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Thesis

Multicultural approaches to teaching literature in two high school classrooms

13 December 1994

Abstract

We are living in an increasingly diverse society. Over the last few decades there has been a great deal of discussion about the role of our schools in such a society. There is a growing consensus among educators and educational critics that a pluralistic education for a multicultural society should be one 'of the guiding objectives of our schools. However, despite this consensus many critics feel that we have failed to reach that objective. Two reasons frequently cited for this failure are a lack of administrative support for multiculturalism, and inadequate teacher train.ing in multicultural pedagogy. This qualitative study looks at , tw,o English classrooms in an urban high school in the Pacific Northwest to determine how multiculturalism is interpreted; by teachers and administrators, the ways that English teachers bring multicultural perspectives into their classrooms, and the meaning that multiculturalism has for students. The findings indicate minimal administrative support for multicultural education, and dive~gent interpretations by teachers of the role of multiculturalism in the classroom. One should be cautious, however, in generalizing from these findings.


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