Ashlee Saddler and Michelle Morris Jones discuss how the definition of “multicultural education” has evolved beyond recognition and celebration of different cultures to deepening our collective understanding of critical multicultural education and the concept of hegemony. In order to serve each and every student we must build meaningful relationships with students, assess how our materials and curriculum are or are not reflecting cultural, linguistic, gender, socioeconomic, and exceptional diversity, and be willing to ask why certain systems and structures exist. As designers of student learning experiences, teachers and curriculum directors can take the following steps to increase their multicultural competence in order to help students explain the relevance of their learning in their own cultural contexts and beyond.
- Engage in intentional planning & inquiry that can widen the cultural perspectives of units or lessons
- Recognize possible curricular limitations & take proactive steps to be more inclusive
- Consider text selection and include texts from various perspectives, authors, and cultures
- Expand one’s own cultural lens
As teachers and leaders, we can ensure that each and every student has an inclusive and equitable school experience by examining the systems, structures, and practices through the lens of hegemony. By eliminating hegemonic practices we can ensure that our systems are asset-based and supportive of all students.
Ashlee Saddler is the Director of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education for the Aurora Public School district and an active PEBC board member. She believes that each and every student deserves a Phenomenal Teacher! For Ashlee, phenomenal teaching is rooted in reflection, responsiveness, collaboration, and teachers learning alongside one another in classrooms.
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