Authored by : Amy Oswick (PED3177 C)3177_working_together_#2.jpg

Topic: Multiculturalism - Antidiscrimination Education in ELA (Intermediate/Senior)

"A discussion of multicultural literacy in our schools must begin with an understanding of the diversity of children's family and community experiences in their country. Our youth form a rich mosaic of children from different cultures, ethnic groups and races. This mosaic creates a beautiful and balanced picture, with each part making a positive and distinct contribution to the whole. But, if parts of the mosaic are chipped away, devalued or discarded, the mosaic loses its beauty and value." (Diamond & Moore, 1995, p.1).


The notion of multiculturalism has become a prominent phenomenon in the field of education in this 21st century. “Ontario schools have some of the most multilingual student populations in the world. The first language of approximately 20 per cent of the students in Ontario’s English language schools is a language other than English (Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10,English, p. 30).” Accordingly, it is the teacher's responsibility to recognize the diversity of students which makes up the core of his/her classroom. Embracing an inclusive approach to teaching is beneficial for any student population. Today, many students in Canada are confronted with new cultural and linguistic environments on a daily basis; hence, establishing a supportive environment is necessary. One can find the appropriate information concerning the issue of multiculturalism and its effect on schooling in the English curriculum. It is especially important to highlight the section which has been dedicated to addressing the concept of Antidiscrimination Education (ADE) on page 33 of the grade 9 & 10 2007 English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum. In essence, an ELA classroom, or any other classroom for that matter, which supports ADE will increase its daily dynamic effectiveness since:

Purpose of this Wiki page: to encourage teachers to adopt a daily ADE approach to teaching. It is essential you keep this concept in the back of your mind when lesson planning for ELA; thus, familiarize yourself with the below theoretical frameworks, teaching and lesson plan ideas, assessment suggestions and additional teaching resources. Use them as sources of inspiration for your own classroom!
Steps to creating your own classroom mosaic...

Teaching Resources

1. Theoretical Framework:

a) What does ADE entail?

  • ADE encourages students to think critically about themselves and others in the world around them in order to promote fairness, healthy relationships and active, responsible citizenship!
  • In the English program, stories, novels, informational texts and media works relating to the immigrant experience provide rich thematic material for study! (Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10, English, p.33)


b) A Historical Perspective

As teachers, we are constantly attempting to create innovative opportunitites for all of our students. In order to do so, we centre our course material around their interests, needs, wants and lived experiences. To facilitate this procedure in terms of embracing an ADE approach to language teaching, I invite you to read the many volumes entitled History of Multicultural Education. In brief, the volumes provide the historical context surrounding the notions of multiculturalism. In order to better understand ADE, it might be favourable to understand the historical realitities first. The book content is based on events experienced by students and student learning. In reality, their is no better perspective which can help shape a functioning ADE classroom!

c) What does Identity, Citizenship, Majority/Minority, Ethnicity, Cultural Awareness and Stereotyping mean?

As the curriculum section on ADE clearly states as shown above, we need to promote fairness, healthy relationships and active and responsible citizenship. But how can one support this without a good understanding of the meaning of terms like identity, citizenship, majority vs. minority, ethnicity, cultural awareness and stereotyping?

All teachers must be aware of the socially complex and culturally diverse realities existent in their classroom. To facilitate this process, let me suggest to you the article White British; dual heritage; British Muslim: young Britons’ conceptualisation of identity and citizenship by Tehmina Basit. The author manages to give a clear insight as to the meanings of these words by providing a parallel explanation given by both students and professionals. By reading this article then, teachers can “reconsider the curriculum and pedagogy and make them more relevant to the needs of young citizens living in a cosmopolitan world” (Basit, p.741). As educators ourselves, we must remember that schooling experiences should be centered around students' needs. As a result, reading this article may very well better equip you as a teacher in creating a respectful ADE environment which promotes the acceptance of full individual citizenship and personal identity.

