What is Multicultural/Diverse Perspective Instruction?

The United States is becoming an increasingly pluralistic country. The traditional numerics of "majority" and "minority" are rapidly changing (Hodgkinson, 1985). Many educators, sensitive to the needs of students who must be able to function emotionally and academically in our pluralistic society, recognize the need to expose students to instruction based on multicultural/diverse perspectives - that is to say, instruction that is not limited to an Anglo-American perspective (Duff & Tongchinsub, 1990).

According to Banks (1990), multicultural/diverse perspective instruction is comprised of three different and important dimensions. The three dimensions are related to content integration, knowledge construction, and an equity pedagogy. A brief description of each dimension follows:

Content Integration

Sensitive, accurate, and non-biased content representing a variety of cultures and groups should be used to illustrate key concepts, principles, generalizations, and theories.

Knowledge Construction

As students construct knowledge about the content, they must be helped to view concepts, issues, and problems from diverse cultural perspectives. The mainstream-centric perspective is only one of several perspectives from which concepts, issues, or problems are viewed.

An Equity Pedagogy

To ensure equity for all students, teachers must modify their teaching in ways that will facilitate the academic achievement of students from diverse racial, cultural, gender, and social-class groups.
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