Multicultural Education Introduction

This site has been developed to address multicultural considerations in teacher pedagogy.  The issue of multicultural education is of paramount importance in the twenty-first century (Banks & Banks, 2001).  Diversity in the United States will become progressively more reflected in the country's schools.  The 1990 Census reported that 14 percent of school-age children in the United States spoke a first language other than English at home.  Students of color comprised thirty-five percent of students in grades 1-12 in 1995.  It is anticipated that students of color will make up about 48 percent of the nation's school-age youth by the year 2020.  

    Poverty is also becoming an increasingly important issue that affects quality of education.  According to Banks and Banks (2001), in 1999 approximately 36.6 million people in the United States were living in poverty, including 1 in 5 students.  The inequality between the rich and the poor is also increasing.  The top 1 percent of households owned 40 percent of the the national wealth in 1997 (2001).  

    Also important to consider is the fact that although the nation's students are becoming increasingly diverse, most of the nation's teachers are White, middle-class, and female.  Specifically, about 87 percent are White, and 72 percent are female (Banks & Banks, 2001).  

    These demographic, social, and economic trends have important implications for education (Banks & Banks, 2001).  Multicultural education is intended to decrease race, ethnicity, class, and gender divisions by helping all students attain the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need in order to become active citizens in a democratic society and participate in social change (Valdez, 1999).  It is imperative that teachers learn how to recognize, honor, and incorporate the personal abilities of students into their teaching strategies (Gay, 2000).  If this is done, then school achievement will improve.

    This site is designed to assist preservice and practicing teachers in becoming multicultural educators.  It should not be considered a single source to understanding multicultural education, but rather a supplement to multicultural studies.  It is divided into nine sections:  Schoolwide Considerations, Studying Ethnic and Cultural Groups, Curriculum Considerations, Using Media to Support Multiculturalism, Resources, Evaluation, Build a Case Study, Watch a Video with Probing Questions, and Bibliography.

    • The Schoolwide Considerations section provides information on multicultural benchmarks and characteristics of a multicultural school.  

    • The Studying Ethnic and Cultural Groups provides information to guide the study of cultural groups. 

    • The Curriculum Considerations section provides information on actual lesson plans and units, approaches to multicultural education, a multicultural calendar, multicultural planning questions, cooperative learning, multicultural goals and strategies, evaluating children's books for bias, and cultural responsiveness.  

    • The Using Media to Support Multiculturalism section provides information on evaluating media for bias, activities to promote understanding of stereotypes in the media, video stores that offer free rentals, and lists of movies that portray various cultural and ethnic groups.  

    • The Resources section provides direction on where to go to find more information about multicultural education and related topics. 

    • The Evaluation section provides information on both program assessment and self-evaluation of one's own culture.  

    • The Build a Case Study section is a tool used for analyzing teaching strategies with a multicultural perspective based on the characteristics of a specific classroom.  

    • The Watch a Video with Probing Questions section is a guide for viewing videos with pre-viewing and post-viewing questions.  This allows the viewer to focus and reflect on multicultural issues in the classroom.


Banks, J.A. & Banks, C.A.M. (2001). Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Gay, G. (2000).  Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice.  New York:  Teachers College Press.

Valdez, A. (1999).  Learning in Living Color: Using Literature to Incorporate Multicultural Education into the Primary Curriculum.  Boston: Allyn and Bacon.