Multiple Competencies and Selfregulated Learning: Implications for Multicultural Education

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Although cultural diversity in classrooms is hardly a new phenomenon, its influences on teaching and learning are increasingly discussed. Cultural diversity could lead to better learning and democracy outcomes. However, it also poses challenges for educators and schools. For example, research has revealed marked cultural differences in motivation, learning attitudes, thinking styles and school achievement. Attempts have been made to assure teaching and learning quality by designing standardized curricula and giving standardized tests. However, it is questionable whether standardized tests could capture the diverse aptitudes and skills students with different cultural experiences bring to the classroom. It is also questionable whether a standardized curriculum would lead to positive learningoutcomes for all. In 1998, we convened a conference in the University of Hong Kong, and invited experts from different parts of globe to discuss how to apply psychology to enhance learning and teaching quality. Probably because of the cultural diversity of the conference participants, multicultural education emerged as one of the dominant themes in the conference. For example, in the Opening Address, Robert Sternberg argued for the importance of cultural sensitivity in ability testing. In another keynote address, Martin Maehr discussed the implications of motivation research for designing an optimal achievement environment for culturally diverse students. Professor Sternberg’s paper is included in this volume, and Professor Maehr’s article was published in a previous volume we edited (Student Motivation: The Culture and Context of Learning, Plenum, 2001). The contributors of this volume include psychologists and education researchers from Africa, Asia, Australia and North, and some of them have extensive experiences in multicultural education. Despite their diverse cultural and professional background, the contributors agree that to meet the challenges posed by cultural diversity, educators need to have the sensitivity to multiplicity of student abilities in aptitude and achievement assessment.
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Jan 1, 2002
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Diane Ravitch
From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, “whistle-blower extraordinaire” (The Wall Street Journal), author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System (“Important and riveting”—Library Journal), The Language Police (“Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating”—The New York Times), and other notable books on education history and policy—an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
​In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and dropout rates are at their lowest point.

​She argues that federal programs such as George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top set unreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, and result in teachers being fired if their students underperform, unfairly branding those educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education, some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Many who work with equity funds are eyeing public education as an emerging market for investors.
​Reign of Error begins where The Death and Life of the Great American School System left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education, and in a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserve and improve it. She makes clear what is right about U.S. education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, and how we can fix it.

​For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, about learning, about developing character, and about creating citizens for our society. It’s about helping to inspire independent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school education is essential to our democracy, and its aim, since the founding of this country, has been to educate citizens who will help carry democracy into the future.
Ozlem Sensoy
This is the new edition of the award-winning guide to social justice education.

Based on the authors’ extensive experience in a range of settings in the United States and Canada, the book addresses the most common stumbling blocks to understanding social justice. This comprehensive resource includes new features such as a chapter on intersectionality and classism; discussion of contemporary activism (Black Lives Matter, Occupy, and Idle No More); material on White Settler societies and colonialism; pedagogical supports related to “common social patterns” and “vocabulary to practice using”; and extensive updates throughout.

Accessible to students from high school through graduate school, Is Everyone Really Equal? is a detailed and engaging textbook and professional development resource presenting the key concepts in social justice education. The text includes many user-friendly features, examples, and vignettes to not just define but illustrate the concepts.

“Sensoy and DiAngelo masterfully unpack complex concepts in a highly readable and engaging fashion for readers ranging from preservice through experienced classroom teachers. The authors treat readers as intelligent thinkers who are capable of deep reflection and ethical action. I love their comprehensive development of a critical social justice framework, and their blend of conversation, clarity, and research. I heartily recommend this book!”

—Christine Sleeter, professor emerita, California State University Monterey Bay

Farideh Salili
Ever since the advent of the intelligence test we have thought of exceptional achievement in terms of cognitive attributes. We have words and phrases like "genius," "above average intelligence," "average" and "mentally deficient" to describe different levels of cognitive ability. In the United States widespread use of intelligence tests followed the success of the in World War I, and for the next half-century Army Alpha and Beta Tests intelligence tests were the major measures used to predict school and vocational achievement. Learning was primarily studied in laboratories, and the behaviorist theories that were dominant largely dealt with changes in overt behavior. As a result there was relatively little influence of learning research on concepts involving cognition and intelligence. The transition from behaviorism to cognitive psychology that began in the 1940's and 50's came into full flower in the 1970's and 80's, and great progress was made in understanding learning, memory, and thinking. In the decades following World War I there had been many debates about the possible influence of environmental conditions on intelligence, but the cognitive abilities measured by intelligence tests were generally believed to be determined by heredity. The intelligence tests of cognitive abilities correlated substantially with academic performance; so their use in determining which students needed special help in school or which students were capable of university work was widely accepted. As cognitive psychology became dominant, it became apparent that although heredity was important, intelligence consisted of learnable abilities.
Farideh Salili
Democratic political systems and the democratic way of life is aspired by most people around the world. Democracy is considered to be morally superior to other forms of political systems as it aspires to secure civil liberties, human rights, social justice and equality before the law for everyone regardless of their gender, culture, religion and national origin. Enshrined in democracy is separation of religion and state, fair and competitive elections of leaders according to a country’s constitution which in turn is based on democratic ideals. Democracy aspires for people of different backgrounds to live together with their differences intact, but all contributing towards a better life for all. In today’s increasingly pluralistic societies many people of different cultural and national backgrounds are brought together. Many have migrated from countries with autocratic political systems. Some with religions that require them to behave in different way, others with cultures teaching them values of harmony, collectivism and conformity as opposed to the culture of their host country emphasizing individualism and cherishing differences. Hence, in multicultural societies development of pluralistic democracy, a democracy which includes respect for diversity is essential. A truly multicultural education which is based on the assumption that different cultures will be equally represented in education goes a long way towards education for democratic citizenship. Such an education would make students aware of issues of human rights and justice and encourage them to define their own values and ways in which they could contribute to a better world. The aim of this volume is to provide a forum for discussion of how multiple social perspectives and personal values can be brought together on common grounds around matters related to democracy. Contributions from research, and scholarly theoretical work as well as presentation of existing creative models of democracy education will be included. Authors from the major democracies will comment on the models and practice of multicultural education in their respective countries, to facilitate discussion and learning from each others’ experiences.
Farideh Salili
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