English 3189 Gary Charles Professor: Melissa Phruksachart Spring 2012 Proposal
Final exam Brooklyn College
Topic: Multiculturalism in Children’s Literature.
Multiculturalism is a complex and essential approach to incorporate in children’s education. It brings about a lot of aspects that can affect the cognitive, socio-economical, and physical development of children. Multiculturalism is supposed to be taught to children in a way to help them digest the notions of tolerance, race, and prejudice in order to not hurt somebody else’s self-esteem, as a sign of respect to the cultural background of a group or an individual. I propose to study how multiculturalism is expressed in the literature of different ethic groups such as African-American, Asian-American to better infer its role in children’s literature. 1- Culturally speaking of multiculturalism in Children’s literature. 2- How to build cultural bridges through international children’s literature. 3- Diversity in Children’s Literature( Asian-American, African-American) 4- Fight for cultural identity.
5- Recognizing and appreciating differences
6- Multicultural children literature as an instrument of power. Multiculturalism should be taught to children in their early age so that they can cultivate the notion of difference and tolerance, which can allow them to benefit from other cultures. Children’s literature should represent any distinct cultural group through accurate portrayal and rich details. Such literature appears in different genre which together presents a multitude of perspectives about culture, lives, and contributions of each cultural group to American society. Multiculturalism can exist in an Afro-American relationship as we recognize that every culture has its own special identity demonstrated through its religion, music, food, clothing, and social traditions. For instance, we can consider that relationship a journey to explore what each group can offer. Children can be taught about African cuisine so that they don’t bother or laugh at African children who migrate to the United States with their cultural background. Besides, if America children are taught about other cultures, this can be a way of broadening their mind, their horizon. Vice versa, other children should be taught American culture to facilitate communication, create more openings. The same education should be given to Asian-American, Haiti-American, simply put, to both immigrant and native children from any race, ethnicity, and religion.
It is essential that cultural bridges be built in diverse classrooms between the home cultures of children and the cultures of their schools. It’s a fact, the student population of American public schools is rapidly becoming more culturally diverse, not in just a few states or in large urban school districts, but on a national scale. The evidence of this can be seen in the increasing number of public school students using English as a second language. The number of students acquiring ESL grew from fewer 1.5 million to almost 2.7 million in that same time frame. While diversity in the classroom is not troubling by itself, and can in fact enrich the learning environment; it is too often associated with low academic achievement. According to Kao and Tienda (1995), achievement differences in all academic areas between whites and Latino students appear early and persist throughout their school careers. To fill those gaps, many approaches are suggested. Some schools do nothing to address these disparate achievement levels between students of different cultures. They apply a “Sink or Swim” philosophy. Unfortunately, in this approach too many students sink into counterproductive and antisocial...
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