Making Diversity Work: Perspectives in Multicultural Pedagogy

May 31, 2011 21:29

Dr Tozun Issa

Making Diversity Work: Perspectives in Multicultural Pedagogy

The debate surrounding the so called minority education in the UK has been with us for more than half a century, ever since the first groups of migrant workers’ children began appearing in UK schools in significant numbers during the 1950s. Successive government policies of assimilation and integration were mainly influenced by the ‘melting pot’ argument from the USA, and around the ‘unifying’ role of the English Language. Today, low levels of achievement amongst some students from linguistic minority communities are a concern for many educators, requiring considerations to adopt wider perspectives and strategies to tackle it.

This paper explores the dynamics of classroom interaction by adopting a perspective on multicultural pedagogy where students’ language and culture are seen as useful starting points for teaching complex academic concepts. By discussing some of the findings of a bilingual mathematics project the paper concludes that using students’ existing skills and experiences can have positive outcomes for learning cognitively demanding national curriculum subjects.


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