A Multicultural Curriculum

A Multicultural Curriculum - Sarah Hall 1 Thurber, Section...

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Sarah Hall Thurber, Section 004 1 A Multicultural Curriculum America has been defined in two different ways: (1) A melting-pot, where a plethora of different cultures come together and blend into one culture: American, (2) A salad bowl, where there are just as many cultures as in a melting pot, but they do not blend into one new culture. The debate over multiculturalism seems to be that of how to define America: a salad or a mix. When it comes to the teachings of multiculturalism, the topic turns into a heated debate. The question is whether or not we should teach in a multicultural fashion, including bilingual classes and teaching from numerous points of view, or should we stick to traditional teachings while enforcing English as the language of academics. I. The view points of historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and journalist Juan Gonzalez show two contrasting opinions on the matter. Schlesinger recognizes that there are a few good consequences of multicultural curriculum. He believes that learning history from many sides in school gives recognition to other cultures. Doing so, he believes, makes students “acquire a complex and invigorating sense of the world and of themselves.” 1 However, Schlesinger opposes the idea of multicultural teachings. He says that the “new ethnic gospel rejects the unifying vision of individuals from all nations melted into a new race” and goes on to explain that “division into ethnic communities establishes the basic structure of American society and the basic meaning of American history.” 2 He believes that by creating a multicultural education, we are segregating the cultures by making them stand out. Schlesinger’s theory is that debate over curriculum in schools is a debate over what is means to be American. 3 His beliefs, essentially, are that of the melting-pot theory. Not necessarily that all of our cultures have come together, but that they should.
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Sarah Hall Thurber, Section 004 2 Schlesinger uses the British to explain how America was shaped. His argument is that as soon as the land was cleared of the Dutch, French and Spanish, Britain was free to mold the country as it pleased. His testimony is that every part of our culture was derived from Britain. Ours ties back to Britain explain why today we are run by the traditional white, Anglo-Saxon protestant male. 4 Unlike Schlesinger, Gonzalez feels that America dates back to and was shaped first by the Germans, and then by the cultures that America so strongly discriminated against in the past. He suggests that because Pennsylvania was so dominated by Germans in the mid to late 1700s, they contributed the most to the American culture. He claims that the Americanization policy was the only reason German influence decreased so much. 5
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This essay was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course HIST 104 taught by Professor Thurber during the Spring '08 term at VCU.

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A Multicultural Curriculum - Sarah Hall 1 Thurber, Section...

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