Raising multicultural awareness of fifth grade students through multicultural education program
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In the pluralistic society that we live in now students should develop acceptance and appreciation for different cultures. A change to the current curriculum is needed for students to develop the necessary global awareness to allow them to succeed in a global society. The reason for the needed change is that the current multicultural resources available focus on superficial issues such as food, holidays, and clothing. This study developed a program for multicultural education based on children’s literature, current events and reflections for fifth grade students for nine days. The increase in multicultural awareness of the studied students was measured through constant comparative analysis of researcher’s and teacher class observations, students’ written responses, and students’ feedback. The analysis revealed the emergence of four themes: First, students enjoy learning about different cultures. Second, students are sympathetic to the main characters in the stories and they place themselves in their unique situations. Third, students believe making judgments about others based on personal pre-conceptions is wrong. Fourth, students believe bullying is wrong and only befriend bullies as a form of protection against them. Recommendation for future studies include using discussion to facilitate learning, incorporating technology into the classroom, and evaluating professional workshops for in-service teachers that address multicultural issues.