Multicultural Education Essays And Articles

The Multicultural Pavilion's Research Room contains original articles and essays on progressive, transformative, multicultural, social justice, and liberatory teaching and learning by educators around the world.

EdChange Essay and Working Paper Series by Paul C. Gorski

Burnout in Social Justice and Human Rights Activists: Symptoms, Causes, and Implications (2015) by Cher Chen and Paul C. Gorski, published in the Journal Human Rights Practice

Equity Literacy for All (2015): an article by Paul C. Gorski and Katy Swalwell in Educational Leadership magazine

Poverty, Class, and the Cultivation of Economically Just Educational Policy (2014): an article by Paul C. Gorski for Research Intelligence, a publication of the British Educational Research Association

Consumerism as Racial and Economic Injustice: The Macroaggressions that Make Me, and Maybe You, a Hypocrite (2014): from the journal, Understanding and Dismantling Privilege

Case Studies on Diversity & Social Justice Education (2014): an excerpt from the book by Paul C. Gorski and Seema Pothini, published in Teaching Tolerance magazine

Imagining Equity Literacy (or, The Insufficiency of Cultural Proficiency) (2014): a guest blog for the Teaching Tolerance web site

An Examination of the (In)Visibility of Sexual Orientation, Heterosexism, Homophobia, and Other LGBTQ Concerns in U.S. Multicultural Teacher Education Coursework (2013) by Paul C. Gorski, Shannon N. Davis, and Abigail Reiter, published in the Journal of LGBT Youth

Building a Pedagogy of Engagement for Students in Poverty (2013): published in Phi Delta Kappan, a brief synthesis of instructional and relational strategies.

Five Stereotypes About Poor Families and Education (2013): an excerpt of my book, Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty, published by the Washington Post.

Social Justice: Not Just Another Term for "Diversity": short blog post on the relationship between diversity and social justice efforts in higher education contexts, written for the ACPA Commission for Social Justice Educators

Complicating White Privilege: Race, Class, and the Nature of the Knapsack: my brief (and illustrated!) essay about how I came to understand the limitations of today's conversations about "white privilege"(see the version pubished by Counter punch here)

Perceiving the Problem of Poverty and Schooling: Deconstructing the Class Stereotypes that Mis-Shape Education Practice and Policy (2012): published in the journal, Equity & Excellence in Education

Instructional, Institutional, and Sociopolitical Challenges of Teaching Multicultural Teacher Education Courses (2012): published in the journal, The Teacher Educator

Self-Efficacy and Multicultural Teacher Education in the United States: The Factors that Influence Who Feels Qualified to Be a Multicultural Teacher Educator (2012) by Paul C. Gorski, Shannon N. Davis, and Abigail Reiter, published in the journal, Multicultural Perspectives

Introduction to Assault on Kids: How Hyper-Accountability, Corporatization, Deficit Ideologies, and Ruby Payne Are Destroying Our Schools (2011, Peter Lang Publishers)
by Roberta Ahlquist, Paul C. Gorski, and Theresa Montaño

Is There a Hierarchy of Oppression in Multicultural Teacher Education? (2011): published in the journal, Action in Teacher Education

Taco Night (revised 2011)
Short humor piece on the dangers of reducing educational equity to "celebrating the joys of diversity."

Equity and Social Justice from the Inside-Out: Ten Commitments of a Multicultural Educator (2011): an entry for the FEDCAN blog

Education Equity and the Trouble with Pragmatic Decision Making (2011): an essay written for the LeadScape blog

When It Was Poster Board: Computer Technologies and School Disadvantage (2011): a blog entry for Classism Exposed

Unlearning Deficit Ideology and the Scornful Gaze: Thoughts on Authenticating the Class Discourse in Education (2010; a revised version of this essay appears in the book, Assault on Kids: How Hyper-Accountability, Corporatization, Deficit Ideologies, and Ruby Payne Are Destroying Our Schools [Peter Lang, 2011])

The Scholarship Informing the Practice: Multicultural Teacher Education Philosophy and Practice in the U.S. (2010)
an analysis of data from the Social Justice and Multicultural Teacher Educators Resource Survey, published by the International Journal of Multicultural Education

A Wealth of Whammies for Youth in Poverty (2010)
an article for the blog, Classism Exposed

Critical Ties: The Animal Rights Awakening of a Social Justice Educator (2009)
a short reflective article by Paul C. Gorski about how he came to recognize the critical link between social justice and animal rights

Becoming Joey (2009)
a poem about dual identity, race, and schooling by Paul C. Gorski
note: a version of this poem was published in the book, White Teachers/Diverse Classrooms

Cognitive Dissonance: A Critical Tool of Social Justice Teaching (published in Multiculticultural Education, 2009)
by Paul C. Gorski
note: you can read, as well, the original working paper version of this essay

What We're Teaching Teachers: An Examination of Multicultural Teacher Education Coursework (Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education, 2009)
by Paul C. Gorski
note: you also can read the original working paper version of this essay

Peddling Poverty for Profit: Elements of Oppression in Ruby Payne's Framework (2009, as published in Equity and Excellence in Education)
by Paul C. Gorski

The Myth of the Culture of Poverty (2008)
Paul C. Gorski's essay published in Educational Leadership.

