Culture and Diversity in Education

Introduction

In the face of globalization and digital knowledge and through the new technology, the world has been brought closer together and builds greater possibilities for understanding and exchanging commodities and information, but at the same time, it is making us endanger the richness and distinctiveness of our cultural identities (UNESCO, 2010). The exigency of action concerning the attainment of functional basic education for all is supported by the opinion that as we proceed in the 21st century, the denial of someone’s right to education be it a child, a youth or an adult, male or female, rich or poor is deplorable (Allan & Boykin, 1992 and UNESCO, 2010). Culture may also be useful in explaining why some students perform poorly while others excel.

This exigency has become even more urgent as a result of the effects of globalization and the swiftly intensifying function of knowledge, information, and communication at the boundary between society, economy, culture, and technology. Education more than ever before is at the center of these relationships and fundamental to all efforts to guarantee that knowledge societies are established upon considerations of impartiality, reverence for cultural multiplicity, and the fortification of the common good (Banks & Banks, 2004 and Delpit, 1988). Education for all requires a philosophy of education that includes the numerous cultures, languages, and developments that occupy our planet. It is through regarding the language, culture, and knowledge of the learner can we develop a literate, schooled, and educated society where permanent learning is the custom (Gay, 2000; see also UAF, 2010).

As more learners from various backgrounds occupy the twenty-first century classrooms, and hard work mount to spot effective techniques to educate these learners, the need for pedagogical approaches that are culturally responsive deepens. Current classrooms necessitate educators to educate learners divergent in culture, language, abilities and many other attributes (Gollnick & Chinn, 2002). “Culturally responsive pedagogy” (Gay, 2002 & Banks & Banks, 2004) together with a pedagogy that is theoretical could be helpful in overcoming the challenge.

Educators must craft a classroom culture where all learners despite their culture and linguistic background are received and supported, and presented with the most excellent chance to learn. For many learners, the variety of behaviors obliged in school and natures of discourse are different with home cultural and linguistic practices. To enhance learners’ achievement, it is essential that the educators assist the learners to bridge the discontinuity between home and school (Allen & Boykin, 1992). In addition, a culturally responsive instructional setting reduces the learners’ isolation as they try to fine-tune to the different world of school (Heath, 1983 Ladson-Billings, 1994).

It is crucial to emphasize on building knowledge societies through quality education which is linked with issues of linguistic and cultural multiplicity especially in relation to the continuation of a culture of peace (UNESCO, 2010 and Little, 1999). Regard for one another through understanding and the development of collective principles such as tolerance, democracy, and non-violence entail learning about other people and languages and becoming conscious of the reality that there are other approaches than one of inferring the world in which we exist (Nieto, 2003).

Research hypothesis and questions

Literature Review

The Institution Aspect

The question we ask in this unit of analysis is what the educational system should do to be culturally responsive. For a learning institution to be more culturally responsive there must be reforms in three explicit areas (Little, 1999 & Putnam, 1998). The first area is the arrangement of the school. This comprises the administrative system and the manner in which it relates to multiplicity and the utilization of physical space in planning schools and positioning classrooms. The second area is the community participation. This concerns the approach the institution takes in regard of community participation in which families and societies are anticipated to discover means of participating in the institution rather than the institution looking for links with the families and societies (Brislin, 1993). The third aspect is the institution policies and practices. This is concerned with those policies and procedures that affect the delivery of services to learners from varied backgrounds.

Even though all the three aspects in the institution should become more culturally responsive, a specific concern is the effect of institution policies and practices on the allocation of resources. We need to ask the hard questions: Where are the preeminent instructors allocated? Which learners get to pursue advanced courses? Where and for what reasons are materials allocated? We should decisively scrutinize the educational system’s linkages to its varied constituents.

Personal Aspect

The question we ask in this unit of analysis is how the teacher becomes culturally responsive. Instructor self reflection is an integral part of the personal facet. By candidly scrutinizing their mind-sets and beliefs about themselves and others, instructors begin to discern why they are who they are and can deal with prejudices that have control on their value system (Villegas & Lucas, 2002). The interactions between students and teachers can help in eliminating negative attitudes to culture, language and other things that impact learning in schools (Lewis & Kevin, 1996). Habitually educators are opposed to the impression that their value may reflect biases or even racial discrimination towards a certain group (Cooks, 1984). This results in better opportunity for learners’ achievement (Gurin et al, 2002).

