This section has information from scholarly articles and books. The authors provide a combination of theories and practices of teaching critical multicultural education. This information summarizes many individual concepts found in these articles. This section can be referenced for inspiration on how to handle conversations about identity, race and racism in the classroom. It provides reason for critical multicultural education. Lastly, it recommends classroom activities that tackle issues of identity, race and multiculturalism.
art education and visual culture in the age of globalization
Kevin Tavin and Jerome Hausman
- Globalization refers to the developments of global financial markets, the growth of transnational corporations, and their increasing domination over national and local economies. Globalization includes virtually all areas of human exchange in our lives, including visual culture and art education.
- We are experiencing an overwhelming globalization of economic and cultural exchanges. Globalization is a matter of increasing long-distance interconnectedness. Physical and conceptual boundaries that have helped establish and maintain distinctions are now giving way to different configurations and intersections.
- The forces of globalization make necessary standardization or, at least, systems that cross boundaries to accommodate and fit the larger patterns of manufacture and distribution. It is as if people are fitted into what the producer has created, therefore we need to find a comfortable balance between preserving a sense of identity, home, and community, and doing what it takes to function within a globalized economy.
- Global Visual Culture: For art educators, these concepts of globalization present problems to be investigated and possibilities not yet realized. On the one hand, globalization allows art educators to be aware of more things in our visual environment. This awareness is reflected int her art of our time and should be reflected in the teaching of visual culture. The subjects and themes for classroom study should be expanded to encompass the scope and scale of our students' experiences. This can include deeply felt and personal experiences, political and social issues, environmental decision-making, and images in mass media, as well as works of art, architecture, and design. On the other hand, art teachers can begin to unpack the social and cultural roots and consequences of globalization and, with their students, imagine new opportunities in line with this idea. Paul Duncum sees art classrooms as "crucial sites for discussing issues raised by global culture" and students of visual culture as imagining "alternative projects of social existence."
- Art educators can attempt to understand the complexities and interconnections between globalized phenomena and then act in ways that would enrich and better realize human potentialities. Failing to consider global culture represents a retreat from the kind of imagery that impacts on youngster's minds and emotions... Continuing to focus exclusively on the art of the institutionalized artworld simply denies students their most immediate experiences.
- Critical Citizenship: Individuals and communities should have a direct role in the determination of the conditions of their own lives. Critical citizens who are self-reflexive- setting themselves and their world in question- have a deep concern for their lives of others. Teaching and learning about globalization can be understood as pedagogy toward critical citizenship, where students see themselves as agents of change. Through connecting creative expression, theoretical knowledge, everyday experiences, and social critique, students have a stronger basis for investigating the implications of globalization.
- Teaching techniques: Ask questions regarding everyday life and images/objects in visual culture. What images/objects are most meaningful to you? What are the stories associated with these images/objects? What do these say about me or others? Place a consumer product in the center of a classroom and ask student to write or draw a story about that particular item. Students could ask questions directly to the objects, or provide answers from the perspective of the object. By making connections to works of art and other themes of globalization, students can then produce their own artwork, through a variety of media that tells a different story about the object and its relation to individual dreams, desires, and life situations. Teachers could take their students to various place to examine consumer products. Production activities might include photographic documentation and interpretation of various notions of community, performances highlighting cultural perspectives, video-taped interviews with students, parents, neighbors, and shop owners, and alternative forms of advertisements that take up issues of globalization and visual culture.
- Art educators have the responsibility to understand and respond to the impact of globalization on their lives and the lives of their students. The forces of globalization are making more urgent the need for a counterbalancing force that strengthens students' own uniqueness and interdependence.
critical teaching about racism through story and the arts
- ...students who were more knowledgable and conscious about racism were able to comment on the racial assumptions embedded in stories in ways that enabled less aware classmates to discern racism through the vehicle of the words spread before them.
