Multiculturalism and multicultural education practice – pedagogical issues and possible solutions.

This paper covers several of the sub-themes which the BESA conference is focused upon, in particular it looks at how a third year undergraduate module entitled Multiculturalism and Diversity is being altered post re-validation. Not only is global education and internationalisation being examined as well as education policy but practice and pedagogy in education. The aims and objectives of this paper are to firstly analyse the concept of multiculturalism and apply it to both education policy and practice. In relation to broader theories and ideas, we are going to examine Banks (2016a; 2016b) dimensions of multicultural education as well as Mitchell’s (2017) notions of sameness and differences. I want to analyse and critique these ideas and apply them to not only a 10 week, 2 hour module structure but also a re-validated, 10 week, 1 hour + 1 Hour delivery method which is being introduced as part of the re-validation process.

Banks (2016a; 2016b) is a key author that links multiculturalism and multicultural education. His advocacy of both has allowed many students and researchers to develop and reflect upon their own professional practice. For Banks (2016a: 1), ‘A major goal of multicultural education … is to reform schools, colleges, and universities so that students from diverse racial, ethnic and social class groups will experience educational equality’. If, as Banks (2016a) continues, ‘… multicultural education is to become better understood and implemented in ways more consistent with theory, its various dimensions must be more clearly described, conceptualized, and researched.’ Banks (2016a: 4-17) has formulated the following five dimensions: Content Integration; The Knowledge Construction Process; An Equity Pedagogy; Prejudice Reduction and An Empowering School Culture and Social Structure. Those dimensions are a starting point in a pedagogy that can promote and advocate multicultural education. The application of ideas and the continuing professional development of people then theoretically allows teachers and lecturers to become multicultural educators.

But how is this advocacy applied into the undergraduate module under examination? The discussion points address the following organisational practicalities: How can team teaching enable us to cover the complexities of cultural diversity in education (Coe et al, 2017)? How can we encourage our students to engage more with comparative methods (Marshall, 2014; Mitchell, 2017)? How can we get more modules on race and ethnicity (Race, 2015; Race and Lander, 2016; Race, Forthcoming) onto school and university curricula?