10 Oct 2022


Cultural Diversity in American Education

Format: Harvard

Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 1252

Pages: 5

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The American population has recently experienced a very high immigration rate so that the population of the country by 2050 is expected to be significantly minority groups. As a result, there have been calls to diversify various programs so that American minorities can be included within the system. Moreover, culturally diverse approaches have been included in different areas including education, nursing and healthcare, management among other areas. This paper discusses the application of cultural diversity in the area of education subject to interviews that formed the basis of this paper. A look at the implementation of cultural diversity, challenges, and opportunities in this area are explored.

Background Information 

The ethnic composition of different regions in the United States is undergoing changes as there is a growing tide of incoming immigrants. With the higher numbers of immigrants, there is a need to reengineer social and cultural settings in the United States to reflect the changing population demographics in the country. This has seen the implementation of culture-based care in the healthcare sector in a bid to provider higher quality care to individuals who are not Caucasian Americans. This application has equally been transferred to the education sector, with the increasing need to assimilate different ethnic groups into the education of the country. This was the subject of the first interview as the interviewee was born in America to Nigerian parents. Therefore, schooling was a matter of incorporation into the American education system. One of the approaches that the respondent records to have used speech lessons to better learn the American way of using English, which was different from English use in Nigeria or at home with their parents.

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The Problem of Cultural Inclusion 

Cultural differences are normally exemplified in everyday life situations in a multi-cultural society. Teachers in classrooms normally encounter complex issues within the classrooms, especially with a blend of ethnic groups in the same setting. Different ethnic settings imply that there will be different value systems among the students, so that there is a cultural minefield of sorts. Therefore, teachers must tread very carefully to avoid appearing culturally insensitive to their students.

With a growing field of diversity in the education sector, students also face a lot of challenges in coping with the system. Background issues such as cultural influences, value systems and prevalent practices normally affect the learning and assimilation of a student even in a culture-sensitive learning environment (Causey, Thomas, & Armento, 2000). This is because no single teacher can completely understand the cultural background of an individual enough to become fully culturally sensitive, bringing about culture shocks and other challenges. This could be found in an example that the first respondent gave on the nature of their first experience during their formative school years. It was quite challenging since both the children and the parents were learning how to survive in the new American environment. This signifies the challenges that students, as immigrants, also have while being incorporated into a culture-sensitive education system.

A management of the diverse interests presented in the American classroom therefore requires knowledge about meeting conflicting expectations in the learning environment. Noting that this is almost an impossible task, knowledge-based approaches present the best approaches to gaining management control over diverse class populations (Gay, 2013) . Teachers will inevitably have to gain a grip on all the information needed as well as learn more about the cultures presented in their classrooms.

In the example of Los Angeles, there are up to 80 languages being spoken, which represent a number of children being brought up in a different cultural and behavioral system. This can be extremely challenging to handle. Furthermore, such differences extend beyond language and linguistics as there represent different demographic factors including religion, children with disabilities, gender-equity concerns, single-parenthood, same-sex families among others (Popov, et al., 2012). Therefore, teacher preparation programs rarely consider all these factors in teacher training, thereby leaving teachers untrained in dealing with these social concerns within learning populations. Teachers in these environments thus end up just giving their best as opposed to being trained on providing this standard.

Additionally, other issues compound the issue where certain subgroups assert African American teachers should not teach African American students as they are from the same ethnic affiliation and so on. Moreover, students find that the American curriculum is not comprehensive as it does not cover the history of their ethnic groups. In the course of the interview, the respondent noted that there was a limited approach to dealing with African history, where she was from. This was equally the case with other ethnic groups presented in her class, thereby limiting their identification with their indigenous cultural history. These highlight a few of the challenges that are faced in the course of providing adequate culture sensitive education.


To enable different parties understand the gravity of the matter, different approaches have been proposed for the purpose of empowering teachers in the course of teaching culturally diverse populations. The frameworks of individualism and collectivism have been used to understand the differences present among immigrant populations as compared to their American middle-class counterparts. It has been noted that minority groups are more likely to be collectivist in nature as opposed to being individualistic. As a result, they will show high levels of wanting to help each other through situations. An example of looking at Latino children will reveal that they often like to share things, even if it is as their own expense. For example, a Latino child will share their pencil with another temporarily even if it leaves them without their own. As a result, this collective attitude will be transferred to the learning process in solving math problems, understanding directions among other things. It appears that their inclination is chiefly working in groups. Therefore, an intervention in solving potential conflict situations can be achieved through highlighting which part of the class is for working together and which part is for working by oneself. It is necessary that explicit difference be made within the learning environment to notify the learners on the required changes to the learning process.

Understanding the collectivist nature of the learners facilitates the understanding on the part of the teachers in ensuring that learning objectives can be reached. This will help the instructor learn differences between the various ethnic groups on their nature and further gain understanding on managing the diversity. For example, African American populations are more individualistic than the Latin Americans, but are still quite collectivistic. The different racial composition of the American population can be found on one end of the individualistic-collectivistic pendulum.

Different characteristics are present in the collectivistic community, showing a largely group-oriented behavior (Cheng, 1998). Therefore, approaches such as empty praise are not ideal for collectivist children as focus will be placed on the child rather than on the group. Therefore, modesty is an important trait to take on while dealing with diversity in the learning environment. Reducing any instances where the culturally-diverse children stand out is not ideal. Nonetheless, regarding group effort is especially valued in such outcomes. This is because singling out the performance of one individual in a classroom could have negative effects on the collectivist point of view.

Nonetheless, the handling of culturally diverse populations in the classroom cannot be given blanket application as different individuals are different regardless of their demographic inclinations. Not all members of a particular group are going to act in the same way. Therefore, addressing individual needs of the learner is important as much as addressing individual needs is underlined. Noticing individual changes of the learners provides the teacher will hands-on tools that enable them to properly deal with any challenges arising.

In conclusion, there are various challenges that are associated with culture diverse learning. Challenges are both on the side of the learner as much as they are on the side of the teacher. Knowledge-based approaches are necessary to overcome these challenges. While there exists various frameworks to deal with these challenges, individualist-collectivist approaches present the best shot at reducing impediments to culture-sensitive learning.


Causey, V. E., Thomas, C. D., & Armento, B. J. (2000). Cultural diversity is basically a foreign term to me: The challenges of diversity for preservice teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16(1) , 33-45.

Cheng, K. M. (1998). Can education values be borrowed? Looking into cultural differences. Peabody Journal of Education, 73(2) , 11-30.

Gay, G. (2013). Teaching to and through cultural diversity. Curriculum Inquiry, 43(1) , 48-70.

Popov, V., Brinkman, D., Biemans, H. J., Mulder, M., Kuznetsov, A., & Noroozi, O. (2012). Multicultural student group work in higher education: An explorative case study on challenges as perceived by students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(2) , 302-317.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Cultural Diversity in American Education.


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