One more vital feature of the personal element is exploration. It is fundamental that educators survey their personal histories and experience, in addition to the history and existing experiences of their learners and families. Knowledge creates an understanding of self and others and eventually a better appreciation of divergences (Gurin et al, 2002 and Hurtado et al, 1999). When teachers are unprejudiced in their teaching and knowledgeable about themselves and their learners, they can better act in response to the requirements of their learners (Milem & Hakuta, 2000 and Milem, 2003).

Instructional Aspect

When the instruments of instruction that is books, teaching techniques, and activities are irreconcilable with or worse marginalize the learners’ cultural practices, a disconnect with institution is likely (Irvine, 1992 & Teaching Diverse Learners, 2010).for some learners this disconnect of institution may take the nature of merely underachieving while other could vary from not achieving at all to fall out from school totally. Culturally responsive pedagogy distinguishes and uses the learners, culture and language in teaching and finally reverences the learners’ personal and society identities (Hurtado et al, 1999). The reality of the multicultural world is the focus to push forward with the principle of progressing towards the achievement of education for all. This goal can only be realized if there is capacity to link education to the varying cultural perspectives of the students across the continuum (UNESCO, 2010 & Orfield, 2001).

The multicultural communities of the 21st century enjoy a diverse culture (Teaching Diverse Learners) and at the same time live with the challenge of thinking creatively on approaches of educating the citizens of the future (UNESCO, 2010). The exigency of action in regard of achieving functional education for all is supported by the opinion that deprivation of anyone’s right to education regardless of their affiliations is primarily deplorable. It is only through acknowledging and revering culture and linguistics of the learners that we can achieve education for all and build literate and educated communities (Newcomb, 1943, Pascarella et al, 1996, Cooks, 1984 & New Horizons for Learning, 2010).

Independent Variables

Learners’ ability and achievement is one variable that influences learner’s education achievement. The evaluation of learners’ abilities and achievement should be correct and absolute if successful instructional programming is to take place (Pettigrew, 1998 & McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2010). This can only be achieved when the evaluation tools and practices are valid for the population being evaluated. In the current learning institutions, learners possess different culture and language that may predispose them to diverse communication experiences and even varied test taking skills (Orfield, 2001, New Horizon for learning, A culturally Responsive Lesson for African American Learners & Irvine, 1992). Thus, evaluation tools must be varied and suit the population being tested failure to which the judgments arrived at about the learner’s ability will be invalid (Lewis & Kevin, 1996). In addition, tests that are insensitive to learners’ cultural and linguistic background will frequently point out what the learners do not know and inadequately about what they do. Hence the chance to build on what learners do know is lost (Cooks, 1984 and Teaching Diverse Learners, 2010).

It’s important for the educators to get to know their learners’ families and societies by actually visiting the learners’ home environments. This permits educators to interact with their learners’ more than just bodies in the classroom but to relate with them as social and cultural beings attached to a multifaceted social and cultural system (Milem, 2003 & Teaching Diverse learners, 2010). In addition, by becoming familiar with learners’ home environment, the educator increases insight into the powers that influence learners, attitudes and behaviors. Moreover, they can utilize the families and societies as resources that will add to the educational development of the learners (Brislin, 1993, Center for research on Education, 2010 & Hurtado et al, 1999).

Whereas it is vital for the educator to identify the common values and experiences of their learners, it likewise incumbent that educators identify differences of their learners. Students’ differences and commonalities brought about by culture and language might contribute to behavior and outlooks exhibited by the learners (Center for research on Education, 2010). For instance, some culture prohibits young people to engage in direct eye contact with older people and hence when these learners refuse to look at the instructor, they are not being rebellious but rather practicing their culture. Nevertheless, for an instructor to ascribe certain attributes to a learner solely because of his or her ethnic group exhibits just as much bias as supposing all learners to conform to conventional cultural practices (Villegas & Lucas, 2002 & Rethinking Schools, 2010). Besides, because each learner is peculiar, learning requirement will be varied. Identifying these peculiarities enhances the capacity of the instructor to tackle the individual requirements of the learner. The key is to act in response to each learner supported by his/her recognized strengths and weaknesses and not on predetermined conceptions about the learner’s group affiliation (Neito, 2002).

