The number of students having English as their second language has increased. This is according to the statistics released by the US census bureau. In 2004, the statistics showed that the number of students learning English as their second language in the country was more than ten million. The number has increased greatly because of the high demand of the English language. The increase in number of students from foreign countries has made it difficulty for teachers to teach the students. This is because of the numerous cultures and languages available in the classroom. A large percentage of the teachers find it hard to communicate with the students as they are not proficient in English. In addition, their teachers find it hard to understand the student’s culture. The students find it hard to read social studies. This is because the content offered to the learners is decontexualized and not extensive. This has influenced the performance of English language learners. There are various strategies that teachers can use to make it easy for students to understand social studies. This paper analyzes multicultural social studies education, its advantages and disadvantages. It also analyzes the strategies to make social studies education more relevant to culture.
Multicultural education is a discipline that is aimed at creating equal opportunities in education for students from different races, ethnic groups and socio class and culture. Multicultural education helps students acquire knowedge and skills that are needed to exist in a multicultural society. They also acquire skills needed to communicate with diverse people. Multicultural education incorporates elements from different disciplines. For instance, it incorporates elements from social studies and arts. Multicultural social studies education refers to the study of various cultures. It involves teaching students in school different types of cultures both in their community and outside their community. The multicultural social studies education is important as it helps equip students with the right knowledge and skills to interact with other cultures. In addition, multicultural social studies education enables students to learn other things apart from cultures. For instance, the students learn about justice and democracy in their society. Multicultural social studies education has become common in many learning institutions. This is because of the benefits linked with multicultural social studies education. A series of research carried out on multicultural social studies have shown that integrating multicultural education and social studies in the schools is not easy.
This is because it requires restructuring of the curriculum in the institutions. Most schools have not been able to do so because of limited resources. In addition, teaching multicultural social studies education is not easy as most students do not now English. Most teachers find it hard to develop instructions that support multiculturalism. In addition, the teachers teaching social studies find it hard to use the right strategies when teaching students. The factors have affected the inclusion of multicultural education in various subjects like social studies (Weiman &Hansen, 2007).Multicultural social studies education has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. First, multicultural social studies education helps students know more about the history of the world and the country. This in turn enables the students to be able to make the right decisions. In addition, multicultural social studies education enables students to learn how to become patriotic citizens and learn more about their culture. Moreover, multicultural social education helps eliminate racism in the country by teaching students how to ignore the causes of racism in the country and hence enhance diversity in the country.
Also, multicultural social studies educations enables student to understand themselves better and hence develop self identity. This is because students are able to learn more about their cultures and other cultures. In addition, multicultural social studies education enables student to understand various experiences of the ethnic groups and cultural groups in history (Weiman &Hansen, 2007).Further, researchers argue that multicultural social studies education help student understand that conflicts between reality and ideals are common in the society lastly, multicultural social education helps students have more acceptance. This is because they are able to accept various cultures in the society together with their beliefs and values. This in turn leads to a smooth coexistence. Most schools have realized the importance of multicultural social studies education and integrated it in their activities (Weiman &Hansen, 2007).Apart from the advantages above, there are various disadvantages that are associated with multicultural social studies education. First, most researchers argue that multicultural education leads to racism .
This is because the instructors use specific content when teaching the countries culture and history. The instructors find it hard to expose the truth about racism in the country. This in turn leads to racism. Since multicultural social studies education is the integration of multicultural education and social studies, it also leads to racism. This is because the teachers do not talk of racism openly. The teachers most concentrate on helping students accept other cultures and understand the history of the country. Another disadvantage of multicultural social studies education is that it has made delivery of instructions in the institutions difficulty. Most teachers find it hard to deliver instructions accordingly. This is because they lack the right strategies to incorporate multiculturalism in social studies (Weiman &Hansen, 2007).The multicultural perspectives have implications on social studies instructions, activities and teachers beliefs and actions. They also have implications on the role of the student. First, the multicultural perspective will affect how social studies instructions are designed and delivered.
