Multicultural Education Katelyn Matthiesen

Belief Statement

I believe that all teachers must understand multicultural education and be able to provide students with the opportunities to grow in their understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of others and their differences. I believe that by teaching multicultural education, students will engage in critical thinking and gain an awareness of others that helps to foster an environment of empowerment.

Why Multicultural Education is important to my Future Practice

  • It helps to foster a positive learning environment where relationships can be formed.
  • It allows all children to feel that they matter and are valued.
  • It brings an awareness and understanding for me, as the teacher, to reach and teach all students.
  • It allows students to connect to the instruction and to see themselves represented in the classroom.
  • It helps to guide students on a path of thinking critically and discovering their identity.
  • It teaches students to seek understanding, knowledge, and awareness of others.
  • It provides students with the skills needed to interact and function in a society that is multicultural.

What has Changed your thoughts on the role of being a multicultural educator?

The biggest change for me has been the understanding that multicultural education goes beyond just knowing and teaching about different cultures, languages, or differences. Multicultural education needs to transform the minds of students to engage in critical thinking and allow students to seek the understanding and appreciation of others. I have learned that it encourages the teacher to challenge his or her beliefs, assumptions, and preconceptions about students and the society in which we live. The role of the educator is to adjust the curriculum and instruction to meet the needs and differences of all students. The students need to see themselves reflected in the classroom, which will lead to greater involvement in activities and discussions.

WHat Concepts have contributed to this change?

Chapter 1 Concepts

Transformation Approach to Multicultural Education

The transformation approach makes changes to the curriculum to expose students to different perspectives and allows them to think critically about different concepts, issues, or situations within society.

This concept has changed my thinking about teaching because it has allowed me to see that it is not enough to just teach my students about diversity or teach them about the specific events or people in history. I need to challenge my students to engage in critical thinking as they explore different perspectives. I will not only challenge my students to do this but also challenge my assumptions and beliefs to transform the curriculum that I am teaching to foster this type of environment for my students.

Hidden Curriculum

Hidden curriculum is the unwritten and official rules that guide the desired behaviors and attitudes of students in schools.

As a teacher, I will need to be aware of the hidden curriculum that could be in my classroom or within my school. It will be important for me to reflect on my beliefs and behaviors in the classroom to determine how they are being reflected to my students. I have learned that this can negatively influence the way my students perceive themselves as individuals and as students. I will need to pay special attention to unspoken rules of the school in order to make each student feel worthy and capable of succeeding.


Marginalization is when people are viewed as being "less than", unaccepted by most people, or not a part of the mainstream.

This concept has shown me the importance of making sure that every single student that I have feels that they matter in my classroom. I will strive to always show my students their worth and that they belong in our learning community. I will have students that may feel that they live on the margins of society, but in my classroom, I want all students to feel a sense of belonging. If students feel that they matter, they will be more engaged in the classroom and will feel more confident in their abilities.

CHapter 11 Concepts

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally responsive teaching uses the culture and experiences of the students to design the instruction and curriculum within the school.

This concept has taught me that I need to be sensitive to the cultures and differences of my students. I need to use the knowledge that I have about my students in order to shape the instruction that I teach by placing students at the center of the learning. This will allow me to encourage student voices in my classroom, and it will allow them to see themselves reflected within the instruction. By being responsive to the culture of my students, the activities and instruction that I implement in my classroom will be relevant and engaging for the students.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking challenges the status quo, encourages questioning of the dominant or mainstream beliefs and culture, and considers alternatives to the unjust society.

I think one of the most important parts that I learned from this concept was that it is just as important for the teacher to engage in critical thinking as it is to promote it within students. As a teacher, I will need to challenge my biases, preconceptions, and beliefs about certain topics in order to effectively meet the needs of my diverse learners. I have learned that students need to be taught critical thinking and they should be given multiple opportunities to practice it within the classroom in order to apply it to the areas of their life outside of the classroom.


A bias is a personal preference for a certain object, person, place, or belief.

Through studying and analyzing my biases, I have learned that many biases are often so hidden and unspoken that we do not always realize that we have them. It is important for a teacher to be constantly reflecting on possible biases that they have in the classroom, whether they are positive or negative. Placing biases on students can place expectations on students that limit them of their fullest potential.

