Multicultural education: Transforming the mainstream

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Multicultural education, to this point, has primarily been conceived as the project of improving the educational and social opportunities of cultural and linguistic ‘minorities’. And very properly so. Although being of a cultural and linguistic ‘minority’ does not predestine a child to educational failure or lack of social mobility, it is undoubtedly the case that the educational prospects of particular cultural and linguistic groups are adversely affected under particular circumstances (Kalantzis and Cope, 1988). A view of multicultural education as something that exclusively addresses ‘minorities’, either as groups inequitably excluded from social access or as a positive presence, however, has its own limitations and difficulties. This chapter analyses the major educational paradigms for the way they frame the issue of diversity. The historical move from educational theories and practices whose project was assimilation, to philosophies and practices of pluralism which regard ‘minority’ students as their exclusive concern, we will argue, has created as many new problems as it has solved old ones. From this experience, it is now time to move on to new visions of multicultural education, visions which have the potential to transform pedagogy for all students, and to reconstitute mainstream social and educational practices in the interests of all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCritical Multiculturalism
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking Multicultural and Antiracist Education
EditorsStephen May
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)020397901X, 9781135710804
ISBN (Print)0750707674, 9780750707688
StatePublished - Nov 27 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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