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Race, Social Justice, and University Language Programs From an International Perspective  

Elisa Gavari Starkie and Paula Tenca Sidotti

The democratization of university access made possible the arrival of new university students from different backgrounds. At this time access was opened to all individuals coming from all different backgrounds. The new student population had a strong impact on the university life. Some university professors complained that although some students were talented, they could not communicate in complex scenarios. The article will focus on the theoretical principles that inspired the democratic curriculum and the psychological approach that allowed new individual cognitive perspectives and a new vision of the university population. At this time the education principles by Freire and Dewey generated an impulse for democratic education. From this framework the article will analyze the research and educational principles that inspired the Writing Across Curriculums (WAC) movement and the supplementary Writing in the Disciplines (WID). Both programs were very successful and led to the establishment of the Writing Academic Centers that since then and until now guarantee a democratic university education. These centers have fostered WAC, which developed into WID. The need to address global classrooms has inspired Writing Across the Communities, which considers race and social justice within language programs. The university scientific approach is aligned with the international organization’s objectives for the 20th century.

Article

Diversity and Multiculturalism  

Floyd Beachum

The words diversity and multiculturalism are ubiquitous in the contemporary educational lexicon. They are certainly hallmarks in many educational conversations. Recent trials, tribulations, and triumphs in the areas of diversity and multiculturalism are not without historical context or educational precedent. The evolution of diversity and multiculturalism in the United States has been and continues to be a struggle. The lofty language that is immortalized in the United States Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance promises all U.S. citizens the right to life, liberty, safety, happiness, and so forth. However, this promise has not always been kept for all U.S. citizens. The full recognition of one’s rights in the United States has depended on one’s race/ethnicity, gender, social class, religious beliefs, ability status, and so forth. Consequently, the United States has also denied, ostracized, and oppressed groups of people based on these same aforementioned identities (e.g., slavery, segregation, sexism, etc.). This resulted in amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the Women’s Rights Movement, as well as others. These movements were no panacea; they simply weakened overt manifestations of bias, and allowed for more nuanced, covert, and/or institutionalized forms of bias. The elimination of overt bias also creates the illusion of success. People begin to think that the problems are solved because they are not obvious anymore. This highlights the need for diversity and multiculturalism in order to identify and expose covert bias and remind people that the struggles of the past are not just part of history; they undergird the problems we face today (e.g., achievement gaps, disproportionate discipline, and misidentification for special education). Ultimately, diversity/multiculturalism has the ability to provide a kind of interconnectedness among people by having them face the perplexing problems of equity, equality, social identity, and personal philosophy. Embracing and understanding diversity/multiculturalism is the key to unlocking its transformational power.