Chapter 7 Concepts


Culture affects our interpersonal relationships through the way that we engage others and interact with one another. Culture impacts our interpersonal being through the knowledge, beliefs, and values that we have about ourselves and others.

This concept has shown me that culture impacts our lives in more ways than just the physical representations of our culture or the types of people that we relate to. Culture affects the way that we perceive ourselves and the values that we have. This is especially important when working with students of diversity because I will need to understand the way their individual cultures affects their sense of self and also the ways that they will be interacting with me.


Dialect is a particular form of language that is determined by the region or social class that the person belongs to.

Understanding that students will have different dialects will allow me to better respond to their individual needs. This concept has taught me that students should never be devalued for the language or dialect that they speak with. Students are going to use the dialect that they have the most experience with and feel most comfortable using, so I do not want to make my students feel wrong or marginalized for using a dialect that is a part of their culture or experiences.

Language Proficiency

In language acquisition, there are two levels of proficiency: conversational and academic. Conversational proficiency is the basic skills that students need in order to communicate interpersonally. Academic proficiency is the higher level that is required to participate in structured academic settings.

Understanding the different levels of proficiency has shown me that just because ESL/ELL students have the language skills to communicate with me or their peers in the classroom, it does not mean that they will be successful in completing the academic work or comprehension of activities. It will be important to make sure that my students are provided with the tools that they need in order to be successful in the classroom even when they have the basic conversational skills to functional socially.

Chapter 3 Concepts

Social Capital

Social capital is the network of people and resources that someone has access to.

I have learned that students in my classroom, especially those that come from poverty, may not have a strong social capital. It is important that my students have a social capital because these will be the people that will give them access to materials and resources that they need in order to be successful. As a teacher, I will be a part of my students' social capital and I need to find the ways to give them the best access to opportunities.

Socioeconomic Status (SES)

SES is the composite that represents the economic status of a family or individuals that is based on their income, wealth, occupation, education, and power.

The most important thing I learned from this concept is that SES is much more than just the money that a family has. A student and their family's SES will influence their behaviors and beliefs in my classroom, so it will be important for me to understand the continuum for which my students might fall. Knowing my students' SES will allow me to understand the access to resources they have and the ways that I can help provide them with support.

Cycle of Poverty

The cycle of poverty is what happens when someone is born into poverty. A person grows up without the education, access to resources, and opportunities, so they struggle to get a job, which leaves them stuck in poverty. The cycle continues when they have a family in poverty and they grow up the same way.

This concept has taught me that the students that I have in my class could be children of families that cannot escape the cycle of poverty. It will be my job to provide them with some of the resources or the access to resources that can help them to be successful and give them the opportunities that they need to escape poverty. Their families may not be aware of the different resources they can use, and I will be able to share information and give my students opportunities to be successful and get a quality education, which can help to break the cycle.

What is the most Valuable concept?

Critical Thinking

The most valuable concept to me is the idea that multicultural education needs to be about challenging students to engage in critical thinking. I think that this is the most important concept because I believe that it sums up the goal for multicultural education. In multicultural education, we want students to seek the understanding and awareness of multiple perspectives and to think critically about the world they live in. By engaging students in critical thinking, they will be able to transform their thinking to challenge any of the assumptions, biases, or prejudices that they might have. I believe that by teaching students to do this while they are younger, it will help them to grow as individuals and it allows them to make sense of the multicultural society in which they live. I think that critical thinking is also important for the teacher as it allows us to examine our own assumptions and to seek an understanding from those that are different from us. I believe that when a teacher can model this in the classroom, then the students will experience a classroom of community, encouragement, and empowerment.

How will your own Identity influence your Approach to Teaching?

My own identity will influence my approach to teaching because my identity shapes the things that I value, believe, and and hold up with importance. The aspects of my identity such as my ethnicity, gender, geography, and language will influence the students or families that I will have a connection with. These are aspects that are evident from just knowing me and students will connect to me in these ways if they share any of these in common. My challenge will come from reaching those students that are different from me. It will be important that I am able to understand the way that I might differ from my students and discover the ways that I can find something in common with them. My religion and culture will influence the way that I view myself and others and also the way that I interact with them. I will want to be sure that these aspects of my identity will influence my teaching in a way that validates all students and shows that I seek to understand all of my students, especially those that might be different than me.

