Teaching for Diversity: Intercultural and Intergroup Education in the Public Schools, 1920s to 1970s

Lauri D. Johnson, Yoon K. Pak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This historiography chronicles educators’ efforts to teach for diversity through heightening awareness of immigrant experiences as well as discrimination against minoritized religious and racial groups in public school classrooms from the 1920s through the 1970s. This curriculum and pedagogical work was couched under various terms, such as intercultural education, intergroup education, human relations, and cultural pluralism. Drawing from published secondary research literature as well as primary archival sources, we aim to disrupt commonly held views that intercultural education/intergroup education met its demise in the 1950s and show how curriculum and pedagogy shifted after the landmark 1954 ruling of Brown v. Board of Education toward improving intergroup relations within the context of school desegregation. In the end we identify common themes across the decades that include the failure to recruit and support a diverse teaching force, the importance of teacher-led curriculum and professional development, and the lack of a sustained focus on race and racism in classroom practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalReview of Research in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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