- The Storytelling Model: views race and racism through four story types, drawing on multiple artistic and pedagogical tools to discover, develop and analyze stories about racism that can catalyze consciousness and commitment to action. Once a month we converged on this space to engage in pedagogical and artistic processes for exploring racism. Our starting point was a social justice education paradigm that looks at diversity through the structural dynamics of power and privilege. We examined power in stories and power dynamics around stories to help us understand how social location (our racial position in society) affects storytelling and to consider ways to generate new stories that account for power, privilege and position in discussing and acting on racial and other social justice issues. In particular, we wanted to expose and confront color-blind racism and develop tools to tackle racial issues consciously and proactively in a racially diverse group. In our collective reading we examined theoretical ideas about race (identity, positionally, racial formations) and racism (power, privilege, resistance, collusion). When we came together each month we explored these ideas through the creative vehicles of poetry, writing, dance, spoken word, theater games, film and visual art.
Imaging difference: the politics of representation in multicultural art education
- Multicultural art education should provide accurate and authentic representations of the art of racially and ethnically marginalized groups in the United States and of subordinate cultures around the world. The corrective measure is a move to dismantle dominant stereotypic representations of race, ethnicity, and culture.
- Representations share our understanding of reality and therefore set the terms of culture. Representation from this perspective involves producing meaning. No representations, whether visual, textual, or verbal, are neutral. Rather they all involve some act of violence or decontextualization to the subject being represented. The act of representing the other tends to reduce the other to some partial characteristics. Inherent in multiculturalism as a pedagogical approach is the requirements that teachers represent a culture other than their own.
- Multiculturalism as a pedagogical practice needs to address the complex relationship between subjectivity and power in relation to culture. It is irresponsible of art educators to present artworks to students without preparing them to also understand the context from which they come and the rationale for their selection.
- This approach to multiculturalism, which is grounded in a politics of location and positionally, requires a thoughtful self-consciousness about the politics of who speaks, how, and to whom. We art educators have to reflect on and present the political agendas that shape our teachings about other cultures. We need to vigilantly ask ourselves why we choose to introduce a specific culture at this particular historical conjuncture.
(mis)information highways: a critique of online resources for multicultural art education
Joni Boyd Acuff
- 3 contentions to consider...
- Homogenization: Many online art lesson plans homogenize cultures. It is damaging in that it does not allow the individual cultures to be transient, diverse and ever changing. It places parameters around cultural identity. If staying in line with critical multicultural art education, the art lessons should support the articulation of diverse narratives and the schizophrenic nature of culture.
- Cultural (Mis)Representation: Multicultural lesson plans on these websites make little to no distinction between a culture's historical and contemporary context. They do not challenge power, nor do they question the creation of knowledge as critical multicultural art education recommends.
- The use of the additive approach to multicultural education: Content, concepts, themes, and perspectives are added to the curriculum without changing its structure. Books, lesson or units about various ethnic groups are added to the otherwise hegemonic, 'mainstream-centric' curriculum. Teachers usually have culturally-themed weeks, often times in conjunction with months in which certain groups are recognized.
- Advances: Have conversations with students about hegemonic tools like the lessons on these websites. Together, art educators and students need to engage in critical analyses of the contents of the multicultural lesson plans. Use these websites as discussions prompts that initiate dialogue stressing this goal of multiculturalism. After engaging in dialogue with students, empower them to take action. Create counter-curriculum and use counter narratives to give voice to the experiences of people of color, as well as those who have been silences because of marginalized group status. Counter-narratives and counterstories work to destabilize dominant explanations and ideologies, revise normalized narratives and modify universalized truths; this allows every group to place their cultural frame of reference at the forefront, guiding and supporting diverse perception of the world.
Blogging, zines, and narratives: New dialogues in art history
- Blogging Art History: Weekly blogging assignment in which students research images selected to list of fie to eight artists- selected by the teacher- through an Internet search engine. Students select artworks that speak to them for various reasons. They then post an image of this work on their individual blogs, along with paired images, videos, sound clips, or pieces of writing, and brief explanations of the pairings. Through this assignment, students often find powerful connections between their personal lives and art.
- Zines: Provide content from the various books that is relevant for the week. Students read and notate the text with various marks to indicate statements they believe are important, phrases that confuse them, vocabulary they do not understand, and selections that excite them. Students go in groups of 2-4 and decide what their narratives will be, based on their interpretations. They cut passages and images from their selections, look up vocabulary that is new to them, and as a group work out the answers to their questions from the text. They paste their selected passages onto large paper and draw and write to illustrate their art historical narrative. Students will see ways in which different texts address similar themes and are able to formulate their own narratives rather than accept a singular truth from one author's perspective.
