2013. Vol.4, No.7A2, 171-177
Published Online July 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ce) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2013.47A2022
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 171
Characterization of Multicultural Values: Affective Impact of
Writing Extensive Journals in a University-Level Course*
School of Education, Indiana University Kokomo, Kokomo, USA
Received May 21st, 2013; revised June 22nd, 2013; accepted June 30th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Taekhil Jeong. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attri-
bution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
The highest educational objective of affective domain is characterization, which refers to the level of
character development where individuals’ behaviors and values remain consistent. Because the educa-
tional objectives of affect are categorically different from cognitive educational objectives, an alternative
pedagogical conceptualization that integrates teaching, learning, and evaluating aspects of character de-
velopment is essential in multicultural education. The current action research presents: 1) a rubric of mul-
ticultural education journal writing that evaluates the quality of students’ journals; 2) coherent journal
topics and accessible resources for journal entries; and 3) exemplary student journals that sufficiently
meet the criteria of rubric, topic, and resource requirements. The presented rubric, topics, resources, and
actual student journal examples may serve as a model that both multicultural education teachers and stu-
dents alike can utilize in their teaching and learning practices.
Keywords: Multicultural Education; Educational Objectives of Affective Domain; Journal Writing;
Characterization; Rubric; Perspective-Taking
Where an affective variable refers to systematic evidence re-
garding individuals’ different degrees of emotions, interests,
attitudes, and values (Krathwohl, Bloom, & Masia, 1964), af-
fect is a fundamental aspect of being human because it plays
such an integral role in human motivation and behavior (Reeve,
2005). Nevertheless, most educators agree that adequate
amounts of instructional time and educational efforts should be
invested in enabling learners’ growth in affective domains
(Banks, 2014; Bennett, 2011; Ford, 2011). The results from
numerous quantitative and qualitative studies support that atti-
tude toward learning (Dompnier, Darnon, & Butera, 2009; Elik,
Wiener, & Corkum, 2010; Shirbagi, 2010), interest in a par-
ticular subject (Kerger, Martin, & Brunner, 2011; Sarwar,
Yousuf, & Ranjha, 2011), and (dis)respect for teachers (Poulou,
2009; Shadreck & Isaac, 2012) play a major role in students’
learning accomplishments. However, the affection-related edu-
cational goals have received inadequate attention in traditional
educational settings (Krathwohl et al., 1964; Ford, 2011). Each
student in a classroom is a holistic individual with affective an d
cognitive sensibility, and thus investments of instructional time
and educational resources have to be balanced between the
growth of affective characters and the proliferation of content
knowledge. For this reason, educators have been concerned
with the question of “not just what to teach but how to teach”
(cited in Cook, 2000: p. 13). Moreover, with advancement of
assessment theory and practice, educators are now encouraged
to align students’ formal learning experiences not only over
curricular and instructional domains but over assessment and
evaluation domains as well (McMillan, 2007; Popham, 2011).
The current paper purports to explore such a pedagogical ap-
proach that includes assessment, learning, and teaching which
are integrated within a university-level multicultural education
course entitled Teaching in Pluralistic Society.
Banks (2014) conceptualizes that the constituents of effective
multicultural education should include intellectual sophistica-
tion, emotional empowerment, and a concrete action plan for
learners. Pre-service teachers’ intellects can be sophisticated by
learning about cultural pluralism and various ethnicities repre-
sented in our nation’s diverse classrooms. Teachers’ cognitive
sophistication ramifies their pedagogical skills and strategies
into authentic assessment, understanding of students’ different
learning styles, and culturally responsive teaching strategies. In
a similar vein, having a concrete plan of action with multicul-
tural awareness results in constructing culturally competent
lesson plans in one’s own subject areas and grade levels. Those
two components of multicultural education typically involve
cognitive process, and produce concrete outcomes such as test
scores and constructed lesson plans. However, emotional em-
powerment involved with educational objectives of the affec-
tive taxonomy tends to produce less tangible outcomes such as
value development or character growth, where taxonomy refers
*In keeping up with technologically experienced students of the digital gen-
eration, the campus in which the current study was conducted has actively
utilized an intuitive and user-friendly online learning system named ON-
COURSE. The system supplements the limitations of class instructional
times with the management of student grades, assignments, announcements,
messages, and instructional resources while functioning virtually all the
time. All of the journal topics, resources, and rubric are posted and available
on the ON COURSE s
to the science of description, identification, naming, and classi-
fication (Krathwohl et al., 1964).
