The Importance of Multicultural Education on Students' Voices
The research examines the intersection of students' voices and curriculum content in a classroom. The curriculum content being the determining factors in what students learn, do not learn, and ultimately places more importance on dominant Caucasian centered content. The study examines whether a classroom that engages students through a multicultural educational philosophy by presenting the curriculum in an interdisciplinary fashion while incorporating active learning pedagogy can positively impact students' learning opportunities. Multicultural, Chicana, and Critical theory framework guided the selection of reading materials along with learning activities. Several readings about Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, the Chicano Movement, and Brown vs. Board of Education were utilized to provide students with knowledge and to allow the students to make connections between the readings and what they were learning in social studies. Daily journals, a Socratic seminar, one-on-one interviews, and student created biographies were utilized to determine the effects multicultural education had on the students' voices. The study found that students were encouraged and increased their voices against a dominant curriculum that did not represent their knowledge and lived experiences. The students voiced their opinion for the need of specific individuals to be added to the curriculum for the upcoming school year to ensure other students learn about individuals that impacted our society. Their English Language Arts and Reading skills, along with their knowledge in social studies, were amplified by the study as they combined the skills to create the final products of biographies.