Currently, schools are required to design the teaching instructions well so as to ensure they support multiculturalism (Sunal & Haas, 2008). Students from different cultures and background should be able to understand the instructions being delivered. Most of the teachers do not ensure that the instructions are not abstract. So, multiculturalism perspective will affect the content being delivered to the students. It will also affect how teachers deliver social studies contents. The teachers will be required to use various strategies that support multiculturalism. For instance, the teachers should be able to help the student build background. The teachers should help students connect the content being taught with their own experience in life. This will make it easy for the students to understand the content. Also, the teachers can use graphic organizers to help the students understand the content when teaching social studies. This is because most books in social studies are written using passive voice. This makes it for ELLs learners to read and understand the content due to language difficulties (Sunal & Haas, 2008).
Further, the multicultural perspectives have impact on the beliefs and actions of the teacher. The teachers are required to ensure open communication when teaching social studies. Communication problems arise when teaching Ell’s learners and social studies teachers are required to solve them in the right manner. The teacher should not blame the student incase of misunderstanding. Instead the teacher should teach the language and skills needed to succeed in class. This is because students have different languages that affect his or her studies. Hence, the teachers should behave appropriately. Also, the multicultural perspectives have impact on the role of the student. Students will be required to encourage diversity in the institution by accepting other cultures. In addition, the multicultural views have implication on teaching activities. Teachers are required to use activities that support diversity in class.
For instance, they should use activities that support learning among Ell’s students (BrownUniversity, 2006).The multicultural social studies teaching should consist of various things. First, the teaching should start with building background. In this case, the teacher should help students connect the content being taught and content taught in previous lesson. This will ensure students from different cultures are able to understand what is being taught. Second, the teacher should help students link the content being taught with their real life experiences (Taylor, 1990). Third, the teacher should be able to use pictures and diagrams to illustrate the content being taught. In addition, the teacher can use oral history to supplement the content being taught. The teaching can also include group discussions to help students share what they have learned. The groups should have students from different cultures. After that the teacher should ask the students to summarize what they have learned in class and use graphic organizers to illustrate the content summarized by the students. So, the teaching should consist of activities to help students comprehend the content.
Also, the teacher should identify the vocabulary linked to the topic being taught and divide it into different sections. The teacher should not introduce all the vocabulary, but only the vocabulary being used in that lesson (BrownUniversity, 2006).There are different ways in which teachers can make their teaching strategies relevant to the cultures. First, the teachers can use culturally relevant instructions to teach the students. This will make it easy for the teacher to improve the students’ performance. The instructions should be aimed at empowering the learners socially and emotionally. They should also be aimed at empowering the learners politically and socially. The teachers should understand the culture. In addition, the teachers should provide activities that are relevant to the culture. The activities will enable the students to know more about their culture and be able to understand the content being taught (BrownUniversity, 2006).
In conclusion, most teachers teaching ELLs find it hard to teach the students. This is due to language difficulties, communication difficulties etc. For instance, teachers teaching multicultural social studies education find it hard to teach such students. This is because they do not use the right strategies. Teachers should use various strategies while teaching ELLs students. For instance, they can use building background and real life experiences to help students understand. They can also use a wide range of activities and pictures to help the learners understand. Moreover, the teachers should encourage group discussions as they help students share their experiences and class work. Multicultural social studies have a lot of benefits. It helps students understand their cultures and accept other cultures. It also helps students become responsible and make the right decisions. It also helps them learn justice and democracy issues in the society and how to solve them.
Brown university.(2006) .Explore the teaching diverse learners. Retrieved from http://www.alliance.brown.edu/tdl/ on 09/02/2011.
Sunal, C. S., & Haas, M. E. (2008). Social studies for the elementary and middle grades. A constructivist approach. Pearson Education.
Taylor,O.L.(1990).Cross cultural communication. An essential dimension of effective education .Retrieved from http://www.maec.org/cross/index.html on 09/02/2011.
Weiman,E.M.,&Hansen,L.E.(2007) .Strategies for teaching social studies to English language learners at the elementary level. Heldref publication