*Note: if you want to learn more about student identities in the high school setting, you are encouraged to look at the book High School Students' Competing Social Worlds. It closely ties in to this subject and may answer any unresolved questions you may still have about identities.

d) Assimilation vs. Integration

In order to better comprehend the theoretical frameworks surrounding ADE, teachers are equally encouraged to read the article Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice by Banks as it clearly distinguishes between the notions of assimilation and integration. This distinction is eminent because to all intents and purposes, multicultural education supports the idea of full integration in the classroom as a direct movement away from the 1960s and 1970s ethnic revitalization of assimilation (Banks, 2006, p.199). In view of this, the article suggests five dimensions in effort to better ensure a multicultural educational experience is reached for all students in a classroom. The following will undoubtedly benefit all ELA teachers:

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1. Content Integration;2. The Knowledge Construction Process;3. An Equity Pedagogy;4. Prejudice Reduction; and5. An Empowering School Culture
By implementing some of or all these dimensions, teachers can better ensure that all his/her students feel empowered to reach their full academic potential despite internal and external influential factors. Read this article and get an in-depth explanation to the specifics of each dimension and receive tips on how to utilize them in daily teaching routines!

e) Nonmainstream English?

This last article, Language Diversity and Learning written by Delpit addresses the reality of the presence of nonmainstream English in ELA classrooms. What is nonmainstream English? Is there currently room for other dialects of English at school and in the ELA classroom? After reading the article, one realizes that in addition to non-native speakers of English, native speakers too posses and practice different dialects of the same language. Different neighbouring communities make use of their own English codes (ie. variances in phonology, grammar, sentence structures etc) and thus, teachers must learn how to become more sensitive towards these variances. Student relevancy is essential to a certain extent. The article, for example, provides a concrete example of what they referred to as Black English compared to Standard English: "So the car traveling twice as faster will take twice less hours" (Delpit, p.399). Would you accept this sentence structure in your classroom? Explore your own boundaries by reading this article!
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f) Planning for Multicultural Instruction

If you are seeking general theoretical framework ideas on how to plan for multicultural instruction, I recommend you read the book Planning and Organizing for Multicultural Instruction written by Gwendolyn C. Baker. It essentially clarifies basic step-by-step classroom management skills concerning ADE in ELA. The book even guides you on how to develop multicultural curricula. Let me leave you with the one principle of multicultural education from her book which utterly changed my entire perspective of ELA teaching at the intermediate/senior division:
Multicultural education is a process. The content taught must build on the individual differences that exist among and between people (1994, p.73).

2. Teaching Ideas:

a) Incorporating the Parents in ADE?
Chapter four in the book Diversity in the Classroom by Frances Kendall can greatly assist ELA teachers in establishing relationships with the students’ parents. It is a great resource to help facilitate ADE since not only does it highlight the importance of the role the parents play in relation to establishing a supportive environment but it equally provides strategies in order to create these relationships. Despite the fact that cultural differences are often the initial barrier, the book gives a very optimistic view as to the child’s development possibilities (p.67). Teachers are invited to explore the parental aspect of ADE. Without parent support concerning teaching expectations, approaches and evaluative procedures, it is rather difficult to build a circle of trust between the school setting and the home environment. Students, especially non-native speakers of English and newly arrived immigrants, need to see that their teacher and parents are on the same page. Such a relationship will ease their transition into a new school setting. With trust and collaboration, the students’ integral progression will be easier and will likely occur at a quicker pace.

Discover this book and many of your parent-teacher relationship questions might very well be answered today!

b) The Immigrant Experience: A Thematic Opportunity!

Generating themes for lesson plans and units is a great and simple way to bring about a multicultural approach to education. Now that you have familiarized yourself with the above notions which are deeply embedded within ADE, take a moment to view this video as a source of inspiration for your own classroom. Motivate your own students by collectively experiencing her trials and successes as a newly arrived immigrant student. You can use this clip either as an authentic thematic direction or simply for the pleasure of watching. Nevertheless, this video would be a great introductory piece for a novel study which explores the theme of immigration. The graphic novel "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan for instance, could benefit from such an introduction since the story encompases an immigrant man who is seeking new possibilities. This clip will definitely open up some interesting discussion with your students! It is always great when students can reflect on their own life expriences. As a teacher, you want to give them that emotional opportunity to open up and share with their peers. Based on this introductory video, an another suggestion is to establish "Cultural Friday's" where each week, you learn about a different culture and its respective traditions (whether the cultures are present in your class or not). This will create a sense of empathy and compassion for everyone in class. By implementing "Cultural Friday's" you are helping them build "real world knowledge" as a metacognitive strategy.

c) What is Critical Literacy?