The component of emotional empowerment is of particular
interest to the current action research. Action research is de-
fined as, “research in which the practitioner is engaged in col-
lecting data or information for the purpose of solving a practical
problem in an authentic setting” (Nolen & Vander Putten, 2007:
p. 406). Because affective educational objectives are very dif-
ferent from those of cognitive educational objectives (Krath-
wohl et al., 1964), there have been attempts to re-conceptualize
the process of instruction and assessment as an interactive dy-
namic of affective development for pre-service teachers (Ford,
2011; Popham, 2011). Those innovative approaches of instruc-
tion and assessment should contribute to the efficacy of multi-
cultural education by providing direct hints to guide pre-service
teachers’ learning and by evaluating their educational progress.
Such instruction and assessment should permit not only sum-
mative but also formative feedback as an integral part of the
teaching and learning process. Moreover, it would be ideal if
such a learning approach allows students with the opportunities
of self-regulation and autonomous choices. In order to actualize
such pedagogical visions, I have required students to write ex-
tensive journals as a course requirement in my multicultural
education course. Journal writing refers to the activities of re-
flections and consequent writings, where “the very production
and acquisition of knowledge” is being constructed and con-
tested by students’ writing activities (Giroux, 1991: p. 512).
Epistemologically, journal writing is a constructivist approach
as Banks (2014) conceptualizes, “when teachers engage stu-
dents in knowledge construction, the students are given oppor-
tunities to participate in building knowledge and to construct
their own interpretations of historical, social, and current
events” (p. 88).
Review of Literature
The purpose of current action research is to develop a model
that effectively puts a journal writing assignment as a course
requirement into pedagogically sound practice in a university-
level multicultural education course. Action research typically
involves cyclic problem-solving activities, in which a re-
searcher takes an initial action to resolve the identified problem
and involves interactive reflections about the efficacy of the
engaged action (Check & Schutt, 2012). Fraenkel and Wallen
(2009) indicated that action research is fundamentally different
from all the other traditional research methodologies. Action
research focuses “on getting information that will enable them
(researchers) to change conditions in a particular situation in
which they are personally involved” (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2009:
p. 13). I conceptualize that action research is not only method-
ologically different from traditional hypothesis-testing studies
as Fraenkel and Wallen (2009) proposed, but also requires a
different format of research report, which typically entails use-
ful model, product, information, and practical propositions. The
research question I focus on in the current study is, “What con-
stitutes effective practices of the journal writing assignment as
a college-level course requirement?”, and “What does the
product of each component of effective journal writing practice
in the multicultural education course look like?” For the first
research question, I would like to construct a clear rubric that
guides and evaluates the quality of journal writing, and compile
coherent topics and resources of journal writing entries. For the
second research question, I would like to present the con-
structed rubric, the suggested topics and resources, and actual
student products of exemplary journals. Therefore, the current
action research purports to construct pedagogical products that
will facilitate the growth of students’ multicultural values
through journal writing practices.
Krathwohl et al. (1964) published taxonomy of affective
educational objectives as an extension of hugely successful
Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cogni-
tive Domain (Bloom, 1956). Krathwohl et al. (1964) conceptu-
alized that higher order affective characteristics such as valuing,
organization, and characterization requires “far more effort and
far more complex sets of arrangements than are usually pro-
vided in particular classroom lessons and sessions” (p. 78).
