We will write a custom Essay on Multicultural Education in the Classroom specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Stereotyping is creating a mental image of a group of people basing on certain opinions with disregard of the differences among individuals. Prejudice, on the other hand, is negatively judging a particular group of people or having views about the group without the knowledge of the facts (Walter, 1999). This is prejudging someone without actually knowing the person. This paper will address the issue of stereotyping and prejudice in schools, look at how they occur and provide recommendation for improvement.
Prejudice and stereotyping
I believe that people tend to think that stereotyping and prejudice only occur in adults because one might not imagine a seven-year-old do such a thing. However, research has indicated that it even occurs in elementary schools (McKown & Weinstein, 2003). Children of this age have been recorded to show awareness and have even suffered from stereotyping by fellow classmates.
Research has also shown that adults may be affected by stereotypes. The feeling of being judged based on stereotypes may negatively affect the performance of the individual. These effects include poor performance in academics (Walter, 1999).
McKown and Weinstein (2003) proposed a particular time in the lives of children when they become aware of stereotyping. They proposed that it begins at a tender age of between six and ten. They begin with no prior information about stereotyping. As they develop, they start to get the idea when someone has a stereotype. They later start talking about the stereotypes themselves (McKown & Weinstein, 2003, p. 506).
In the three classrooms visited for the exercise, several observations were made. Firstly, the Latino and the African Americans had been greatly affected by the stereotypes held against them. Basing from the comments from the victims, the stereotypes held against them concerning their performance had caused them to develop negative attitudes towards cognitive tasks that were meant to measure their ability.
However, when the same task was described as a problem-solving task, they performed much better. This only proved that their low self-esteem that came about with the stereotypes concerning their academic ability had negatively affected their perceptions and attitudes towards tasks measuring their ability.
In a particular classroom, prejudice had led to the formation of groups of students that were problematic. However, it was unfortunate that some teachers seemed to have little or no knowledge of how to handle diversity in the classroom. It had also been reported that prejudice had resulted in violence, bullying and conflict in a particular classroom in the preschool visited.
Recommendation for change
It should be understood that stereotyping is not a strange phenomenon in preschools (as observed). This is because of the nature of the children’s cognition or development process. Therefore, it is important that teachers in schools understand that their students are very likely to develop stereotypes. The teachers and parents should be on the forefront in this venture (Bennett, 2007). They should also discourage name-calling and make it a routine in order for the children to get accustomed to such positive behavior.
One of the models that helps combat the issues of stereotyping and prejudice is the model of multicultural education. According to the model, the activities performed by students should be virtuous. They should promote respect, show appreciation and promote tolerance.
Teachers should make the children understand that stereotyping is not allowed in the classroom. They should also encourage those who are affected to feel good about themselves. This would reduce the tension that exists. This would also lead to the decrease in the cases of discrimination in class.
Stereotyping and prejudice are vices that exist in the society. They exist in preschools and they also affect adults. Schools face the challenge of trying to eliminate them in the system. Teachers should be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills required to handle such issues. They should promote harmony in the classrooms in order to eliminate prejudice and stereotyping in the schools.
Bennett, C. (2007). Comprehensive Multicultural Education: Theory and Practice (6th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
McKown, C., & Weinstein, R. (2003). The development of stereotype consciousness in middle childhood. Developmental Psychology, 74(2), 498-515.
Walter, S. (1999). Reducing prejudice and stereotyping in schools: Multicultural education series. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.