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content G. Vary your instructional materials as a way to draw in students with various learning styles Suggestion: Consider visual, tactile, aural, and other dimensions of your instructional materials Note: Doesn’t mean every lesson must include all of these, but that they’re distributed over the course of the semester

72 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
3. Curriculum Content H. Encourage students to raise critical questions, not only about the content itself, but about how the content is presented in educational materials Example: Use of male anatomy as “standard”; differentiation between “American literature” and “African American literature” (and misuse of the term “American”)

73 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
Part 4: Pedagogy

74 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy A. Be very clear about how you expect students to participate (open discussion, raised hands, etc.) Related suggestion: Avoid first-hand-up, first-called-on approach

75 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy B. Never, under any circumstance, invalidate or allow other students to invalidate concerns of inequity raised by students from disenfranchised groups

76 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy C. Avoid putting students from disenfranchised groups in positions to have to teach people from privileged groups about their privilege

77 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy D. Develop your facilitation skills so that you can effectively facilitate “difficult dialogues” about racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, etc. Note: When these dialogues happen, be comfortable advocating for equity

78 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy E. Design assignments that encourage students to apply what they’re learning to a human rights issue

79 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy F. Allow students, when possible, to choose how they will be assessed (as people don’t demonstrate understanding and application in the same ways) Example: Choice between an essay or an application project

80 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy G. Invite a colleague to observe your teaching and provide feedback on a variety of concerns

81 VI. The Equitable Learning Environment
4. Pedagogy H. Use peer teaching, peer feedback, and other peer interactions to provide students an opportunity to learn content through a variety of lenses

82 VII. Shifts of Consciousness for Multicultural Educators

83 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must be willing to think critically about the things about which I’ve been discouraged from thinking critically Capitalism, Consumer Culture, Globalization Two-party political system v. “democracy” Etc.

84 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must acknowledge that multicultural education is about creating equitable learning environments for all students, so I must be against all inequity

85 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must understand inequities as systemic and not just individual acts (and what this means in the context of my classroom)

86 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must transcend the idea of multicultural education as “learning about other cultures” and “celebrating diversity”

87 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must be willing to discomfort and unsettle myself and my students Institutional likeability

88 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must shift from an equality orientation toward multiculturalism to an equity orientation

89 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must move beyond the “objective facilitator” role and actively advocate for equity and justice Multicultural education is not about validating all perspectives

90 VI. Shifts of Consciousness
I must understand multicultural education as a comprehensive approach, not additional activities or slight shifts in an otherwise monocultural curriculum

91 Humility is the ability to see.
Closing Reflection Humility is the ability to see. -Terry Tempest Williams

92 Paul C. Gorski gorski@edchange.org http://www.edchange.org
Thank you. Paul C. Gorski


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