Valuing refers to the development of a sense of responsibility
and commitment to a particular value, organization refers to the
establishment of a conscientious base for making decisions, and
characterization refers to the demonstration of behaviors con-
sistent with one’s value system. Those prerogatives of “far
more complex sets of learning arrangements” of Krathwohl et
al. (1964) have been pursued as journal writing assignments in
my multicultural education course. Christine Bennett (2011)
conceptualized, “multicultural education has ideological over-
tones based on democratic ideals” (p. 10), and multicultural
education encompasses four core values: 1) acceptance and
appreciation of cultural diversity; 2) respect for human dignity
and universal human rights; 3) responsibility to the world
community; and 4) respect for the earth. The four multicultural
core values can be equated with the higher-order affective edu-
cational objectives such as valuing, organization, and charac-
terization. With the afore-going conceptualization, therefore,
the relationship of educational objectives between multicultural
education and affective education is compatible and transpos-
Banks (2009) conceptualized four levels of approaching mul-
ticultural education curricular content: 1) contributional, 2)
additive, 3) transformative, and 4) social action. The contribu-
tional approach refers to a focus on ethnic heroes, holidays, and
discrete cultural elements. The additive approach refers to the
integration of multicultural concepts, contents, themes, and
perspectives into curricular contents without changing the cur-
riculum structure. The transformative approach refers to sig-
nificant changes of curricular contents that enable students to
view concepts, issues, events, and themes from the multiple
perspectives of diverse ethnic and cultural groups. The social
action approach refers to the level in which students make deci-
sions on important social issues and take actions to help solve
the social problems.
Synthesizing the conceptualizations of hierarchical affective
educational objectives (Krathwohl et al., 1964) and multicul-
tural curricular content structures (Banks, 2009), the following
flow chart-like rubric was constructed to measure the quality of
students’ multicultural education journals. A good rubric
should allow instructors to identify the skills that students have
acquired and skills that remain unchallenged. Such information
is necessary if teaching is to be responsive to students’ needs.
From the learners’ vantage point, rubric criteria should be a
natural fit for the assignment (i.e., the assignment must be de-
signed to address each specific criterion). In addition, the in-
structor should consistently value and support the rubric criteria
by providing much formative evaluation feedback that ade-
quately and appropriately guides students’ growths of multi-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
The prerequisite of extensive journal writings as a multicul-
tural education course requirement should include: 1) develop-
ing and constructing a rubric that guides the affective growth of
students, evaluating the quality of students’ journals; 2) sharing
and suggesting coherent topics and readily available resources
for journal entries, and 3) introducing exemplary students’
journal writings that adequately meet the above requirements of
rubric, topic, and resource. The rubric, topics, resources, and
actual journal examples may serve as a model that both multi-
cultural education teachers and students alike can utilize in their
teaching and learning practices.
Participants and Procedure
The participants of the current study include 15 students who
gave written voluntary permission on the Consent Form, out of
the total 17 enrolled students in the M300 course, entitled
Teaching in Pluralistic Society during the spring semester of
2013. In this course, each student is required to submit the same
set of journal writings twice, one as an off-line paper copy and
the other as an on-line ONCOURSE* electronic attachment.
The conventional paper copy journal submissions are graded
and returned to each student with the instructor’s feedback and
grade within the two weeks from the submission date. While
the researcher is away from the classroom during the consent
procedure, another faculty member of the School of Education
would visit the class with the voluntary consent forms to con-
duct the students’ consent process and explain that the collected
consent forms will be sealed and kept in a separate envelope in
a secure vault in her office. The researcher (the instructor of
record) is unable to access the consent forms until the semester
is completely over, thus guaranteeing that each student’s jour-
nal grades (or any other grades for that matter) would not be
affected by his or her consent or non-consent status. After the
semester grade has been posted and the semester officially con-
cluded, the researcher is provided with the collected consent
forms. At this point, the researcher meticulously expunges out
any identifiers that may possibly lead to the identity of a stu-
dent from the electronic sets of multicultural education journals
from only those students who gave consent. Moreover, the
selected journal entries are strictly referred to as example 1,
example 2, and so forth. With those aforementioned consent
procedures and the participant anonymity protections, students’
identities will not be revealed while the study is being con-
ducted or when the study is reported or published.