I cannot let my biases or assumptions about students interfere with my belief that all children are capable of learning. Because my biases are a part of my identity, I will need to be sure that I do not let them influence my teaching. I think it will be important for me to reflect and analyze my biases to ensure that I am not letting them be present in my classroom. For example, I might have a bias that female students tend to be better students or that Asian students are smarter than other students. While these are not negative biases, it could place higher expectations on the female or Asian students and then send a message to male students or other students that they are not as capable of succeeding. The biases that I have may limit students from what they are really capable of in their learning. By trapping these biases before entering the classroom, I can be sure that all of my students feel worthy and capable of learning. Biases could send a message to my students that does not reflect my belief that ALL students are capable of learning.

What do you still have questions about?

I still have a question about what I am legally allowed to do for students that need extra resources due to being in poverty or just have a lack of resources or opportunities. I understand that it is my job to provide students with resources or materials that they need in order to be successful in and out of the classroom, but I am unsure of what I am legally allowed to do or the types of resources that my school will provide. I feel like I need more information on the regulations and legal practices for handling these types of situations.

I also have a question about the ways that I can teach my students the hidden rules or curriculum that they do not know. I know that there are hidden rules within schools that many students do not know because they are not aware of that particular culture. I know that these students will struggle to be successful if they cannot navigate these. How do I teach these hidden rules to my students?

Part II

Assessing what I have learned since the Midterm has allowed me to see the ways that race, ethnicity, religion, and gender influence the classroom and the students in it. These concepts play a role in all of the previous concepts as they are all interwoven into the identities of my future students. All of these concepts relate to the overarching idea of education that is multicultural.


The biggest change in my thoughts is the fact that these issues, especially concepts of gender and gender identity are very real issues that are prevalent in society and ones that I will be faced with in the classroom. It showed me the importance of really understanding these concepts so that I can be sensitive to these students and their families. I also gained the insight that I am not as culturally aware when it comes to the diversities of religion. I think that this is an area that I will need to seek knowledge and understanding in order to reach all of my students.

What concepts have contributed to this change?

Chapter 2 concepts


Race is a sociopolitical construct that was developed by physical anthropologists to describe the physical characteristics of people by more than a century ago. Because of this, it is not a valuable or appropriate way of organizing or categorizing people because it is dependent on society's perceptions of differences.

This concept has shown me that race is only a social construct and has only been developed as a way to maintain the gap between groups of inferiority and superiority. Because of this, we have racism and discrimination. As a teacher, I will need to be aware of the racism that students experience in the school and be able to advocate for these students and to also teach my other students to accept one another regardless of their skin color.

Privilege-color Blindness

Privilege is the having power or advantage over others because of race, money, language, or gender. "Color blindness" maintains the white privilege because it does not recognize the racial inequality in schools by saying that they can look past someone's color.

This has shown me that teachers may be uncomfortable confronting issues about race and ethnicity, but not acknowledging them sends a message to the students and their families that they do not matter. Race and ethnicity influences the culture and interactions that students and their families have, and it will be my job to discover the way that they will influence the students' learning as well.


Segregation is the separation of different racial groups in the country, communities, or establishments.

Although schools are not segregated politically anymore, this term has shown me that because of segregation, there is an achievement gap between white students and students of color. Students of color are underrepresented in the advanced, honors, and gifted and talented programs, which means they are not getting the high-quality educational experiences. Because of this, their assessment scores are lower than their peers. This has shown me that it will be my job to give all of my students access and opportunities in the classroom.

chapter 8 concepts

religious pluralism

Religious pluralism is the coexistence of multiple religions without forcing others to adopt or convert to a specific religion.

This concept has taught me that religious pluralism has allowed people to have the freedom to maintain their religion and gain the acceptability and respectability within society. This is something that I want to incorporate into my classroom. I know that I will have students from different religions, and it will be my job to allow these to coexist together with student respect and acceptance.

Religion and political Power

This concept has shown me that the major religions are going to be the ones that have political power. With that, the religions that have the most representation will be making the decisions.