As we are well aware, Media Studies is one of the four strands developed in the English curriculum. This said, why not make exercises relevant to the students' cultural and societal realities experienced outside of school? The following four videos are possible examples amongst the many that exist. Utilizing the following will address the ADE ideology of Media Studies outlined in the curriculum:
  • Literature studies and media studies also afford both students and teachers a unique opportunity to explore the social and emotional impact of bullying, violence and discrimination in the form of racism, sexism or homophobia on individuals and families. Teachers can help students to link the understanding they gain in this regard to messages conveyed through the school's anti-bullying and violence-prevention programming (Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10, English, p.34).

New Media Literacy: inviting students to become more media literate so that they can negotiate in our twenty-first-century world (Milner and Milner, 2008, p.318).

The idea with these videos is to show students that everyone deserves an education. By studying the "-isms" (ie. racism, sexism) of ADE through New Literacy Media, students can think critically in relation to realities of life. Therefore, critical literacy occurs when students are critically engaged to a subject or topic. They can now apply notions and make important connections between what is learnt in ELA to real life events. Again, we want to help them expand their "real life knowledge." These types of activities would best address the curriculum demands of 'Interpreting Messages' (specific expectation 1.2, p.52) of the grade 9 & 10 Media Studies strand. Being relevant and current is key because now you are giving them the opportunity to look at everyday advertisements, movies or ads in a new light. Students appreciate the effort of addressing and discussing real life problems because they realize that you too can learn from them and their own personal experiences. The article Making Media Matter by Milner and Milner can guide you in creating specific activities based on these videos. It additionally describes the reasoning behind the current key relevancy of favouring New literacy into your classroom.Critical Literacy is also about exploring the "socially constructed" realities which reside in society. As an ELA teacher, look deeper into society by elaborating on a theme of "humanity." With the help of your students, create activities for example which mirror major life occurences such as the events of 9/11. As Michell points out in his article Teaching for Critical Literacy; An Ongoing Necessity to Look Deeper and Beyond, pedagogy and the curriculum are always directly affected by the world. I invite you to read this article to learn more!

d) What's the Situation in Canada?

Visit Developing a Global Perspective and Globe In A Box - Oxfam and become knowledgeable about the events currently going on around us: any major movements, workshop opportunities, new teacher resources etc.? It is essential as teachers that we stay up to date. Not only do we want to advance our own knowledge but we also want to regularily inform students on upcoming community events. These wbsites might even inspire you in terms of possible classroom fieldtrips. Take part in community events with your class and help push the ADE belief of creating active citizenship!

3. Lesson Plan Ideas:

external image 41CMGB3CPVL._SS500_.jpga) Activity Suggestion: Ensuring Intercultural Learning!

Keeping the notion of ADE in the back of your mind each time you create a lesson plan and activity is important for your students' development as a learner and as an individual member of society. Although issues of multiculturalism do not always have to be at the core of every activitiy, make sure you remain sensitive to them everyday.
Use the quote at the very beginning of my wiki page and the pictures throughout as a source of inspiration when developing activities!

The book Experiential Activities for Intercultural Learning by H. Ned Seelye is a great teacher friendly resource as it responds to the curriculum demands of tiying in cultural backgrounds into ELA (Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10, English, p.31). It suggests many different learner-centered activities but I would like to underline one specifically. I recommend the activity on page 151 entitled "What Do They Bring?". It is a great introductory activity one could incorporate into his/her class in September since it generates discussion and allows students to work together. As the quote highlights at the top of the wiki page, you want to as quickly as possible explore the mosaic of your student body. The activity basically allows your students to discover what their classmates bring to the entire classroom dynamic. It is important to be aware of what others around you can contribute to your own educational experience. I in fact further encourage you to visually post what each student brings to the class and dedicate an entire bulletin board to this. Throughout the year, students should add values they further discover about their classmates. By the end of the school year, both the teacher and the students will learn to truely value diversity.
For further cultural diversity activities view Frances Kendall's book Diversity in the Classroom. Chapter 6 on page 95 provides a great unit on learning how to build and further develop strong community ties. While working collectively, students will shape positive attitudes and values concerning equality at school and in the community. This activity strengthens the above mentioned activity; they could easily work hand in hand.

