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James Banks Essay, Research Paper

Mark Shaffer

James Banks

James Banks believes that there should be more multicultural education taught in schools. Education about ethnic diversity treats cultural pluralism within a nation-state by studying different traits from different groups, which determine one group from another. He believes that a major goal of education in a free society is acceptance of cultural pluralism as a national strength and not an obstacle. Individuals of various minority groups may maintain their ethnic identities while sharing a common culture with Americans from many different ethnic backgrounds. (http://ericae.net/edo/ED273539.htm)

A suggestion made on how to incorporate more multicultural issues is that social studies education should build consensus on core civic values important to all Americans. These include the rule of law, representative and limited government, and civil liberties, including toleration of the respect of the rights of individuals and ethnic minority groups. Banks believes that educators who recognize and respect their students’ ethnic identities should also prepare them to assume common obligations and responsibilities of citizenship which involve shared civic values embodied in basic documents of the American heritage. Although students and teachers may participate variously within different microcultures, they also come together within the American mainstream culture, especially the civic culture. (http://ericae.net/edo/ED273539.htm)

James Banks has four basic levels to what he thinks will reform the curriculum. Level 1 is called the contribution approach. This is when the “Heroes, heroines, holidays, foods, and discrete cultural elements are celebrated occasionally.” (See the chart) This is the level I think most schools are at now. Level 2 is called the additive approach. This is where things are added to the curriculum without the structure changing. Level 3 is called the transformation approach. This approach says, “the structure of the curriculum is changed to enable students to view concepts, issues, events, and themes from the perspectives of the diverse ethnic and cultural groups.” (See the chart) Finally, the 4th level is called the action approach. This is when the students are encouraged to take action to help solve important “personal, social, and civic problems.” (See the chart)

It would not be a hard thing to incorporate diversity issues into a physical education class. Every sport or dance or activity had to originate from somewhere. So what I would do is give each child a sport or activity to do a project on. Each child would get a different activity that came from a different place. The child would then teach the class about his or her activity and where it originated. This activity, I think, would best fit into Banks level three. The structure of the class would change and the students would learn things that are taught nowhere else in the school.


1. The chart

2. http://ericae.net/edo/ED273539.htm



1. The chart

2. http://ericae.net/edo/ED273539.htm

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