Education, Multicultural, educational approach that celebrates the cultural diversity of contemporary society. Its basic premise is that by exposing all children to the social and cultural customs of ethnic minority communities living in their country, they will have a greater understanding and tolerance of people from different backgrounds This article deals only with multicultural education in Britain.
The concept of multiculturalism in schools is part of a continuing debate about how to address the inequalities among different ethnic groups that exist in the education system, as well as how to engender tolerance and understanding between them. For decades, British educational theorists have been split between multiculturalism and anti-racism, the latter being a more direct challenge to racist structures in society. Since the publication in 1999 of the Macpherson Report into London’s Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, the concept of “institutional racism” has superseded the previous debates.
The introduction of multicultural education in schools was largely a response to this threat of separatism, coupled with the impact of academic studies contending that black children’s low achievement could be tackled by developing curricula that reflected cultural diversity. The white Eurocentrism of learning materials was challenged, leading to the introduction of more images and stories of black people in books and the celebration of Asian and Caribbean festivals. Ethnic minority storytellers, musicians, poets, dancers, and theatre groups were frequent visitors to schools, and teachers or parents cooked food from different countries. The teaching in mother tongue or community languages was also introduced in some schools.