Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Curriculum trends are changing due to the increasing needs for better understanding of the material and also because of the rise in technology. These changes necessitate the changes that are being witnessed by in the educational sector. Cultural pluralism is an educational curriculum trend change that has been integrated into the core of educational systems so that the diversities in class, races and gender can be studied. There are several issues that arise from the above diversities whether be it in the American, Asian or other western countries. cultural pluralism means different things to different people with some referring to the cultural diversities, others on the social problems brought about by the cultural differences such as unequal political power, oppression and other forms of inequality for instance in the allocation of economic resources. Cultural pluralism helps in painting the right picture for the human experiences which may be alien to the learner (Humphreys, 1998). The essay will focus on curriculum change towards integration cultural pluralism in the educational system. Social realities that are prevailing in the American society for example the great diversity in cultures, races and social structures calls for an educational system that embraces all this changes in the society. There are an increasing number of colored people in the American society than there was three decades ago thus the interaction between individual has also changed. It should be noted that the Eurocentric values still are dominant in the formal sectors of the American society thus the call for the need to change the curriculum to reflect the realities. The Eurocentric middle class ideals such as law and order, marital partner choices along the ethnic, social and even racial lines are still prevalent in the American society. The segregation of settlements in the American towns is also an issue that the change of curriculum can deal with. The suburban neighborhoods consisting of people of one race have arisen due to the lack of realization and appreciation of the strengths that lies in the diversity. Cultural pluralism also acts to dispel the wrong notion of America as the melting pot of all cultures thus a single culture which is homogenous should be accepted by all. This has had a demeaning effect on ethnicities which have very distinct cultures from the others. The increasing globalization and the participation of the United States in the world issues thus call for the citizen to be in a position to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. Diplomacy is a field that has arisen from the recognition of the roles of the different cultures and how the people who hold those beliefs can live with the others in peace (Brantmeier, Aragon, & Folkestad, 2011) The trend has also been necessitated by the need for cultural and human development. The priority of the system of education is to treat all the learners equally as human regardless of their cultural backgrounds and this can only be made possible through the creation of environments where people understand and appreciate the differences that they possess. When the instructors become aware of the diverse cultures and recognize that the individuals are what they are because of their cultures, they could help in dispelling the prejudices in the behaviors of individuals. The trend has also been necessitated by the recognition that teaching and learning are part of cultural processes that are carried out in a social environment. Schools being a sub part of the bigger society should reflect the diversities that exist in the society. However, this is not the case as most schools use codes of student behavior, norms, power holding and other administrative arrangements which are similar to the Eurocentric cultural ideals. This kind of educational pattern gives an undue advantage to students of the Anglo origins over the students from the other cultures. The instructors and other teachers should recognize that their values and belief system are not universal thus should not be used as the ideal measure of behavior. The tools for making decision in the schools should be those that reflect cultural pluralism in the student body (Bandarin, Hosagrahar & Albernaz, 2011). The trend of cultural pluralism has been greatly beneficial for the educational system in America. First, it has led to value and attitude clarification. The students will be made to understand people as individuals to avoid the lumping as members of a particular group. This type of education will dispel the prejudices brought against individuals in terms of culture, races and help the students in differentiating the truth about particular cultures from myth. For instance the blacks in America have been regarded as lazy because of the high unemployment rates among them. The clarification of the ethnic beliefs of the different individuals is important for the realization of the potentials that they hold which are important for the continued development of the country (Hilliard & Pine, 1990). Secondly, the development of the cultural and ethnic literacy is an important by-product of this new curriculum trend. When the different cultures are studied, the contributions and histories that have been non-existent in the curriculum can get a chance to be included. The instructional materials is some instances have been inaccurate and biased towards some particular cultures thus the aim of this trend is to change them to the right positions. In America, the African American’s contributions has often been by passed when the contributors to the freedom of the nation is being studied. Such skewed depiction of histories is one of the reasons which brought about the curriculum trend change (Gravier, & Farris, 2008). Cultural pluralism also helps in promoting skill proficiency for instance there was a higher failure rates by American Indians and the Hispanics under the traditional curriculum which was mostly related to ethnic issues rather than their inability to grasp issues. Since students have the ways in which they learn in their communities, when they are introduced to a learning process that is different from what they know, they will be potential conflicts and thus poor outcomes. The contents of the educational system and syllabi should be that which the students can relate to culturally. The student’s ownership of the learning process is achieved greatly when the students see things in the classroom which they can associate with (Humphreys, 1998; Bandarin, Hosagrahar & Albernaz, 2011). An example of the use of cultural pluralism in the curriculum is at State University of New York-Buffalo where a course about American pluralism and the search for inequality was introduced. The students noted that the effects of the course went past the classroom to their social lives and how they relate with each other in the diverse society. They reported that they are in a position to discuss sensitive cultural issues that they could not attempt to before the course was taken. The students of the class were more informed about the issues of the different races and thus were at the fore front to dispel myths about the different races in the discussions that they had (Humphreys, 1998) In conclusion, there is no one technique that can be used to achieve excellence with the use of cultural pluralism. However, it’s important to note the great role that the recognition of the cultural diversities of the different students plays in the realization of the country’s educational goals. The school environment should be that which recognizes the differences in the learners and work on ways in which their cultures can be incorporated into the learning process. References Bandarin, F.; Hosagrahar, J. & Albernaz, F. (2011) "Why development needs culture", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 1 Iss: 1, pp.15 – 25. Brantmeier, E; Aragon, A. & Folkestad, J. (2011) "Examining collaborative learning modalities (CLM): critical multicultural education online”, Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 5 Iss: 1, pp.5 – 18 Gravier, M. & Farris, M. T. (2008) "An analysis of logistics pedagogical literature: Past and future trends in curriculum, content, and pedagogy", International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 19 Iss: 2, pp.233 – 253. Hilliard, A. & Pine, G. (1990). “Rx for Racism: Imperatives for American's schools”, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 71 (8): 593 - 600. Humphreys, D. (1998). Diversity and The College Curriculum: How Colleges & Universities Are Preparing Students For a Changing World. Retrieved on 08/26/2011 from http://www.diversityweb.org/diversity_innovations/curriculum_change/principles_and_practices/curriculum_briefing.cfm