¡Mira Look!: Rethinking Multicultural Education

Rethinking Multicultural EducationIn keeping with our theme for the month, today’s ¡Mira Look! highlights another of my favorite teacher resource books–Rethinking Multicultural Education: Teaching for racial and cultural justice.  In Rethinking Multicultural Education editor Wayne Au has collected the best Rethinking Schools articles that deal with race and culture.

The following describes the intent and focus of the book: “Moving beyond a simplistic focus on heroes and holidays, foods and festivals, Rethinking Multicultural Education demonstrates a powerful vision of anti-racist social justice education. Practical, rich in story, and analytically sharp, Rethinking Multicultural Education reclaims multicultural education as part of a larger struggle for justice and against racism, colonization, and cultural oppression-in schools and society. The book features 40 chapters, split into 4 sections: Anti-Racist Orientations; Language, Culture, and Power; Transnational Identities; Multicultural Classrooms; and Confronting Racism in the Classroom.” The book won the 2010 Skipping Stones Honor Award as one of the “finest teaching resources that promote multicultural awareness”.  For more on what’s included in the book, check out the table of contents here.

Like Beyond Heroes and Holidays, this book examines what we mean by multicultural education.  I believe it’s a powerful resource for a number of reasons.  First, many of the articles included are written by teachers, describing their own experiences teaching about language, culture and race in the classroom.  As anyone who’s tried to do this knows, it’s not easy, and it’s often messy.  The teachers here don’t sugarcoat anything.  They discuss both their successes and failures and model a self-reflectiveness that is so necessary if we’re going to do this kind of work in our classrooms.  It’s also powerful because of its applicability.  Many of the articles include discussions of actual lesson plans used by the teachers, with a variety of subjects and age levels covered.  A teacher can find actual activities to implement in their own classroom.

Voices from the Middle wrote the following in their review:

“This important book redefines the meaning of multicultural education. You will read about the struggles and successes of teachers and students engaged in bilingual and multicultural education; the power and potential of language use; strategies to confront racial issues in the classroom, and ways to include critical literacy practices in the curriculum. This book will leave you with new questions and insights about issues of equity, access, diversity, special education, ELL learners, and anti-racist education. Most of all, it will provide you with a broader, more inclusive perspective that can lead to meaningful professional conversations about social justice and systemic change in our schools.” (Volume 17: Issue 2)

It’s an excellent book–not one that I think you’d regret taking a look at! Feel free to share any comments or suggestions of other resources below!

–Katrina

6 thoughts on “¡Mira Look!: Rethinking Multicultural Education

    • Hi Jeff!! It’s a great book. If I’m remembering correctly you said you teach early elementary. The whole book is great, but there are two articles that I think have amazing ideas for things to do at the beginning of the school year to address issues like race and injustice with a younger audience. One is by Rita Tenorio and the other is by Alejandro Segura-Mora. I know you said you’re planning on purchasing the book (definitely worth it), but if you’d like the two articles sooner rather than waiting for the book to arrive (not sure when you’re starting to prep for the new year) I’d be happy to scan them and send them to you, just let me know.

      • Hello Katrina, Actually, I want to have my own copy but thank you for your generous offer. I will be teaching first grade this year and want to incorporate multicultural/social justice issues into the curriculum when possible. I have some time before I really start getting ready for the school year.

        I also want to apologize for not following up on visiting the Institute this summer. My family and I ended up spending most of our time in AZ and CO. Hope you’re enjoying what’s left of your summer break!

      • No apologies necessary! I hope you and your family had a wonderful time in the Southwest! So glad that you’re going to get the book. I think you’ll really like it, and it sounds like it will have some great ideas for what you want to do with your curriculum. Good luck with the beginning of the year! You’ll have to let us know how it goes–or maybe we’ll get to read about it on your blog!

  1. It is great to see such an invaluable resource being used to bring awareness to multiculturalism not only in the classroom, but society as a whole. Multiculturalism is so much more than food and clothing, there are cultures rich with history and traditions, struggles and achievements. Taking the time to communicate with people from other cultures and learn from them is a wonderful thing. This book sounds like a wonderful resource for teachers trying to raise multicultural awareness in the classroom.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! Looks like you’ve got some great resources on your website on the same topic. I’m looking forward to spending more time looking through them. I can’t say enough about this book! You said it so well above–multiculturalism is so much more than food and clothing. This book really helps teachers (and those who are studying to be teachers) think about that. It’s got that great blend of both reflective pieces and lesson plan ideas that show how these ‘conceptual’ conversations are applied in the classroom.

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