The Contributions Approach Vs The Transformation Approach Essay

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Multicultural Education

Multicultural education is a philosophical concept in the field of education that is founded on the ideals of equality, justice, equity, freedom, and human dignity. The origin of this philosophical concept can be traced back to the 1960s during the civil rights era (Burnett, 1995). This concept was developed to help ensure that educational strategies and practices in the United States reflect the increasing diversity of America’s population including in the classroom setting. Since its inception during the civil rights era, multicultural education has continued to grow as reflected in the development of multicultural curriculum, textbooks, and teaching strategies. As this concept continues to grow, there are various approaches to multicultural education in the modern educational setting. This paper compares and contrasts two approaches to multicultural education i.e. the contribution approach and the transformation approach. The analysis also includes a discussion on the compatibility of the approaches with a Christian worldview.

Approaches to Multicultural Education

Even though multicultural education has become a major philosophical approach in today’s educational setting, there is a lack of a universal definition of this approach. According to Gay (1994), the concept of multicultural education means different things to different people. This is primarily because multicultural education is defined based on the cultural attributes of different groups. Moreover, the differences in definition of multicultural education is attributable to emphasis on different things including social problems, focus on people of color, allocation of financial resources, and limiting definitions to characteristics of local schools. Nonetheless, this concept basically refers to educational strategies and approaches that are geared toward promoting equity and equality in the classroom regardless of the students’ ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The concept is an attempt to ensure the field of education reflects the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of the American population including in the classroom.

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As the racial crisis in the United States emerged in the 1960s, the nation’s student population changed significantly and generated the need for reforms in schools and educational approach (Banks, 1995).

Efforts towards integrating multicultural education in the United States’ educational setting have existed since the civil rights era. These efforts have included the focus on establishing a multicultural curriculum that reflects the diverse learning needs of students from diverse ethnic or racial backgrounds. Since the 1960s, educators in the United States have focused on integrating the school curriculum with multicultural content as part of the shift from a mainstream-centric and Eurocentric curriculum (Banks & Banks, 2010). Different approaches have been utilized to help integrate multicultural curriculum including the contributions approach and the transformation approach. The contributions approach is regarded as Level 1 while the transformation approach is Level 3 framework for integrating multicultural content.

Contributions Approach vs. Transformation Approach

The contributions approach and the transformation approach are two of the four approaches for integration of multicultural content into the school curriculum. These approaches have some similarities and differences in their use toward integrating multicultural content into the school curriculum. One of the similarity between these two approaches is that they both focus on generating changes in the educational curriculum. The two approaches are based on the idea that changes in the curriculum is critical toward establishing multicultural education in today’s learning environment. While the approaches utilize different strategies in initiating the changes, the both focus on modifying school curriculum. Secondly, these approaches to multicultural education are similar in the sense that they involve dealing with ethnic content when integrating….....

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Banks, J.A. & Banks, C.A.M. (2010). Approaches to Multicultural Curriculum Reform. In Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (7th ed., chap. 10, pp.242-264).

Banks, J.A. (1995). Multicultural Education and Curriculum Transformation. The Journal of Negro Education, 64(6), 390-400.

Burnett, G. (1995). Varieties of Multicultural Education: An Introduction. Retrieved from

Gay, G. (1994). A synthesis of scholarship in multicultural education. Urban monograph series. Oak Brook, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved from

Peariso, J.F. (2010). “No More Strangers and Foreigners, but Fellowcitizens:” Multicultural Education and Conflict. Christian Perspectives in Education, 3(2), 1-25.

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