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They can do the most for children during the early years of learning, when kids are most impressionable.By engaging students in activities that follow the lines of their multicultural curriculum, they can open young minds while making learning fun.
This has, in turn, spun a great debate over multiculturalism.
Some of the issues under fire are the political state’s policies concerning multiculturalism, the attitudes of Canadians around these policies, immigration, the global market, and a central point is the education and how to present the material in a way so as to offend the least amount of people.
In 1980, the American school, Stanford University came up with a program – later known as the “Stanford-style multicultural curriculum” which aimed to familiarize students with traditions, philosophy, literature and history of the West.
The program consisted of fifteen required books by writers such as Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Aquinas, Marx and Freud.
(Banks 19) For example, it should be pointed out how early Canadians are most often called “pioneers” or “settlers” in social studies texts, while foreigners are called “immigrants”.
They should realize that to Natives, pioneers were actually the immigrants, but since the “pioneers” later went on to write the textbooks, it is not usually described that way.(Gould 1995: 198)Most people, from educators to philosophers, agree that an important first step in succe4ssfully joining multiple cultures is to develop an understanding of each others background. One problem is defining the tem “multiculturalism”.When it is looked at simply as meaning the existence of a culturally integrated society, many people have no problems.In 1987, the faculty voted 39-4 to change the curriculum and do away with the fifteen book requirement and the term “Western” for the study of at least one non-European culture and proper attention to be given to the issues of race and gender. Because Canadian University’s also followed a similar plan, even though this example took place in the United States it centered on issues that effect multiculturalism in all North America.This debate was very important because its publicity provided the grounds for the argument that Canada is a pluralistic society and to study only one people would not accurately portray what really makes up this country.Our countries sense of nationalism and identity is based in our attitudes toward multiculturalism. 1991: 2) The research objectives were to: Study the values and view shared by Canadians on Canadian identity, citizenship and ethnic diversity.This is one thing that separates us from the Americans or any other westernized country. To measure the degree of public understanding, acceptance and support of the government’s multiculturalism policy and of the distinctive elements of that policy. 1991:3)The survey found high levels of Canadian values and identity.In one first grade classroom in Vancouver, an inventive teacher used the minority students to her advantage by making them her helpers as she taught the rest of the class some Chinese words and customs.This newly acquired vocabulary formed a common bond among the children in their early years, an appropriate time for learning respect and understanding.The other choice is to modify the curriculum to only include what the instructor (the school) feels are the most important contributions, which again leaves them open for criticism from groups that feel they are not being equally treated.A national standard is out of the question because of the fact that different parts of the country contain certain concentrations of nationalities.