Awareness about Different Cultural Groups: A Review of Narrative & Experience in Multicultural Education

Article excerpt

Awareness about Different Cultural Groups: A Review of Narrative & Experience in Multicultural Education Reviewed by Mohammed Djebrane, Laura C. Burciaga, Laura Duarte, & Grace Runkles Narrative & Experiencein Multicultural EducationEdited by Joann Phillion, Ming Fang He, & F. Michael ConnellyThousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications2005ISBN 1-4129-0583-4$39.95

Introduction

The purpose of multicultural education is to create awareness about issues that affect different cultural groups. In an effort to eliminate social inequalities, multicultural education has been studied and researched from multiple perspectives. The book, Narrative and Experience in Multicultural Education, edited by Joann Phillion, Ming Fang He, and F. Michael Connelly, describes multiculturalism through a broad scope of interpretations and definitions among different cultures.

The book offers an innovative way of looking at educational research from a vicarious point of view that allows the reader to become engaged and experience the text through the eyes of the researcher and research participants. It creates a simple understanding of the text and allows its readers to reach their own conclusions as they experience multiculturalism in different contexts.

The book describes numerous cultures along with their socio-economic status, political perspectives, traditions, geographic locations, and the historical challenges and frustrations they face on a daily basis. This approach reveals challenges and frustrations are not only from other cultures/ethnic groups but are also from within their own family/culture.

Book Componentsand Summary

Narrative and Experience in Multicultural Education is an assemblage of research and analysis of fifteen authors' experiences in the study of multicultural education. The book takes us on an inquiry of multiculturalism and the impact that it has on not only teachers and students, but on the educational process as well. It takes us on a journey from North America, specifically the United States and Canada, to Eastern European continents as well as Arab countries, in an effort to provide the reader with various examples to allow one to develop a clear understanding of multiculturalism.

The authors describe their experiences and explain multiculturalism by providing a description of the research site and participants, allowing the reader to share in the researchers' experience through imagination. The editors and authors encourage the reader to use an "experiential" as well as an "imaginative" eye when reading the text. The methods employed in the writing of the text provide a distinct approach to describing each author's experience. It is set up as "a day in the life of..." style of writing. Each chapter in the book contains comprehensive research data and references to support the observations and conclusions made by the authors.

The book is well organized and divided into six units that address the concerns of African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, as well as International Multicultural Teacher Education Issues, Narrative Methodology and Multicultural Education Research, and Multiculturalism in Democratic and Community Life. The six units contain of fifteen chapters, with chapters one and fifteen being an introduction and a conclusion written by the editors of the book.

Units one through three embark on research conducted in North America and address the unanswered inequality, injustice, and strains between different ethnic groups, specifically Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. Unit four focuses on an international context and deals with educators teaching in multicultural settings. The idea they represent is one where encouraging dialogue is the best way to teach others to be accepting, thus leading to understanding. The authors in this unit talk about tensions or problems that arise in discussions, but also offer solutions and examples of outcomes that demonstrate how open dialogue allows us to attain our goals of appreciation and acceptance of other groups. …