This paper aims to identify the building needs of students and create a multicultural education action plan for the teachers. This plan should help provide a cohesive and deliberate professional development of the staff. One of the Abha K-6 elementary schools with 230 students and 27 educators is chosen for the analysis. The main specification of teachers in general and special education. The demographics of the schools are as follows: approximately 10% of Indians, 21% of Pakistanis, and 33% of Syrians. About 36% of the students are representatives of low-income families.
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My experience as a professional development coordinator shows that professional development is a considerable part of a working process. I strongly believe that planned development must be incorporated into classrooms individually and in schools generally. The first step is to meet with administrators and discuss the peculiarities of the plan. Multicultural education has to be emphasized in the discussion to make it the core of a future action plan for the next academic year. The first meeting with the staff during which the concept of multicultural education should be identified will occur in March. The next step is information promotion. In April, the committee will be formed, with me in charge. I will rely on the opinions of educational leaders to plan sessions and implement them in classrooms. Any professional learning community is a chance to gather teachers, begin a dialogue, set the goals for improvement, and raise the student achievement level (Howe & Lisi, 2014). Monthly meetings will be established to support these goals and maintain a multicultural education foundation.
The action plan consists of five main steps. First, the assessment of the initial needs has to be developed through cooperation with local administrators. Second, a one-hour long professional development session with the staff should occur to discuss the concept of multicultural education, its peculiarities, and goals within the school. Third, a multicultural education committee will be formed to identify a timeline of the work with the team regarding the existing grade levels and objectives. Meetings will occur twice per month to identify the committee purposes (1st meeting), learn students’ needs (2nd meeting), develop a curriculum study (3rd meeting), introduce strategies and materials (4th meeting), discuss parental involvement (5th meeting), and evaluate the program (6th meeting). The next step is the analysis of meeting plans. Two committee representatives should run a meeting. A professional development coordinator has to check all preparations. It is expected to invite some honorary members, including parents and community representatives. The last stage is the assessment of the system. It will take place in December 2018. Further professional development steps will be discussed at the chosen school level.
Details of the Plan
|Staff Meeting: March 2018 |
The main activity of this stage is called “How Diverse Is Your Universe?”. The participants should gather colored beads to represent a variety of people in their lives. This step should demonstrate how diverse the population around is and promote the discussion about cultural diversity among students. The next activity will help develop a new way of thinking about the level of interaction between the representatives of various races and ethnicities. A visual image has to be created through the prism of which a coordinator will discuss the essence of multicultural education in the school and the role of educators in it.
|Get to Know the Students: April 2018 |
The demographics of the school should be analyzed. The cultural backgrounds of students have to be recognized to encourage an understanding of students and create an appropriate learning environment (Howe & Lisi, 2014). The same ideas must be spread among all the members of a learning committee and cover all the students regardless of their grades.
|Curriculum Study: May 2018 |
The essence of a multicultural curriculum will be discussed through the analysis of several articles. The study developed by Al Thowaini (2015) about the perceptions of multiculturalism in Saudi elementary textbooks is the first source. The article by Banks and Tucker (1998) about multicultural education as content integration to embrace teaching is the second source. Several assessment tools will be used to investigate different parts of the curriculum and discover if any changes may be needed.
|Instructional Strategies/Material: August 2018 |
A case study based on the environment of the school is the first material to be offered to the committee. The international students’ experiences will be the core of the case to identify the potential problems in teacher-student cooperation and find out the solutions.
Different models of teaching will be investigated to identify those which are more appropriate for multicultural education support. Differentiated instructions and multiple intelligences are appreciated in classrooms, and student involvement has to be developed meaningfully but not isolated (Howe & Lisi, 2014). The use of assessment tools can facilitate the analysis of instructions in the classrooms.
|Parent/Community Involvement: November 2018 |
Not all students’ needs can be recognized at schools. Therefore, cooperation with communities and parents cannot be neglected in the intention of understanding better diverse backgrounds of students and their families. Children may not be able to interpret their traditions and norms in a proper way. Communities can help to promote trustful relationships with families, and parents can discover the most effective approaches to communicate with students.
|Program Evaluation: December 2018 |
Several evaluation tools can be offered to each grade level. The analysis and collaboration of current concepts in multicultural education and professional development will make certain contributions to the next academic years and cover various knowledge gaps. The same plan may be slightly improved and developed during the next year of education among the same committee.
Evaluating the results of my work, I want to believe that this action plan can help influence the work of the school I have been working in during the last year. It is not an easy task to close the gap in professional development and multicultural education. According to Ladson-Billings (2007), the discourse of an education dept holds educators accountable and reminds them about years-long neglect and denial of cultural diversity. This plan is not only a step forward to improve the experiences of multicultural students in classrooms. It is a chance for teachers to recognize their roles in the cultural and spiritual development of the population. Educators have to take active roles in a learning process to encourage students and make them recognize their personal and professional needs. Such cooperation can help to introduce a shared vision of multicultural education in classrooms (Howe & Lisi, 2014). Professional development cannot be ignored in building trustful relationships between teachers and students.
The main roadblock of this action plan is personal willingness to participate in improvements. Though some teachers cannot find time to evaluate the worth of the chosen concepts, it is obligatory to underline that multicultural education is a part of good teaching. Learning communities should promote specific transformations among teachers so that they can influence their students in a meaningful way (Nieto, 2010). Teachers need additional explanations to prove that their professional development can bring benefits not only to the staff of the school but also to students, their families, and communities. Another challenge is the necessity to choose the correct materials. This plan contains a list of articles and studies to rely on during a learning process.
The impact of multicultural education in classrooms may also be observed in the instructions and teaching approaches. The decision to take the first step and organize meetings in April provides teachers with a chance to learn better about their future students and their cultural backgrounds. This activity helps identify multicultural education as a significant part of a learning process with the necessity to respect the racial and ethnic diversities of students. Collaboration, focus on student learning, and effective staff development is integral parts of professional growth and classroom improvements (Howe & Lisi, 2014). The goal of the learning community is to direct teachers so that they can recognize what their students may need to achieve high academic results.
In general, this action plan turns out to be a good source of inspiration and motivation for educators and students at the same time. Cultural diversity should never be a challenge for people. Schools and colleges must know how to recognize the multicultural needs of students and use this variety as an additional source of information and personal experiences.
Banks, J. A., & Tucker, M. (1998). Multiculturalism’s five dimensions. NEA Today Online. Web.
Howe, W. A., & Lisi, P. L. (2014). Becoming a multicultural educator: Developing awareness, gaining skills, and taking action. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Ladson-Billings, G. (2007). Pushing past the achievement gap: An essay on the language of deficit. The Journal of Negro Education, 76(3), 316-323.
Nieto, S. (2010). The light in their eyes: Creating multicultural learning environment (10th ed). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.