The current study will benefit in determining the pedagogical
soundness of extensive journal writings as a major course re-
quirement in a multicultural education course. In addition, if the
current study report is published, it may provide other multi-
cultural education students and teachers alike with information
regarding a journal evaluation rubric, journal topics, and related
resources. Where action research is defined as “research con-
ducted by one or more individuals or groups for the purpose of
solving a problem or obtaining information in order to inform
local practice (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2009: p. 589), the current
study utilizes the research design of qualitative practice-ori-
ented action research. The current study is qualitative in its
research design: collecting and analyzing narrative data (i.e.,
students’ exemplary journal entries) without assigning numeric
value system such as Likert-scales. The current study is prac-
tice-oriented in nature because the products of the current study
promotes a model of the multicultural education rubric of jour-
nal writing, and the topics and the resources of refined journal
entries that I consider useful and effective to facilitate the char-
acterization of multicultural values for the students.
Result and Discussion
In the section that follows, the constructed rubric of multi-
cultural education journal writing (Table 1), suggested journal
entry topics and related resources, and actual exemplary stu-
dents’ journal entries are presented and discussed.
Rubric of Multicultural Education Journal Writings
The spirit of the overarching journal writing assignment can
be summarized using the terms of authenticity, creativity, and
reflection. Authenticity refers to being genuine with oneself
(i.e., discuss what/how each student feels about the multicul-
tural issue under consideration). For this aim, the first-person
speech in the journal narratives is used and expected to discuss
each student’s own thought, morale, and lesson, not to discuss
others’ or textbook authors’ ideas. Creativity refers to expand-
ing the multicultural discourses beyond the boundary of course
textbook discussions. Students are encouraged to add, substan-
tiate, expand, and construct multicultural reflection narratives
from the contexts of situated personal and community level to
those paradigms of historical, societal, national, and global
perspective. Reflectivity refers to the quality of journal writings
to be more transformative and characterization-oriented. Per-
suasive narratives or expository action plans including lesson
(unit) plans to present solutions to social and educational prob-
lems, ideas, and perspectives to impart multicultural values
should be esteemed with more weight.
Suggested Journal Entry Topics and Related
The purpose of the journal writing assignment is to heighten
students’ cultural sensitivity of important multicultural issues
and to build a reflective learning platform for multicultural
education over an entire semester of the course duration. Stu-
dents should commit to one journal entry per week, each entry
being typically one and a half pages in length, with a minimum
of 15 entries totaling about 20 pages. Journal topics should
derive from answering the suggested journal topics, reading the
course texts, class discussions, field participations, and the
experiences of students. Contemporary mass media news also
can be an excellent source for students’ journal reflections.
1) What is multicultural education? Is it necessary? Why?
Why not? (Bennett, 2011: ch. 1).
2) What characteristics does a culturally competent teacher
demonstrate in and out of the cla ssroom? How do I prepare my-
self to be a culturally sensitive individual? (Bennett, 2011: ch. 3).
3) What are the four core values of multicultural education? If
you are to choose only 3 out of the 4? Only 2? Only 1? Why?
Please articulate the reasons as to your priority. (Bennett, 2011:
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 173
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Rubric of multicultural education journal writings.
English Conventions & Lengths
5 points 3 - 4 points 0 - 2 points
Each entry is well-written with no English
All journal content fits well on one and a half
pages of A4 size paper
Each entry is written with no notable English
All journal c ontent fits we l l o n one and a
quarter pages of A4 (12-pt. fonts; double- spaced)
Each entry is written with a few English
conventional errors (1 - 2)
All journal content fits less than sufficiently
on a typical A4 size paper
If the overall content is tangential to multicultural education, then add 1 - 2 points
The tangential nature o f j ournal quality is defined as i ntroducing ethnic heroes, holidays, and discrete cultura l elements in a rem ote manner where th e overall
tones of journal reflec tions are relativistic, ethnocentric, and those perspectives of others.