- Talking Pictures: In small groups, students select an artwork in the room. Students are familiar with these artists' processes and biographies. With the image, students dialogue a potential thought process int he form of a narrative that is either theoretically occurring in the work or in the mind of the artist as the piece is being created. Questions about the work are asked between partners. After answering, they write a first-person dialogue from the perspective of either the artist or the subjects of the artwork. Finally, a display of the dialogue is paired with the image and the name of the artist. They can spin the work however they like.
- Resident Experts: Each student presents a 5-10 minute presentation on an artist of their choice.
- Artists Are Humans, Too: Invite artists to come speak. Invite students to lectures.
Bamboozled: A visual culture text for looking at CULTURAL practices of racism
Nancy S. Parks
- Look at artists who have explored racial differences: Faith Ringgold, Michael Ray Charles, and Kara Walker have used racial stereotypes to explore the themes of identity and racism.
- David Lee's (2000) Bamboozled is a satire of American television and film. It confronts the viewer about identity and the misrepresentation of African Americans in the entertainment industry. To understand this dialectical process, preservice and inservice art teachers can examine Bamboozled and Delacroix's television series for examples of African Americans that have been borrowed from the past. An examination of Bamboozled as part of visual culture provides an opportunity to initiate dialogue among all preservice and inservice art teachers about radicalized images and false notions of Black identity. Continued dialogue about this topic is necessary within art education scholarship.
framing identity: using photographs to rethink sexism, gender, and sexuality
Workshopping Photographic Pedagogies with the works of Jess Dugan and Lois Bielefeld:
Workshopping Photographic Pedagogies with the works of Jess Dugan and Lois Bielefeld:
- The activities we brainstorm will help students:
- Acquire relevant vocabulary to talk about gender identity and stereotypes.
- Grapple with the notion of realness as it relates to gender.
- Look at images of Dugan's and Bielefeld's work and relate them to the big idea of identity.
- Understand how stereotypes can result in unfair or even harmful situations.
- Devise a plan for arts-based projects that expand our understanding of gender.
- Potential discussion questions:
- What do you see in this picture?
- Who do you think this person is?
- Tell me a story about the persona/people you see in this photograph?
- What is gender?
- How can we know a person's gender identity?
- What makes someone be a girl? A boy? Can someone be a little of both?
- What are some ideas about how people of different genders "should" be or act?
- Have you ever heard someone say "real mean/real women do ___?" Let's talk about that.
- Have you heard the word transgender? What do you think it means? Do any of these pictures give you more understanding?
- Let's talk about what gender variant means.
- What is a stereotype? How do stereotypes affect people as they grow and live their lives?
- What are ways you can think of to make our community and school welcoming to someone who does not fit right gender expectations? Do these works make you think differently about gender and stereotypes?
- Possibly art-making projects:
- A photography project in which students are challenged to show complexity in their own and others' identities.
- Visual journaling activities about ways a student's own identity is being formed.
- A project using the methods of To Survive on This Shore, which combines social science with photography. Conduct interviews and create a photographic series of portraits that say something new to you about gender.
- Design badges or trophies for aspects of gender that are not typically celebrated in schools.
- A social practice art project like the Bathroom installation (see Bielefeld's website): Develop questions you might ask community members, recording their responses. Propose an installation plan to accompany the audio.
- A public service announcement video that addresses an aspect of gender people should know more about.
- An exhibition that visually compares and contrasts representations of gender. For example, juxtapose images from advertising to some made of real people in your school.
- Comics of superheroes that bend gender rules to make the world a safer, more inclusive space for all.
Vivian Gussin Paley
- "Steven" (13-22): Steven had bad behavior and bad words. The teacher began pointing out and complimenting his good behaviors, stopping his negative ones but otherwise ignoring them. He was still violent, so she made him monitor his own behaviors by having him sit in the corner when he was violent. He refused for a while, but eventually did this on his own. To diminish his bad language, the teacher let him say certain swear words only a few times a day. Eventually he stopped saying them.
