The Issues of Diversity and Multiculturalism in Preschool Education: A Reader's Theatre

By Christian, Karen M. | Multicultural Education, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

The Issues of Diversity and Multiculturalism in Preschool Education: A Reader's Theatre


Christian, Karen M., Multicultural Education


Cast:

Teacher

Student

Administrator

Community Members

Parents

Politicians

Teacher. How can we make every child in our classroom feel valued when the culture outside our classroom does not value each child?

If the truth about our country's past is hurtful, should we "change" the truth?

When do we finally tell them?

Administrator: Teachers don't question, they simply teach the curriculum with which parents and school boards are comfortable.

Teacher: Counts "called for a program much more directly attuned to social welfare and to ameliorating the social conditions of the poor and racial minorities" (Beyer/Apple) in 1932!

What happened?

Parent: I don't want to get involved.

Community Member: It's not my issue.

Student: "You're all part of History. The future is ours" (unknown author).

"Close your eyes and the machine runs without you" (unknown author).

Politician: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality" (Dante).

Community Member: "First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I Was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me" (Pastor Martin Niemoller).

Teacher: Oh powerful administrators, if I speak out, if I teach my preschool class to speak up for themselves, to accept people who are drastically different from themselves, will I still get my pay check Friday?

Politician: Historically, people have turned their backs to the social injustices our country faces. The answer is political action, multi-cultural education, and integrated schools.

Parent: What is right? Whose values will prevail?

Schools contribute to societies in a way no other institution can. Schools are the only institutions with access to children coming from families with so many different beliefs and value systems.

What we teach in schools helps to shape the next generation of "normative" values and beliefs.

Community Member: "We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-- that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living" ( Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).

Teacher: It seems so clear to each one of us which values we should be teaching in schools. They are the values we ourselves deeply believe to be the "right" ways of living. What happens when my values do not align with the values of the children's families in my classroom?

Politician: "A variety of interest groups and those in positions of power have suggested one vision of democracy or another that is consistent with their larger ideological agenda" (Beyer).

Administrator: Teachers hold their own ideologies and can not be disconnected from them while they teach the impressionable young minds that fill their classrooms.

Politician: As our schools move into a post-modern era, the ideologies driving our schools become less set and more open for discussion.

Teacher: Knowledge is power, but who has that power? Where does the knowledge come from? How can I, as your teacher, help all 32 of you, as different as you are, to get the knowledge you will need to be successful?

Student: I read a book that said "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go" (Seuss). …

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