If the overall content is additi ve to multic ultural education, then add 2 - 3 points
The additive na t ure of jour nal quality is d efined as adding multicultural content, concepts , th emes, and perspectives into one’s own journal writin g withou t
obvious evidence of reaching either transformative or characterized level of affective growths.
If the overall content is transforma ti ve to multicultural educati on , t hen add 3 - 4 points
The transformative nature of journal qu ality is defined such that students are able to see multicultural contents, concepts, themes, and perspectives from
pluralistic views of d i v erse cult u ral and ethnic groups s ympathetically in o t h ers’ shoes.
If the overall content is focused on authentic growths of character or oriented to a concrete action plan
pertaining to multicultural education, then add 4 - 5 points
The characterization al nature of journal quality is defined such that students are able to make either import ant decision about or to construct plans on
multicultural content, concepts, themes, and perspectives into one’s own behavioral action codes, instructional lesson (unit) plans, and persuasive arguments
or narratives for soc i al-problem-solving.
4) What are some conscious or unconscious stereotypes/
prejudices that I have? How do I adequately keep them in con-
trol? (Bennett, 2011: ch. 3).
5) Cultural assimilation versus cultural pluralism, which is
more agreeable to you? Why? (Bennett, 2011: ch. 1).
6) How do I develop culturally competent lesson plans in my
subject/grade area/level? Construct your own lesson (unit) plan,
or choose a multicultural lesson (unit) plan, and articulate what
elements of the lesson plan you liked most, disliked, or want to
modify. Why? [Lesson plan examples are available from Banks
(2014: pp. 96-111)].
7) What would be the limitations of having only one per-
spective on social issues? What would be some benefits of
having multiple perspectives on a social issue? (Bennett, 2011:
8) What are some strategies to ensure “optimal learning” for
all students? (Strategies Table available at ONCOURSE site),
summarizing; Williams, R. B., & Dunn, S. E. (2008). Brain
Compatible Learning for the Block (2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Corwin Press.
9) Identify and create an example of “Taxonomy of Affective
Educational Objectives” of Krathwohl et al. (1964) (Summary
Table available at ONCOURSE site), summarizing; Krathwohl,
D. R., Bloom, B. S., & Masia, B. B. (1964). Taxonomy of
Educational Objectives: Handbook II-Affective Domain. White
Plains, NY: Longman Inc.
10) Reflection on poverty simulation activity-“Wealth mat-
ter”-available at http://www.tolerance.org/lesson/wealth-matters
and the case of DeAnne (Ford, 2011: pp. 287-289).
11) Reflection on “Acting White” (Cook & Ludwig, 2008:
pp. 275-297) and the case of DeWayne (Ford, 2011: pp. 99-
12) Reflection on identity theories (Bennett, 2011: pp. 87-91)
and the case of Ramirez (Ford, 2011: pp. 239-240).
13) Reflection on “Scientific Racism”-Nobel Prize winner
(1962) Dr. James Watson’s case available at
14) Articulate bibliotherapy plans from the provided list of
sample multicultural literature (Ford, 2011: pp. 229-230).
15) Identify and apply “micro-aggression themes and mes-
sage” by Sue et al. (2007, 2010) (Ford, 2011: p. 223).
16) Reflection on videos from “GLTB bullying in school”
available at http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/
17) Reflection on “Understanding the Foundation of Ethical
Reasoning” by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder (PDF file
available at https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psyab&
18) Reflection on “What would you do?” available at
19) Reflection on “Homeless & poverty” av ai l able at
20) Reflection on “An analysis of the critiques of multicul-
tural education” by Christine Sleeter (1995) (Banks & Banks,
Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education, 1995: pp.
