Multicultural education in the community college curriculum: a study of social science faculty perspectives and practices



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Texas Tech University


Many of the higher education studies regarding multicultural education have been conducted in four-year institutions despite the fact that statistics show a larger number of multicultural students attending community colleges in the United States of America. Because social science faculty deal directly with diversity issues in the content they teach, more studies on faculty and multicultural education can provide a fuller understanding for those who are a part of this open access institution.

The primary purpose of this case study was to explore the perspectives and practices of one social science faculty member who taught government at a two-year institution. This study's purpose, questions, definitions, terminology, analysis, and interpretation rested on the five typologies of multicultural education proposed by Sieeter and Grant (1999). The three types of data collection included interviews, classroom observation, and analysis of classroom documents. To generate categories and themes for this study, I employed Strauss and Corbin's (1998) constant comparative method.

The results of this study included the participants definition of multiculturalism along with an exploration of his formative experiences with diversity. For each of Slark and Lattuca's (1997) eight curricular components, this study provides examples from the participant's perspectives or classroom practices and then aligns each to the most appropriate of Sleeter and Grant's typologies. Emergent themes included Building on Student Knowledge and Experience, Relevance to the Reai World, Minority Dimensions.

The participant's perspectives and practices on multicultural education most closely aligned whh Sleeter and Grant's first and four typologies. Furthermore, the participant's practices and perspectives paralleled the concept of "mainstream multiculturalism" proposed by Rhoads and Valadez (1996). Even though the participant's content was largely multicultural, his methodology was traditional, not stressing multicultural ways of knowing and doing. Finally, I discuss implications for practice and suggestions for future research so that community colleges will one day be on the cutting edge of Education that is Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist.