Date of Award

5-23-1999

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Gerald Erchak

Second Reader

Paul Michalec

Abstract

A child's culture may be the mainstream or dominant culture, or it may be one of many subcultures that can be found in almost any country. Children's experiences and expectations are determined by their local communities, particular political and economic strata, and specific ethnic or cultural groups. Therefore, children need educational services that take into account their diverse cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds. More than ever, those responsible for educational planning and delivering educational services must be responsive to children's diverse needs. They must consider both the learners and the learning context when defining what type of education to produce. To be effective, education agendas must be provided in ways that focus upon sameness and difference, that recognize children's uniqueness as well as their common ground, and that are rooted in each child's primary frames of reference like family, society, and culture. Children's development and learning can only be fully understood when viewed in the larger cultural context Today's diverse, heterogeneous societies demand culturally responsive education practices and programs that can actively engage learners, help them build upon their own sense of identity, and increase their meaningful participation in and contribution to society.

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