Education achievement is tied to cultural identity in classroom practices and instructional materials (Center for research on education, 2010). Educators must to the point achievable utilize textbooks, bulletin boards and execute classroom activities culturally helpful of their learners. When the institution allocated textbooks and other instructional resources carry on stereotype such as portraying African-Americans as athletes or failure to effectively represent different groups for example using books containing no images of Native Americans, educators should complement instruction with materials loaded with multiplicity and responsive in portraying individuals from varied backgrounds (Center for research on education, 2010 and Allen & Boykin, 1992). By using images and experiences familiar to learners, educator can exploit the strength learners bring to school.

The greater the learners experience recognizable practices in learning and are permitted to think in a different way, the more the sensation of inclusion and the greater the possibility of achievement ((Nieto, 1999). For instance, in some societies, members work jointly in a supportive approach to achieve several chores in their day to day lives. Mirroring these home experiences in instructional technique for example the utilization of cooperative learning (Putnam, 1998) leads to an increase in the probability of achievement for these learners.

Equity and mutual respect among learners determines learners’ achievement in education. In a classroom of different culture, languages and abilities, it is essential that all learners feel reasonably treated and revered. When learners are subjected to unequal prejudice as a result of their divergences, the outcome can be a feeling of unworthiness, disappointment or even resentment often leading to low achievement (Gollnick & Chinn, 2002). Educators should therefore be the role model exhibiting equality and reminding learners that divergence is normal. In addition, the educators need to examine the forms of actions and communication styles that are rewarded and commended. In most cases these actions and approaches of communication are supported by cultural practices and care need to be taken not to castigate a learner’s behavior as a result of a cultural disparity (Heath, 1993).

Methodology

The recent study examines the issue of culture in schools and how it has impacted on the performance among schools as well as individual students. The importance of non-traditional school environments will be analyzed and studied. The researches focus on a number of strategies that have been laid down in schools, and which touch on the culture of the schools. Culturally responsive pedagogy facilitates and promotes all learners’ achievement. In order to “support learners achievement”, it is important to ensure classrooms are “culturally responsive” (Nieto, 2003 & Putnam, 1998).

This pedagogy that is culturally responsive includes three aspects that are institutional, personal, and instructional aspects (Villegas & Lucas, 2002). The institutional aspect mirrors the administration and its policies and value whereas personal aspect reflects the cognitive and emotional development that the educator must employ in to become culturally responsive. The three aspects notably act together in the teaching and learning process and are vital to understanding the efficacy of culturally responsive pedagogy (Neito, 2002).

Unit of Analysis

The study will utilize United States Public and Private schools in carrying out the cultural analysis impact on education.

Unit of Analysis

Dependent and Independent variables

The dependent variable in this case shall be education, because it is influenced by the type of culture in the schools. Culture affects education, and so, it is the independent variable for this analysis. For this case, the dependent variable shall be gauged by the outcome of the student from the test scores as well as the schools’ performance as displayed by the results of the tests in general. The independent variable is gauged by the different structures which have been implanted in schools in such aspects as traditions, practices, languages, religions among others.

Variables
Other control factors essential for this study include; the hours spent by students studying and reading; the teachers’ achievements and experience as well as the external forces’ competitiveness to bring an environment capable of helping the student to learn or study well; the age of the student and capability to read and write, among others.

Control Variables

Operationalization of the control variables will be as follows;

  1. Data from schools shall guide on the performance of the students, teachers’ experience, and the age of the pupil among other things.
  2. The number of hours will be determined through surveying a number of students.

Control Variables

Sampling Methodology

The research will utilize 100 of the 529 schools in Nevada. This study includes both the private and the public schools which are also represented for the case of Nevada. This is a sample taken to represent all the United States schools, as representing all the data and information about all schools will be impractical. Stratified sampling will be applied for the data sampling, where from a list of students obtained, random selection for children is carried out from every strata and this will make the sample of the study.

School records will have a great impact in the determination of a number of things in this research. First, they will provide with details such as regarding the age of the student, the number of students, the qualifications and experiences of the teachers, as well as the number of hours taught in these schools.

Sampling Methodology

Data Collection

Scores for tests will also be applied in this research, where the performance of students needs to be analyzed. Where the teachers would provide the already established data for standardized test, it is expected that the researcher will have a good time. Teachers will also provide details regarding the cultures, traditions and behaviors of the students as will the parents. Schools have certain records regarding the background of the pupils and students, but this information would rather better be sought from student’s interviews as well as parents’.