Savage Unrealities: Racism and Classism Abound in Ruby Payne's Framework (2008)
Paul C. Gorski's essay published in Rethinking Schools.

The Evolution of a Pro-Feminist (2008)
by Paul C. Gorski
note: a version of this short reflective essay will be published in the 2nd edition of the book, Readings for Diversity and Social Justice

Good Intentions Are Not Enough: A Decolonizing Intercultural Education (Intercultural Education, 2008)
by Paul C. Gorski
note: you also can read the original working paper version of this essay

Taco Night (2007)
Paul C. Gorski's short humor piece on the dangers of reducing educational equity to "celebrating the joys of diversity."

The Question of Class (2007)
published by Teaching Tolerance

Insisting on Digital Equity: Reframing the Dominant Discourse on Multicultural Education and Technology (Urban Education, 2007)
by Paul C. Gorski
note: you also can raed the original working paper version of this essay

The De-politicizing of Multicultural and Intercultural Education (2006)
by Paul C. Gorski
note: a revised version of this essay was published in the journal, Intercultural Education

Savage Unrealities: Uncovering Classism in Ruby Payne's Framework (2005)
by Paul C. Gorski
note: versions of this article have been published in Rethinking Schools and Teachers College Record

Savage Unrealities: Abridged Version (2005)
This is a shortened version of the above essay.

A Brief History of Multicultural Education

A Narrative on Whiteness and Multicultural Education

Transforming Myself to Transform My School

Multicultural Education and the Digital Divide


Am I Anishinaabe Enough? (PDF)
by Catherine Pulkinen, University of Wisconsin--Superior (2010)

Building Your Leadership Team: Value Systems, Memetics, and Education (PDF)
by Caleb Rosado, Rosado Consulting (2007)

What Do We Mean by "Managing Diversity"? (PDF)
by Caleb Rosado, Rosado Consulting (2007)

Transforming My Curriculum, Transforming My Classroom: Paulo Freire, James Banks, and Social Justice in a Middle School Classroom (PDF)
by Justin Hudalla, University of Minnesota (2006)

Culturally Responsive Teaching--Preacher Style (PDF)
by Jennifer Spates, Hamilton County Public Schools (2006)

Their View--My View: A White Teacher's Quest to Understand His African American Middle School Students' Views of Racism (PDF)
by John Melvin, Bret Harte Middle School/Mills College (2006)

Learning and Teaching English Without a Textbook: An Action Research Study (Microsoft Word Document)
by Graciela González Cristo, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Mexico (2005)

The Ethnography Project: A Method for Increasing Sensitivity in Teacher Candidates
by Nancy Harding, Pepperdine University (2005)

It's Not So Elementary: Practices to Disrupt Homophobia in Teacher Education Classes
by Anne René Elsbree, Anita E. Fernandez, & Penelope A. Wong, California State University, Chico (2005) [download as Word document]

Please Check Your Baggage: Considering Cultural Biases and Critical Issues in the Adult ESL Classroom when Using Computer Technology
by LaurieAnne Rosenblatt (2004)

A Native American Approach to Teaching and Learning
by Lauen Wakau-Villagomez (2003)

Racism in Staten Island 09.03
by Marie Ng (2003)

Multicultural Representations in Basal Reader Series
by Kira Isak Pirofski of San Jose State University (2003)

Racial Ambiguity, Educational Access, and Social Impact: From the Classroom to the Ivory Tower
by Lorri J. Santamaría of California State University, San Marcos (2002)

Building Blocks: The First Steps of Creating a Multicultural Classroom
by Larri Fish of Siena College (2002)

Gender Bias in Education
by Amanda Chapman of D'Youville College (2002)

Cultural Crisis in Education
by Amanda Chapman, Amy Davidson, and Carey Panet of D'Youville College (2002)

Critical Multicultural Education and the Media
by Julia Petrozza of D'Youville College (2002)

Eliminating Racism in the Classroom
by Richard Morgan of D'Youville College (2001)

Race, Gender, and Disability in Today's Children's Literature
by Kira Isak Pirofski of San Jose State University (2001)

Multicultural Literature and the Children's Literary Canon
by Kira Isak Pirofski of San Jose State University (2001)

International Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity: An Annotated Bibliography
by Heewon Chang and Timothy Dodd of Eastern College (2001)

Camino hacia la globalización: El bagaje cultural
Sahnya Shulterbrandt, Directora de Ediciones y Desarrollo, INTER-FORUM Newsletter at FORUM INTERCULTURA, S.A. (2001)

Cabeza de Ratón, antes que Cola de León:  El Nuevo Orden Mundial desde la óptica del Tercer Mundo
Sahnya Shulterbrandt, Directora de Ediciones y Desarrollo, INTER-FORUM Newsletter at FORUM INTERCULTURA, S.A. (2001)

