Thursday, November 10, 2005

Curriculum and Instruction To Reduce Racial Conflict

Curriculum and Instruction To Reduce Racial Conflict. I read this ERIC Digest yesterday. And as I did so, I got to wondering...

Might not the concepts in this essay help in France? After 15 days of rioting in Paris and other cities in the country, it is clear that France has done a poor job of incorporating minority groups in society and that they need to make some changes to their multicultural education. This might include more awareness of minority needs as well as more emphasis on how everyone (regardless of ethnic origin or religious belief) is a French citizen first and foremost. A healthy dose of conflict resolution training is in order as well.

At least the French can not blame this on Anti-Americanism or the Iraq War.

From the site:

The potential for racial conflict always exists in our multicultural society, and periodically there are widespread and serious racial incidents. Although various social institutions have attempted to respond to racial prejudice, effective interventions have not been devised to eliminate outbreaks of racial conflict totally or to obliterate the causes of racism. Public support for overt racism such as segregation and claims of racial inferiority have declined, but more subtle forms have emerged. Retrenchment in areas such as affirmative action and government programs to help decrease the economic and social power differentials among the races could be a cause (Kinder, 1986; Survey Research Center, 1986).

Educational institutions have always attempted to redress racial conflict and its underlying themes of bias, prejudice, and injustice. Measures have included efforts to change the structural aspects of schools and school districts with plans such as busing or redrawing district lines. As these reforms became controversial, other areas of the education system were targeted for change. Many school systems sought to hire more members of minority groups. Another area of effort has been use of curriculum to develop a climate for racial equality. Three such approaches to curriculum, discussed below, are multicultural education, anti-racist education, and conflict resolution. Although some effective programs use only one of these approaches, the most comprehensive programs include components of all three.

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