As a teacher, this is important to me because the people that are in power are going to have the most influence in the country and in the schools. The beliefs and values that these people have will be integrated into the schools because they are the ones that have the most influence. I will be expected to follow these beliefs and values as a teacher in the public school setting.

religion and Culture

A culture is often times shaped by the surrounding religion. Religion usually has a strong influence in the makeup of a culture.

This is important to me because I will need to be sensitive to the diversities of religions that I have in my classroom. For the most part, I will not be able to determine the religion of my students by just looking at them. Because of this, I will need to get to know my students and their families to be able to understand their culture and the way that their religion might affect their participation and interactions with me and other students in the classroom.

chapter 4 concepts

Gender Identity

Gender identification is one's recognition of the appropriate gender identification, which occurs early in life. Typically, by age three, children are aware of their gender.

This is important to me because I will be working with young children, and I will need to be supportive of students as they are discovering who they are and the feelings that they might have about that. It will be important that my students know that I am there to support them and that I allow them to find the ways to identify themselves.

Natural Differences in Male & Female Development

It has been found that males and females share about 99.8% of their genes and the differences between them are fairly small. It has been found that females favor their left-hemisphere, which relates to speaking, reading, and writing. Males tend to favor the right-hemisphere, which is connected to spatial visualization, mathematics, and science.

This knowledge and understanding shows me that it will be important to provide the activities and lessons that help each student grow in the areas that they aren't as strong. By providing female students with more intensive work with mathematics and science and providing male students with more experience reading and writing, it will help to encourage growth and proficiency for all students in the areas that they need.

Gender Stereotypes

The concept of gender stereotypes indicates having preconceptions about students due to their gender. It also includes designing the classroom instruction around the behaviors, interests and needs of one gender over the other.

This has shown me the way that many classrooms are designed around allowing female students to succeed, by hindering the development and success of male students. As a teacher, I will want to incorporate a variety of classroom activities and instruction that will engage both male and female students. It will be beneficial to use cooperative projects that allow male and female students to work together and build off of the skills of one another.

Gender and Culture Concepts


Socialization is the general process of learning the social norms of the culture and internalizing the social and cultural rules. The attitudes and values about appropriate gender roles are embedded in the curriculum of schools.

As a teacher, I need to be aware of the way that children have become active participants in the socialization process and that school is where the gender stereotypes and their behaviors are reinforced. Because of this understanding, I will need to make sure that I put more of an emphasis on giving both my male and female students the same opportunities and encourage them to break this socialization process.

Gender Role learning

Students in early education are already learning the gender roles that are placed on them from birth. These are the things that guide children's behaviors and influence the types of things they play with, the children that they play with, and the values and dreams that they have.

As a teacher in early childhood, I will do my best to encourage the children to play with the toys or activities that they wouldn't normally play with. With that, I think it would be important for me to have gender neutral items in my classroom. I think that encouraging students to go after their dreams no matter what they are will be important to show them that even when society tells them they cannot do something, they are capable of anything they want to do.

Title IX

Title IX makes it illegal to treat students differently or separately on the basis of gender. All programs, activities, and opportunities offered by a school district must be equally available to both male and female students.

This concept has brought awareness that shows me that it is related to more than just the extra-curricular activities or sport programs at schools. This will influence my classroom because I will need to meet the interests and abilities of both my male and female students. I think that building a classroom focused on the equality of males and females will help to teach students these values and encourage them to explore a wider range of careers.

Chapter 5 concepts


Self-identity is based on the sexual attractions, related behaviors, and a connection with others of the same orientation. Self-identification allows the individual to identify themselves.

This concept has shown me that children as early as six years old are able to understand that they are sexually different than their peers. Students that are in the LGBTQ community will go through stages of development in order to develop their identity. It will be my job to support these students and to create a classroom of acceptance and a foundation rooted in the belief of worth of all persons.

The Gender Spectrum

The gender spectrum is the spectrum of many gender identities that people may identify with.

This concept is important to remember because I will have students that may identify with parts of the spectrum. It will be important that I am sensitive to these students as they are discovering who they are and finding their authentic self. These are the students that will need support and to feel that they are safe when they come to school.

Sexual Discrimination

Many students of the LGBTQ community face discrimination and prejudices due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. These students often face violence, bias, and harassment in schools.

