Thinking Through the Challenges of Multicultural Education (Revision 1)
The overall intent of this course is to spur deep critical reflection on two broad concepts: culture, and the complexities and ramifications of schooling's socialization/enculturation function in contemporary Canada's multicultural society-specifically, the feasibility of schooling's libratory ideals.
Schools-from kindergarten to universities-are a potent institution of socialization. Ideally they are vehicles for manifesting the democratic ideals of equality and justice in society over time. As the Sanskrit proverb states, "education is that which liberates". However, the knowledge (subject matter as well as attitudes and behaviours) taught in school fundamentally and quite subconsciously represents the worldviews (values and beliefs) of the dominant culture. Due to the policy level decision making that informs curriculum design at the ministry level, ideas involved in the hiring of teachers at the district level, and teachers' personal instructional decisions and actions at the classroom level, the consciousness, history, and experience of some groups can become ignored, demeaned as inferior or inappropriate (Ghosh & Abdi, 2004). Therefore, the schooling encounter is not necessarily, despite best professional intentions, an equitable transforming experience for all students. The dynamics of knowledge and power get cemented in schooling. Schooling secures and maintains society's power structures.
In Unit 1, students will analyze culture through a detailed interdisciplinary model that highlights how culture dictates individual and therefore societal worldview. The student will be able to articulate his/her worldview as per the model in an unmarked (yet discussed with tutor) journaling exercise.
In Unit 2, the student will be guided through readings that flesh out the argument encapsulated above-school's philosophical purposes and intentions versus what, according to certain scholars, schools really achieve.
In Unit 3, the student will use a single small and accessible text (Williams, 2001) as a tool to specifically consider how s/he has learned to view others (people whose ethnicity and/or racial background is not the same), as well as to consider how the school as an organization defines and engages others.
In Unit 4, the student will consider what the literature endorses as necessary principles for the organization and operation of schooling.
Assessments and Feedback
- #1 upon completion of Unit 2: test worth 20% of the overall grade.
- #2 upon completion of Unit 3: critical reflective paper worth 25% of the overall.
- #3 upon completion of Unit 4: research based paper worth 40% of the overall.
- #4 upon completion of Unit 5: blue-sky/brainstorming creative project worth 15%.
To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.
Williams, M. A. (2001). The 10 lenses: Your Guide to Living & Working in a Multicultural World. Sterling, VA: Capital Books, Inc.
The course materials also include a reading file.
The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.
Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.
Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form
Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.
Opened in Revision 1, October 16, 2012.
Updated May 11 2016 by Student & Academic Services