23 SES 02 C, Policies & Politics of Exclusion and Inclusion (Part 2)
Paper Session continues from 23 SES 01 C
Main Research Question
- What do equality statements presented in legal acts, policy and national curriculum say about educating diverse student bodies at the upper secondary level?
- How are equality statements implemented in upper secondary schools chosen for this study? How are they related to multiculturalism and thus the immigrant population in regard to pedagogy (teaching approaches and methods) and the learning and social environment?
- What are the social an academic experiences of students of immigrant background in the chosen upper secondary schools in Iceland?
The main objective of my research is to provide new knowledge about immigrant youth‘s progress through the upper secondary school system. First, the study will uncover where the national discourse about equality in education is relevant to students of foreign origin in
general and students of Vietnamese origin in particular. It will examine how equity that was conceptualized at the national level is interpreted and implemented in practice at the school level and experienced by the students. The students‘ school experiences will enable me to understand how students themselves conceptualize their advantages and hindrances in the educational system and will inform my analysis of the system’s effectiveness in regard to them.
A second objective of my research is to set up a further study of whether the adoption of a multicultural education philosophy (which would aim to provide equality in education) would benefit all students.
The ultimate goal of the research is to bring about more school success, which would improve school attendance and deter dropping out. Education would be seen as a more effective way of integration and preparation for active citizenship in the future for all students.
Multiculturalism is an approach that has not been widely applied in Iceland, neither in the school system or more broadly. My research will apply the lens of multiculturalism to the Icelandic situation. Multicultural education is a teaching philosophy that encompasses 1) rigorous leadership and clear vision on the part of principals, 2) teachers’ thorough understanding of their own perceptions with the aim of understanding their students and therefore being culturally responsive in their pedagogy, 3) the alteration of curriculum and the school environment to benefit students of diverse background.
My review of the current literature in the field of multicultural education allows me to structure my research on the following concepts:
(1) the acceptance among scholars of multiculturalism as a norm;
(2) a definition of “culture” as a phenomenon that changes over time, and that is not limited to ethnicity or language, but encompasses such attributes as gender, socio-economic class, physical or mental disability
(3) multiculturalism has benefits for the individual and for society
Some studies (Cope & Kalantzis, 1999; Hodson, 1999) have shown that children’s meta-cognitive and meta-linguistic capacities benefit from the development of the skills necessary to communicate cross-culturally and to negotiate between multiple cultures. Better critical thinking and problem solving abilities can result.
On a broader social level, multiculturalism cultures to cross-fertilize each other. As cultures are brought closer they influence and change each other (Parekh, 2006; Trumbull, Rothstein-Fisch, & Greenfield, 2000).
(4) multicultural educational theorists (in particular Banks, Nieto, May, and the social theorist Freire;) have developed a set of tenets that can be followed when attempting to implement a multicultural education program. These tenets are content integration, the knowledge construction process, prejudice reduction, an equity pedagogy and an empowering school culture and social culture (Banks, 2004, p. 5), and teachers’ high expectations towards their students, the dialogue between teachers and students, and the bridging of home and school culture (Nieto, 1999).
Bae, G. (2004). Rethinking Constructivism in Multicultural Contexts: Does Constructivism in Education take the Issue of Diversity into Consideration? Essay in Education, 12. http://www.usca.edu/essays/vol122004/Bae.pdf Banks, J. A. (2004). Multicultural Education: History Development, Dimensions, and Practice. In J. A. Banks & C. A. M. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (1999). Multicultural Education: Transforming the Mainstream. In S. May (Ed.), Critical Multiculturalism: Rethinking Multicultural and Anitiracist Education (1st edition ed., pp. 245-276). London: Falmer Press. Crotty, M. (1998). The Foundations of Social Research. Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications. Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and Power. New York: Longman. Hodson, D. (1999). Critical Multiculturalism in Science adn Technology Education. In M. S (Ed.), Critical Multiculturalism: Rethinking Multicultural and Antiracist Education (1st ed., pp. 216-244). London: Falmer Press. Lichtman, M. (2006). Qualitative Research in Education: A User‘s Guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. McGregor, S. L. T. (2003). Critical Discourse Analysis. Retrieved Nov. 7, 2010. http://www.kon.org/archives/forum/forum15-1.html, from Kappa Omicron Nu Forum Parekh, B. (2006). Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Mcmillan. Taylor, S. J., & Bogdan, R. (1998). Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (3rd ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Trumbull, E., Rothstein-Fisch, C., & Greenfield, P. M. (2000). Bridging Cultures in Our Schools: New Approaches That Work. In C. Rothstein-Fisch (Ed.), Readings for Bridging Cultures: Teacher Education Module. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Association, Inc.
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