b) Backward Design Lesson Plan Template

Backward Design Template

This next lesson is a great activity. It is relevant to today's ELA teaching approach since it uses a Backward Design template, it supports the Media Studies strand and also the concept of New Media Literacies. It follows the theme of ADE since it gives students the chance to explore the portrayals of minority characters on their favorite t.v. shows. Through this activity they can equally develop life skills. By making them critically think and analyze about the messages existent out there, they will now be able to independently interpret and differentiate between positive and negative character portrayals found in media, advertisements, film, poetry etc.. Explore the following questions with your own students:
  • What types of messages are out there?
  • What are the creators intentions?
  • What types of discriminations do certain groups of individuals encounter on a daily basis?
  • What does the concept of voice mean?
  • What is the emotional impact of societal opinions?

c) Literature Studies: Possible Novels

Here are a few of my suggested novels for an ADE classroom (intermediate/senior) which is sensitive to a multicultural approach to education. Apply the below issues faced by the many characters and link the common themes to the above questions and real life events and hardships:

1. Aftermath : by Monique Lépine - issues of media representation and gender2. A Tale of Two Cities : by Charles Dickens - issues of violence and oppression3. Girl, Interrupted : by Susanna Kaysen - issue of social nonconformity4. Little Women : by Louisa May Alcott - issue of gender stereotyping5. Lord of the Flies : by William Golding - issues of morality and the belief of the good vs. the evil6. Of Mice and Men : by John Steinbeck - issues of friendship despite differences and simple human existence7. Revolutionary Road : by Richard Yates - issues of gender stereotyping and conforming to "The American Dream"8. Schindler's List : by Thomas Keneally - issues of discrimination, the Holocaust and struggle9. The Adventure's of Tom Sawyer : by Mark Twain - issue of social exclusion10. The Diary of Anne Frank : based on the diary of Anne Frank - issues of struggle, oppression and inequality11. The Giver : by Lois Lowry - issue of identity12. The Old Man and the Sea : by Ernest Hemingway - issues of human struggle and defeat13. The Outsiders : by S.E. Hinton - issues of class privilege and violence14. To Kill A Mocking Bird : by Harper Lee - issues of social inequality and racism 15. Underground to Canada : by Barbara Smucker - issues of racism

* Note: If you want to learn more about the place of ADE in ELA literacy, read Barbara Diamond and Margaret Moore's book entitled Multicultural Literacy. It discusses the significance of character and cultural portrayals, novel themes and the significance of opinions addressed in novels. It would be a great read before introducing the concepts (ie. "-isms") tied to ADE to your students.

4. Assessment:

a) Understanding the Literacy Achievement Gap!

Literacy Achievement Gap: existence of a gap between the literacy achievement of students of diverse backgrounds and their more privileged peers [...] taking a pluralist perspective will help educators in their efforts to close the gap (Au, 2006, p.15 & 17).
It's nice to create activities and lesson plans which help promote inclusive classroom dynamics, but how does one fairly assess his/her students? This is a complex question which brings about much controversy. What does it mean to create fairness? The question of assessment is therefore difficult, especially when trying to be supportive of all student differences. This being said, guidelines are available in the book Literacy, Technology and Diversity by Jim Cummins, Kristin Brown and Dennis Sayers. Essentially, they respond to the following question: "Why do some students perform well in school and others perform poorly" (p.3)? It is important to be knowledgeable about performance differences, yet to never forget about curriculum expectations. In accordance, teachers must develop the ability to know how to develop material which favours all learning styles, all prior knowledge, all strengths and levels present in your classroom. The book is rich in detail and also comes with an accompanying cd-rom. I would like to draw attention to Chapter 3 since it talks about the problematics behind standardized testing and high-stake tests. I strongly encourage you to read this chapter. By learning how to sensitize our existing assessment approaches, students will become more confident since the methods will better reflect their specific ELA needs. external image 51p78ZyRkXL._SS500_.jpg external image 41PL0Ad7-dL._SS500_.jpg
A second book, by Kathryn Au, entitled Multicultural Issues and Literacy Achievement further explores the concept of the Literacy Achievement Gap. With an ADE approach to education, it is essential to close this gap. Establishing equality is inevitable. By reading this book, teachers will better be prepared for the challenging road ahead. It is essential we learn how to be conscious and responsive to our students' prior knowledge, current knowledge and future capacities.

b) "Reach Every Student"

The final teacher resource I will suggest is the Video Viewer Guide & Resources Hand Guide. If you pay attention to the Literacy Segment, you will witness interactive videos concerning classroom assessment and feedback practices, peer and self assessment techniques and assessment planning opportunities. It is important that you see this interactive video because it provides you with students' perspectives and opinions. There is no better opinion, for that matter, to consider and base your entire teaching practice on. Students are central to teaching and learning. Additionally, it is an easy tool to navigate!

