Race, Ethnicity And Religion- Sociological Observation
This is my fourth week of school placement. There are many different aspects that fall under the heading of race, but I will focus on multiculturalism within the school community. One of the first things I noticed as I walked in the front door of the school, was that the students came from all different multicultural backgrounds. In my first few days within the staffroom, I had numerous discussions with different teachers, in which they informed me of the high level of students from different nations around the world attending the school. I am surprised at how multicultural the school is compared to my last school placement, where there was a very low number of foreign students. The school prides itself on being a very culturally diverse institution. This is evident to me through cultural activities provided by the school to incorporate all students to make them feel welcome and accepted. There are many events arranged by the school such as International Languages Day, different types of food catering to the needs of most student cultures in the school cafeteria and national celebration days. Even within my own class this week, of the students who attended my class out of an overall 13, each came from a different nation. Therefore. this is the topic I have chosen to focus on.
According to Rosado (1997), “the essence of multiculturalism, the undergirding concept of multicultural education, is the ability to celebrate with the other in a manner that transcends all barriers and brings about a unity in diversity”. During the 1990’s there was a huge increase in emigration to Ireland which has resulted in many students growing up in a multicultural country. Due to this high volume of immigrants entering the country, schools throughout have become more culturally diverse (Tormey & Gleeson, 2012). As noted by the NCCA (2006), a key learning outcome of the secondary school curriculum is to recognise how the different cultures in the community have added to the diversity within schools. The authors state that by being culturally aware “contributes to young people’s personal and social development as citizens of an intercultural Ireland, Europe and the global community”.
In summary, compared to my own experiences of secondary school as a student, multiculturalism was not seen in a high regard as it is today. Back then students of different cultures stood out amongst the crowd and were for this reason bullied. However, from teaching in this school, to be of a different culture is now seen in a positive light as students of all cultural backgrounds are all accepted. I think schools throughout the country should follow in the footsteps of my school in believing that all different cultures add to the overall diversity. In my last school placement, bullying was prevalent regarding students of different nationalities. I believe this was down to the school not teaching and promoting multiculturalism and cultural diversity within the school.
NCCA 2006, Guidelines for Schools Intercultural Education in the Post-Primary School, Dublin :National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
Tormey, R. and Gleeson, J., 2012. Irish post-primary students’ attitudes towards ethnic minorities. Irish Educational Studies, 31(2), pp.157-173.
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