In the paragraph that follows, I would like to discuss the
reasons as to why I have chosen the above journal entry topics
and related resources. Mark Johnson (1993) conceptualized that
human beings are able to move beyond narrow self-interests or
place meaningful focus on the needs of the others, only when
the individuals are sufficiently able to take the perspective of
another with whom their own needs and interests conflict.
Johnson (1993) poignantly presented such conceptualization in
the following quotes:
Unless we can put ourselves in the place of another, un-
less we can enlarge our own perspective through an
imaginative encounter with the experience of others, un-
less we can let our own values and ideas be called into
questions from various points of view, we cannot be mor-
ally sensitive… It is not sufficient to merely manipulate a
cool, detached “objective” reason toward people to inhabit
their worlds (pp. 199-200).
According to the classical study by Stotland (1969) and the
contemporary study by Batson, Early, & Salvanani (1997)
about human beings’ perspective-taking ability, there are two
different types of perspective-taking: 1) imagine-self perspec-
tive that refers to imagining what one’s thoughts and feelings
would be if one were in the situation of a person in need, which
produces a combination of self-oriented distressed feelings and
other-oriented empathetic feelings; and 2) imagine-other per-
spective that refers to imagining the thoughts and feelings of
the person in need, which produces only empathetic feelings
towards others. The imagine-self perspective is the type that
stimulates character growth and moral integrity (Batson, 2008;
Johnson, 1993). To actually be moral, a person should first
imagine him or herself in the other’s place (Batson, 2008: p.
62). The aforementioned journal entry topics and related re-
sources deemed to put students in a position that stimulates the
students to take the imagine-self perspective, and the ability to
become involved with the imagine-self perspective is very im-
portant, or even critical, in the character growth of the students
in multicultural education.
Exemplary Student Journals
Example 1: Reflection on LGBT Bullying in Schools.
I did look around the provided website, and I found it to be a
great resource for LGBT information and education. It also
gives a lot of useful information about statistics and laws that
are currently in place that could be considered prejudice or
discriminatory towards members of the LGBT community. I
don’t need to read an article to understand the repercussions
and rate of bully of LGBT students because I live it every day.
As a member of the LGBT community, there are several
stereotypes, prejudices, and offensive comments that I face on a
weekly if not daily basis. While I have been luckier than others
with having an accepting family and friend base for support,
there are a lot of insensitive remarks that are made on a daily
basis by the majority of people that I have become almost numb
to hearing. Not all of these, but the majority of them are more
often heard coming from the mouths of heterosexual males in
society today. Some of these comments were covered in the
2011 National Climate Survey that is posted on the GLSEN
website. These include, but are not limited to fag, faggot,
“that’s gay”, fairy, queen, and the ever popular “no homo.”
All of these phrases are offensive to members of the LGBT
community and are not socially acceptable words. Using these
words or phrases in a derogatory manner such as they are, it is
basically saying that being gay is a bad thing, and something
that should be looked down upon or that makes you less of a
person. There have been some huge strides recently for LGBT
rights, but bullying of LGBT students is still a huge issue in
schools today. There are some fantastic websites like the Trevor
Project and the “It gets better” campaign that both work to en-
courage LGBT students to “hang in there” because life does get
better and improve. They also offer great resources for students
that are being bullied to get advice or help before they do
something reckless like commit suicide or possibly harm other
students. Some of the biggest issues personally to me are the
prejudices that are present and placed by school corporations
themselves. One of the biggest that comes to mind and matches
this time of year is prom. In most public schools, homosexual
couples are not allowed to attend prom together. This was also
an issue for me in my senior year of high school, and I never
ended up attending my own senior prom.