All and all, embrace diversity and be compassionate and respectful with your teaching methods and students will embark on the learning journey with you in creating a beautiful classroom mosaic !
external image mosaic-wallpaper.jpg

Here is my hopeful classroom mosaic, what does yours now look like?

5. Important Additional Resources:

1.Amnesty International Resource Kits
2.Cummins, Jim, Vicki Bismilla, Sarah Cohen, Frances Giampapa and Lisa Leoni. (2005). Timelines and Lifelines: Rethinking Literacy Instruction in Multilingual Classrooms. Orbit, 36(10) 22-26.
3.I Believe in Respect!
4.LaBelle, Thomas and Christopher R. Ward.(1994). Multiculturalism and Education. New York: Suny.
5.Ministry of Education - Aboriginal Education Strategy
6.Ministry of Education - Antiracism and Ethnocultural Equity in School Boards
7.Ministry of Education - Greater Equity Means Greater Student Success
8.Ministry of Education - Many Roots, Many Voices: Supporting English Language Learners in Every Classroom
9.Ministry of Education - Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8, English
10.Ministry of Education - Ontario Curriculum Grades 9-10, English
11.Ministry of Education - Ontario Curriculum Grades 11-12, English
12.Ministry of Education - Ontario Curriculum, Literacy Course
13.Ministry of Education - Reaching Every Grade 7-12 Student
14.Ministry of Education - Violence-Free Schools Policy
15.Multicultural Education: Diversity Issues in the Classroom. The Do's and Don'ts!
16.TESOL: A Global Education Association for English Teachers


Au, Kathryn, H. (2006). Multicultural Issues and Literacy Achievement. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Baker, Gwendolyn C. (1994). Planning and Organizing for Multicultural Instruction 2nd Ed.. United States of America: Addison Wesley Publishing Company.
Banks, J.A. (2006). Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice. In Banks, J. (Ed.) Race, Culture and Education: The Selected Works of James A. Banks. New York: Routledge.
Basit, Tehmina H. (2009). White British; Dual Heritage; British Muslim: Young Britons' Conceptualisation of Identity and Citizenship. In British Educational Research Jounral, 35 (5), p.723-743.
Beach, Richard, Amanda Haertling Thein and Daryl Parks. (2008). High School Students' Competing Social Worlds: Negotiating Identities and Allegiances in Response to Multicultural Literature. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.
Cummins, Jim, Kristin Brown and Dennis Sayers. (2007). Literacy, Technology and Diversity: Teaching for Success in Changing Times. United States of America: Pearson Education.
Curriculum Services Canada, Ontario. (2008). Viewer's Guide: High-Yield Strategies to Improve Student Learning (The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat Webcast Professional Learning Series (CD-ROM). Queen's Printer for Ontario.
Delpit, L. (2002). Language Diversity and Learning. In M.B. Antonia Darder, Rodolfo D. Torres (Ed.), The Critical Pedagogy Reader (p.388-403). New York: Routledge.
Diamond, Barbara J. and Margaret A. Moore. (1995). Multicultural Literacy: Mirroring the Reality of the Classroom. United States of America: Longman Publishers.
Grant, Carl A. and Thandeka K. Chapman. (2008). History of Multicultural Education: Students and Student Learning. New York: Routledge.
Kendall, Frances E. (1996). Diversity in the Classroom: New Approaches to the Education of Young Children 2nd Ed.. New York: Teachers College Press.
Michell, Michal J. (2006). Teaching for Critical Literacy; An Ongoing Necessity to Look Deeper and Beyond. In English Journal, 96 (2), p.41.
Milner, Joseph O'Beirne and Lucy Floyd Morcock Milner. (2008). Making Media Matter. In Bridging English 4th Ed., p.317-344. New Jersey: Pearson.
Seelye, H. Ned. (1996). Experiential Activities for Intercultural Learning (Volume 1). Maine: Intercultural Press.