Because many of these students feel unsafe when they come to school, it will be important that I have a zero tolerance policy for harassment or discrimination in my classroom in order to create a safe environment for my students. If students come to school and feel unsafe, it will be difficult for them to learn or even want to be there. It will be my responsibility to intervene when instances of harassment and discrimination occurs.


Gender Role Learning

This has been the most valuable concept for me because it has shown me the way that children have been socialized in society to behave and like certain things. Because of this knowledge, I want to create more of a gender equality in my classroom. I believe that students should be exposed to a variety of activities and opportunities that encourage equal participation from both male and female students. Understanding that this is the time that many gender stereotypes are reinforced in children, it will be important for me to ensure that the things that I do in the classroom do not favor one group over the other. I believe that students should be exposed to the skills and concepts that they need in order to be successful, while working together and building off of one another. I think that by doing this, students will begin to respect and value one another. I think that this will also help students go after their dreams whether it is a little girl wanting to be a firefighter or a little boy wanting to be a teacher. Breaking the gender role learning and gender stereotypes that are present in schools, students will feel more capable to achieve their dreams no matter what they are.


My race, ethnicity, and gender will influence the types of students and the families that I relate and connect to. The students and families that identify with the same race, ethnicity, and gender as me will be able to better connect with me. Because of this, I will need to raise my awareness and decrease the biases that I might have about students and families that are different from me. My religion will influence the beliefs and values that I hold about myself and others. I believe that my religion will be beneficial in this because one of the biggest factors in my faith is the belief in the worth of all persons. I think that this will be incredibly helpful in working with students of different races and ethnicities as well as students of different genders and gender identities. I believe that this will help me to negotiate any of the bias traps that might be present in my life. I think that the biggest bias trap that might be present in my life is the bias I have towards female students that they are higher performers and overall better students. Because there is this stereotype in schools, it will be important for me to rid myself of this bias and find opportunities for gender equality in my classroom.

An obstacle that I see myself facing in the challenge of maintaining a culturally relevant classroom would be handling situations of gender identity and sexual orientation. I think that this is going to be an obstacle because this is something that I do not have a lot of experience working with and I am still unsure how to handle these situations in school. I know that it is my job to accept and care for all of my students, but I am unsure of how I might be able to reach or connect with these students because it will be something that I am unable to relate to. It will be my job to create a safe and accepting classroom for these students and find the materials and resources that they need in order to feel accepted. I think that this obstacle could be minimized by gaining more knowledge and understanding about these issues, but also talking with the students and their families to figure out the best way to reach these students. I know that every child is different and they will all have different needs, so getting to know the students will help me to better understand the ways to help them succeed.


I still have questions about the regulations and procedures used for students of different gender identities and students that are transgendered. I have questions on how the schools will handle these situations and what I would legally be allowed to do and the ways that I could support these students both in and out of the classroom. The other concept that I still have questions about is the idea of religious pluralism and finding the ways to be sensitive to all different religions. I have questions on the legal aspects of what I would be allowed to say or do in the classroom. I think it might more be about the concerns that I have. I think that as I take further courses, I will get into the legal policies on both of these issues.


I believe that all teachers must understand and incorporate multicultural education into their classrooms. I believe that teachers need to provide students with the opportunities to grow in their understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of others and their differences. I believe that by teaching multicultural education, students will engage in critical thinking and gain an awareness of others that helps to foster an environment of empowerment. I believe that multicultural education is the foundation for positive learning environments to be formed and the opportunities for students to discover their identities. By allowing students to discover their identities in a safe environment, they are able to seek understanding and acceptance from one another. I believe that multicultural education is the way that students gain the skills they need to interact in a society that is multicultural.

Multicultural issues are important for my future practice because it will help guide the instruction that I teach and the ways that I interact with students. I believe that the role of the multicultural educator is to be the facilitator in these conversations, the advocate for the students that are different, and the supporter for the students that need to know that someone is there and wants to see them succeed. I believe that this role is complex and can often times be difficult, but I must negotiate the biases and preconceptions that I might have in order to reach and teach all students. I can reach these students by making sure that all students are able to see themselves reflected in the classroom and in the curriculum. I believe that multicultural education is essential to the education of all students.

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