I truly hope one day that members of the LGBT community
will see true equality in all measures of the word and their de-
served constitutional rights. Prejudice and unlawful persecution
are both something that should not be allowed to happen
whether it be towards people because of race, gender, sexual
orientation, religion, or race. This issue is something that is
truly important to me because as a teacher I will now hopefully
have the power to help children see diversity and help to avert
attitudes that would otherwise be judgmental of those that are
different. However, I also fear for my job security in the state as
there is no law preventing firing someone based on his or her
sexual orientation. I am also worried because in this state par-
ents have the right to have their child moved out of my class-
room if they have an issue with my sexual orientation. While I
am not required to share with people publicly what my sexual
orientation may be, I am always afraid that I may slip up and
someone will find out the person I am and it endangers my job.
While I am in no way ashamed of who I am, it is something
that I constantly worry about. In my opinion, someone should
not have to worry about being himself or herself for fear of
losing a job, students and parents’ respect, or anything else. The
fact that I have to worry about this issue at all proves to me that
while our country has made huge strides towards equality, the
true prize of “liberty for all” is not yet close to being truly at-
Example 2: Color Blindness or Color Awar e ness
In lecture, we discussed the idea that multicultural compe-
tency requires not color-blindness, as has been advocated for in
the past, but rather a heightened sense of color-awareness. This
initially struck me as odd, and is an issue I have wrestled with
since. While I certainly understand the potential negative rami-
fications of extreme color-blindness, there are also clear prob-
lems with extreme color-awareness. Fortunately, it is not an
either/or prospect, and recognizing the place for both color-
blindness and color-awareness within the classroom will have
The dangers of color-blindness, as discussed in class, is that
everyone is treated the same regardless of needs. While this
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 175
seems to be a fair practice, it does not lead to equity. Some
students come to the classroom with a slimmer chance at suc-
cess than others based on their opportunities outside of the
classroom. One of our jobs as teachers is to help minimize
those disadvantages so that all students have the opportunity to
succeed not only in our classroom, but as they move on. In
contrast, there are also dangers of heightened color-awareness.
If we focus on a student’s racial status or cultural background,
we may inadvertently propagate the idea that said student is
disadvantaged due to some inferiority in his/her race or culture.
In reality, any disadvantages a student may have are caused by
the combination of a variety of factors, of which race and cul-
ture may only play a small role.
Ultimately, as a teacher, I need to be both color blind and
color aware. Lesson plans need to be made in a way that are
sensitive to all races, creeds, cultures, and genders. Meanwhile,
the strive for equity needs to be made based on an understand-
ing of each child’s personal and family background, not just
their racial or cultural identity.
Example 3: Boston Marathon Bombing.
As we all know, Muslim racism has increased since 911. I
know that when I see a Muslim, the thought of terrorism runs
through my mind. I am not a racist towards Muslims. I
wouldn’t treat them any different from anyone else. It is sad
that a few people can ruin things for the entire group. Just be-
cause of a few extremists, the world is left with a fear of Mus-
lims. This fear was proven true again last week in the Boston
Marathon bombings. The two suspects were Muslims. They
were not from the typical area of Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran.
They were from a small area in Russia. The majority of Russia
is not Muslim. The bombers supposedly did this for political
reasons. The older brother was the ring leader of this all ac-
cording to the broadcasted news reports. A couple years ago, he
took a trip back to his native land and became very religious.
Russia even went as far as telling the United States government
that he may have ties to extremists. The United States found no
evidence of this. I am sure somebody is getting fired now for
not catching this terrorist. This fear has caused Americans and
people worldwide to become anti-Muslims. Our book says in
2004, anti-Muslim violence had increased by 50% in the past
year. I can see how this could be true. Like any other sovereign
nation’s people, our country has many patriotic people as well.
Some of these people can become an extremist if terrorists such
as Boston Bombers kill peace-loving civilians like Boston
marathoners. It is our predilection (natural or default state of
our minds) to protect our home, family, and nation. I am sure
many of these anti-terrorists crimes fly under the radar as well.
I can think of one situation that angered Muslims by watching
TV news. I remember a church somewhere in the US was going
to burn the Quran. This set off the Muslims; this is their bible
after all. Violence on this earth just needs to stop. Whether this
violence comes from Muslims or anti-Muslim hate crimes, it is
not right. The world we live in is a scary place and it needs to
become peaceful once again.
