Why Should We Teach Multicultural Science Education?
Traditional curriculum does not serve minority students well. "Education that legitimize the cultural norms of only one culture within a pluralistic society robs students from other cultural backgrounds of self-esteem and contributes to discrimination" (Mary M. Atwater1993).
The implementation of multicultural education has the possibility to create viable links between individuals of all races, creeds, and ethnicities. It also provides instructional process with the unification of the school, community, teachers, and parents with a consciously selected curricula, incorporating the students' cultural backgrounds.
Respecting the cultural background and dignity of each student will be an asset to our society. The focus of multicultural education is on critical thinking as well as on how to learn, acknowledging that different students have different learning styles. It facilitates communication between students, teachers, and society.
Multicultural education will help to eliminate stereotypes, prejudice, racism, and bigotry. Minority students gain a sense of pride, self-worth, appreciation of one's culture seen in context with other cultures. " The mind of any child is too precious a commodity to waste" (Bryant, Jr. 1997). Cultural instructions in school will enable students to appreciate and respect cultural diversity with equality. Students will therefore value understanding each other, working and living together, and sharing power- political, social, economic, and financial.
WHAT IS YOUR MULTICULTURAL COMPETENCE?
Check this list to see how you rate as a multicultural teacher:
1. What stereotypes do you have towards students of different ethnic backgrounds?
2. Do you provide positive role models for students from different cultural backgrounds?
3. Do you use a variety of teaching methods?
4. Do you teach from a multicultural prospective?
5. Is your classroom climate a deterrent for students of all cultures to reach their fullest potentials?
6. From whose prospective is the science text written?
7. Describe your efforts to supplement the standard curricula with culturally diverse information, activities, and materials.
8. Do you think multicultural education is only for heterogeneous classrooms?
How did you rate yourself?
This multicultural lesson focuses on Dr. Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941), an African-
American marine embryologist. Writer Kenneth Manning considers him the "Black Apollo of Science", making strides in his field amidst racial prejudice in the United States through the 1920's and 1930's. Dr. Just induced parthenogenesis in Nereis worm eggs by increasing the temperature of the sea water. Students will model this experiment in the classroom.
Notes to the Teacher: to top
Preparation time needed: Order Nereis worms ahead of time
and use them the next day after shipment. You can also use
sea urchin embryology kit from Wards or Carolina or collect clam worms
or purchase them in a bait store( if available in your area). You will
need at least one hour to:
1) prepare Instant Ocean--available at pet stores (if you do not live in a
marine environment.-collect prior to lab).
2) heat sea water or Instant Ocean to 30-33oC.
3) organize equipment on tables for easy student access.
Class time needed: 40-45 minute class (If you are on a block schedule, you could have students design their own experiment and complete it in class)
[Hazards/Precautions]: Keep Nereis worms in sea water covered.
*Dr. Just collected Nereis limbata, which are sexually dimorphic.
The females are yellow or green, and the males are red and white.
During the summer nights(when there was a full moon) he collected
both males and females at the surface of the water. As the males
released their milky sperm, the female's eggs would sink to the bottom.
He performed both breeding and parthenogenesis experiments. Dr. Just
discovered you could induce parthenogenesis by placing these unfertilized
eggs in a warmer temperature of 30-33oC.
For more of his experiments consult his book, Basic Methods for Experiments on
Eggs of Marine Animals
|T||Level 3 Process/Philosophical Orientation
Teachers are committed to multicultural
science education. They are active in the process of designing and developing science lessons and activities that are free from stereotypes and racism.The instruction becomes inclusive instead of exclusive.
Level 2 Process/product
Level 1 Product
1. The teacher's mind set plays an important role in implementing and
promoting the idea
that humanity has benefited from diversity.
2. Know the parents and community resources.
3. Treat each family as unique entity with their own cultural identity.
4. Students with language barriers should be given hands-on and minds-on activities which will enable students to manipulate concrete materials for the development of better skills and attainment of higher levels of science achievement.
5. Assume that all students can learn. Avoid stereotypes that limit students success in selected subjects.
6. Use exciting and challenging hand-on activities. Teachers must move beyond the textbook. Provide relevant experiences.
7. Talk to students about their learning styles. Encourage students to take ownership of their own learning.
8. Develop a repertoire of content strategies and activities. Include a variety of cognitive/learning modes in your teaching style and assist students in moving from one preferred learning mode to a base of mixed preferences so they can benefit from information closely related to science.
9. Help students see themselves as future scientists and appreciate the multicultural history of science. Students must realize that a career in science is an exciting and realistic option for all people.
10. Build opportunities for success into the curriculum and create a climate conducive to learning.
11. Learn about the history and culture of various groups.
12. Provide diverse learning experiences. Engage students in both in-class and out-of- class learning opportunities.
13. For a test or quiz allow more time for students not yet fluent in English.
14. All students must be pushed because you value them as human beings.
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suggestions for incorporating the
diverse history of Science into the Classroom. Science Teacher 64: 34-37.
Banks, James A. 1997. Educating Citizens in a Multicultural
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Press. New York.
Baptiste, Prentice and Key, Shirley Gholston. 1996. Cultural
Inclusion: Where does your
program stand. Science Teacher. 63: 32-35.
Boyer, James and Baptiste, Prentice. 1997. Transforming
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Act Now and Make Science an
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Carey, Shelley J. 1993. Science for All Cultures.
National Science Teacher's Association.
Gilbert, Scott. F. ed. 1994. A Conceptual History
of Modern Embryology. John Hopkins
James, Kessler H. et al. 1996. Distinguished African
American Scientists of the 20th Century.
Just, Ernest Everett. 1939. Basic Methods For Experiments
on Eggs of Marine Animals.
Manning, Kenneth R. 1983. Black Apollo of Science.
The Life of Ernest Just. Oxford
University Press: New York.
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Strategies for Customizing your
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4000 Years Of Women in Science.
Excellence Activities Exchange--series of biology laboratory activities
Desowitz, R.S. 1981. New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish
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Desowitz, R.S. 1997. Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria? Torrid
Diseases in a Temperate
World. W.W. Norton: New York.
Dorough, Donna K. 1996. Incorporating Multicultural Dialogue:
How to Encourage
Open Discourse in the Classroom. Science Teacher. 63: 50-52.
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Internationalizing the Science
Curricula. Eric Document ED382446.
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Technology Can Spark
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Intercultural E-Mail Classroom
Connections. Free service to help teachers & classes
link with partners in other countries.
Mekar, Claudia. 1995. Multiculturalism in Science Education.
Teacher. 57: 21-26.
Pavilion. Resource for educators interested in multicultural
Murfin, Brian. 1996. An African Chemistry Connection: Simulating Early Iron
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