Data Collection

Survey Research

Sometimes the student performance and school performance is determined by the hours spent outside the classroom by the student. This is because he or she could review and reflect upon the class work and studies. A survey of parents and students shall be incorporated in this research in order to take care of this scenario. Parents or guardians sometimes spend time teaching children what to do as far as education is concerned.

In addition, the determination of the amount of hours spent by the parent or guardian in helping the child is important to discovering the real impact of culture on student performance, since such practices may not be well absorbed in some cultures.

Statistical Analysis

A regression analysis will be carried on after data has been collected, and this will be indicated as follows;

Y = a = b1 x1 + b2x2 + b3x3 + b4x4 + b5x5 + b6x6 + b7x7

y is the dependent variable (academic performance);

x1 represents the independent variable = type of school year calendar while x2 to x7 represents control variables from 1 to 6; which represents (from control variable 1); the number of students in the class; the teachers experience; the hours of studying; the hours spent by teachers to teach; the hours spent by guardians to coach students; and the level of education of the teacher, respectively.

The regression equation will be determined by analyzing the data into software, and for the equation, the coefficients of the already mentioned variables will be provided. The change of test scores per unit change will be represented for each variable, by these coefficients. The independent variable as discussed shall involve the identification of the language, the religion, tradition and practices supported in the schools as well as student’s origins. The study shall utilize partial regression coefficients which have been standardized through the determination of the Beta scores, and this shall help in determining which variable impacts mostly the dependent variable.

In order to determine how much regression explains the dependant variable, there will be determination of the coefficient of determination (R2). It is important to determine what variables are statistically significant and this shall be carried out through a t-test. Thus, it will be possible to determine the variables affecting the students’ changes in test scores.

Other Issues

It would be expected that privacy, among other issues be taken care regarding the information collected from students and teachers. The issue is somewhat solved by having to get permission from the students, the teachers, as well as the source for the related information. Where necessary, the researchers shall declare that the information shall be used taking care of confidential issues and only those purposes intended. The educational structures have in history encouraged the success of one section of the school population by instituting culturally prejudiced standards and principles (Putnam, 1998). The single cultural principles of education institutions have encouraged prejudices in the development of curriculum and instructional practice which have been unfavorable to the achievement of the learners from culture and linguistic of varied backgrounds. There is an urgent need for the educators to get involved in the reformation of the education system for it to become culturally responsive. Educators are the direct connectors of the institutions and learners and are therefore at the central position of facilitating change. By remaining in the traditional system of “conform or fail” approach to teach, educators bring about single cultural institutions. Through questioning the long established policies and practices, and by becoming culturally inclusive in educating, educators work toward transforming the institutions (Center for research on Education, 2010).

To be able to achieve this institutional transformation, the educators must develop an appreciation of diversity in their classrooms. They must see the diverse cultural as the custom in society and refuse the conceptions that any one given cluster is extra capable than another (Allan & Boykin, 1992). This necessitates developing reverence for diversity and the readiness to instruct from this point of view. In addition, there should be an acknowledgement that the instructors’ outlook of the world is not the only outlook. Instructors require learning about successful techniques of instructing learners from diverse backgrounds by actually paying a visit to institutions with diverse population and which have recorded success of their students and or reading valid accounts of such achievements (Allan & Boykin, 1992). Through such visit or reading, the instructor gets exemplary models for the development of their own skills.

Conclusion

Educators have a duty to all their learners to guarantee that all have the same chance to reach to the best of their ability. If teaching mirrors the cultural and linguistic practices and value of a single category of learners, then the other learners are deprived of an equal chance to learn (Pascarella et al, 1996 and Rethinking Schools, 2010). Teaching that is culturally responsive tackles the needs of all students. The educational system schemes schools’ curriculum and educators as their institutional instruments transmit the prescribed content to their learners. This daily interaction with learners gives the educator with an exceptional chance to either advance the status quo or create a difference that will impact both the achievement and the lives of the learners. In fact, educators must know their power and utilize it prudently in educating other people’s children (Delpit, 1988). While the curriculum may be determined by the school system, educators coach it. Where the curriculum does not address the needs of all the learners, educator must offer a bridge; where the system reveals cultural and linguistic inconsiderateness, educators must exhibit understanding and support (Pettigrew, 1998). Educators should be culturally responsive, using resources and examples, employing practices, and exhibiting values that are including rather than excluding learners from different backgrounds (Teaching Diverse Learners, 2010 & Ladson-Billings, 1994). By doing so, the educator execute their duty to all their learners.

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