Hands-on Mathematics + Multicultural Education = Student Success
by Patty Adeeb, Nova Southeastern University and Janet Bosnick, University of North Florida (2000)

A Cultural Plunge
by Gary Fortune (2000)

Re-examining the Rhetoric of the "Cultural Border"
by Heewon Chang, Eastern College (2000)

Diversity Is About Change and Leadership
by Jose Soto, Southeast Community College (1999)

Reading Hypertext - From Global Culture to the Discourse of Individual Identity
by Luís Mendes, School of Education of Lamego (Polytechnic Institute of Viseu), Portugal (1999)

A Dissertation on Racial and Gender Identity Development in White Male Multicultural Educators and Facilitators
by Paul Gorski, now at the University of Maryland's Office of Human Relations (1998)

Multicultural Education
by Keith Wilson of Southern Illinois University (1996)

Anti-Racist Community Work--A Radical Approach
by Rowena Arshad of Edinburgh, Scotland (1997)

Calendar and Cultures
by Richard Alpert of Amherst Publishing (1997)

Comparing Cultures
by Karin Blair (1997)

Freedom's Road Is Long and Hard
by Marquetta L. Goodwine (1997)

Black Community/Black America
by Calvin O. L. Henry (1997)

Articles by Caleb Rosado

Death by Discrimination?
by Joe Feagin of the University of Florida (1998)

Blinding Sight: A Question of Color
by Gene-Tey Shin (1998)

Cultural Liberation: East-West Biculturalism for a New Century
by Steve McCarty (1998)

The Language of Closet Racism
by Paul Gorski (1995)

I am seeking essays and articles on multicultural education and related topics to include in the Research Room. You need not be an established author to submit your work. In fact, I highly encourage classroom teachers and other practitioners to contribute your ideas and philosophies to the literature through this site.

To submit an item send a short e-mail describing it to gorski@edchange.org. Questions, comments, and submissions can be addressed to me, Paul Gorski. Happy writing!


America’s “melting pot” status is one that most citizens are proud to claim. The fact that people here often refer to themselves as one ethnicity or another, and rarely as simply an American, is proof that being from somewhere else – however far removed – is a source of familial pride. Even African Americans, who do not always have an Ellis Island story in the family tree, find collective strength in the stories of their ancestors and what it means for their lives today. This blending of cultures is both a blessing and curse of the K-12 classroom. With more diversity than ever, teachers have to adjust methods from one student to the next, and from one year to the next. Multicultural education is about more than a classroom with varied skin color – it includes careful examination of the neighborhoods, parenting styles and general experiences that shape each and every K-12 student.

In my new book The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching, I examine multicultural education and what impact the diverse students of today will have on the next generation of educators. Today I want to touch on the term “multiculturalism” and examine its meaning in K-12 classrooms.

Defining Multiculturalism

In its most basic sense, multicultural education is a progressive approach for transforming education based on educational equality and social justice. The components required in educating a multicultural education are content integrations, prejudice reduction, empowering school culture and social culture. These all relate and all require attention as they relate to the efforts of conflict resolution in today’s world. What kids learn in their classroom environments when it comes to interactions with those who are different from them translates into how well they will manage life in the global marketplace.

In the last century, there has been an increase in global mutual acceptance of opposing views and different cultures – though arguably, there is still a long way to go. Specifically when it comes to America, it is crucial that multicultural education exist with the increasing number of students who speak a second language and come from somewhere else. Diversity exists even within mainstream society and students need to have the communication life skills that multicultural education promotes.

Teaching in a Multicultural Society

So what does all this talk about multiculturalism really mean in the contemporary classroom? What can teachers do to make sure they practice pedagogical individualism and promote the diversity that exists in society as a whole? Since each classroom is different, each approach will be varied as well. Some important common ground when it comes to multicultural teaching should include:

Careful observation. David Kolb created a four-step model for really understanding the needs of a particular student group. He starts with concrete experience, adds reflective observation and then moves to abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. In other words, multicultural education cannot be taught in a textbook. It must be developed by each educator based on a particular student group.

Learning style guidance. Teachers can help students discover their academic strengths by helping them discover their own learning style. In this way, students discover what method of comprehension works best for them based on their own backgrounds and personalities. If educators make this learning style quest a class project, an inherent lesson in multiculturalism is taught.

Pride in heritage. Educators should look for ways to emphasize the differences between students in a positive light. This might mean writing essays on family background or partnering with other students to help each other develop projects that accent the culture of the other. This can include prompts that look back on family history for generations, or could ask students to look at their current family setup.

There are scores of ways that educators can approach multiculturalism in K-12 classrooms but the first step is recognizing its importance. For today’s students to experience lifelong success on the global scale, educators must recognize the need for multiculturalism in pedagogy.

How do you adjust to and promote multiculturalism in your classrooms?


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