Those above three examples are selected because of three
reasons. First, those three examples are agreeable with the
overall spirit of multicultural journal writings. The three exam-
ples demonstrate the ability to take the perspective of imagine-
self with a multicultural sensitivity heightened to the level that
allows the students to be fluid enough to exude to and from all
facets of LGBT issues, the limitations of having only binary
views, and the concurrent issue of Boston marathon bombing.
Second, those three examples adequately satisfy the require-
ment of authenticity, creativity, and reflectivity in that each
entry speaks in terms of the first person, yet balanced enough to
be able to see the multicultural issues from the others’ view-
points as well. Third, the three examples are either sufficiently
transformative or characterization-oriented. I admire the cour-
age that Example 1 makes evident, and whole-heartedly agree
with the statement that, “someone should not have to worry
about being himself or herself for fear of losing a job, students
and parents’ respect, or anything else.” The entry maintains a
professional composure and performs to the rubric standards, or
even beyond, with authenticity, heightened interpersonal (or
cross-cultural) sensitivity, and characterization of multicultural
values. I chose the Example 2 entry because I have had to learn
from the journal writing. The course textbook conveys that the
traditional color-blind approach of interacting with the con-
temporary diverse American student population is now dys-
functional and obsolete, and so I lectured and led class discus-
sions within such framework. However, I learned that the au-
thor of Example 2 is a more independent thinker than the in-
structor, who is able to resist the mental trap of the binary
thinking of either-or alternatives or zero-sum games. I liked the
Example 3 entry for its fluidity with which the author maintains
utmost patriotism towards the American causes (i.e., American
people are willing to protect their own family, home, and nation
by default or predilection), yet is able to grasp the social occur-
rences from the others’ perspective (i.e., the Muslim perspec-
tive of watching some American Christians burn the Quran, the
bible of the Muslim religion). In addition, I liked the conclusion
of the Example 3 that calls for an unconditional cessation of
hateful crimes from both sides, not to retaliate from the victims’
side and no more terrorist attacks from a few extremists.
By default of writing extensive journals, students should en-
gage themselves in deep reflections about multicultural issues,
in writing about topics of personal interest and choice, in ex-
pressing their perspective, in arguing and counter-arguing about
the issues of interest, and eventually being able to connect new
information with things that they already knew. Moreover,
students are encouraged to actively engage in their own learn-
ing process because the journal writing activities provide stu-
dents with opportunities to clarify and analyze their ideas, val-
ues, perspectives, experiences, and thinking. When appropri-
ately guided with adequate journal topics and cognizant re-
sources, students should be able to compare and contrast, to
evaluate, and to synthesize newly-learned ideas with their ex-
isting value system. Ultimately, if students create one’s own
action plans in their journal writings, pertaining to the rectifica-
tion of their existing predilections, stereotypes, and prejudices,
those journal writings become the evidence of characterizations,
the highest affective development in which one’s behaviors and
value system are consistent. With those conceptualizations of
constructivists’ approach, the journal writing assignment has
been the most weighted learning activity of the students in my
multicultural education course. Constructing a rubric for journal
quality evaluation and exploring those suggested topics of
journal entries and related resources have been authentic learn-
ing experiences to many students as well as to me. Where the
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 177
term authenticity refers to the experiences or statements that are
supported by unquestionable first-hand evidence, I am truly
convinced by the authentic efficacy of journal writings in the
character growth of students in multicultural education. Over
the journey of my learning and teaching practices, there have
been a few occasions where I have had to wipe off tearstains
from my reading glasses, and all of these occasions occurred
while reading students’ journals. I admit that these dramatic
experiences have been rare; however, I am always able to delve
into deep dialogues with my students when I read their journals.
Where journal writing is conceptualized as refined dialogues
between learners and teachers, it has been a most reliable
teaching strategy in my multicultural education course.
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