- Overall themes: Dramatic play in kindergarten is essential to social, emotional and linguistic growth. Acknowledging people of color and their differences; being open to talking about racist tendencies and accepting them at times.
Edited by Mica Pollock
- Constructing Colorblind Classrooms, Samuel R. Lucas (62-66)
- Knowing Students as Individuals, by Joshua Aronson (67-69)
- Showing Student Who You Are, by Heather M. Pleasants (70-73)
- Helping Students of Color Meet High Standards, by Ronald F. Ferguson (88-81)
- Using Photography to Explore Racial Identity, by Alexandra Lightfoot (142-145)
- Exploring Racial Identity Through Writing, by Jennifer A. Mott-Smith (146-149)
- Teaching Critical Analysis of Racial Oppression, by Jeff Duncan-Andrade (156-160)
- Using Critical Hip-Hop in the Curriculum, by Ernest Morrell (161-164)
- Engaging Youth in Participatory Inquiry for Social Justice, by Maria Elena Torre and Michelle Fine (165-171)
- Racial Incidents as Teachable Moments, by Lawrence Blum (236-241)
Rethinking multicultural education: teaching for racial and cultural justice
Edited by Wayne Au
- The ideology of "race" drives much of what happens in the world and in education. It is like a computer software program that "runs in the background," invisible and inaudible. However, our silent and invisible "racial" software is not benign. It is linked to issues of power and hegemony, the domination is not benign. It is linked to issues of power and hegemony, the domination of a given group by another. "Race" thinking has no reason for being except for the etablishment of hegemony.
- We must look at "race" as our criteria for identity. We need to ask questions such as: What was the historical nature of group identity when "race" was not in the picture? What is the normal basis for group identity in world history? What were the criteria for ethnic family identity prior to the invention of the race construct?
- Ethnicity not Phenotype: Ethnicity implies history, culture, location, creativity. Color does not. Our goal should not be to search for "racial identity," but to decolonize our minds and purge them of images of white supremacy- and to restore the African family. Genuine identity is based upon collective culture and traditions, not an opposition to white supremacy, not matter how necessary the struggle is.
- Current Agenda in Art Education: We must know the history, purposes, consequences, and structure of the racial paradigm. We must dismantle the evil paradigm, and heal ourselves. Abandon the Race Construct. Give equitable treatment- the school's treatment of the child is potent, therefore we must have detailed and valid information about how the child is treated in school. The structure of services, such as special education, more often stratify students rather than benefit them. Tracking and "special" services, in the main, label and stigmatize students, disproportionally by "race," with minimal to negative benefits. We must forego our preoccupation with the false construct of "race" and focus instead on our African ethnic identity.
- Black English/Ebonics: What it be like? (111-120) Ebonics and Culturally Responsive Instruction (121-130)
- The Puerto Rican Vejigante (237-243)
- Brown Kids Can't Be in Our Club: Activities (255-261)
- Me Pockets: Each child takes home a letter-sized trading card plastic sleeve. They fill the pockets with photos, pictures, drawings, or anything else that will help us know more about them and the things that are important in their lives. These go into a 3-ring binder at school.
- Partner Questions: This teaches the social skills of communicating ideas with others and listening to another person's perspective. We ask questions like, "What is the meanest thing anyone has every said to you? Why do you think some people like to use put-downs?" Partners share, then some are willing to share with the group and even role-play to respond, such as speaking back in insults.
- Someone Special: We set up a table and students are encouraged to bring in pictures or artifacts to display of lost ancestors on Dia de los Meurtos. The bring a variety of things: jewelry, a trophy, postcard etc. Everyone, including the teachers, share stories.
- Let's Talk About Skin: Start by discussing your own skin color. Some may feel uncomfortable. Ask students if they have ever heard anyone say something bad or mean about another person's skin color. Discuss issues of race. Teachers also discuss. Do people choose their colors? Where do you get your skin color? Is it better to be one color than another? Conversations may revolve around a story or piece of literature. Expand this discussion of skin color in ways that incorporate math lessons, map lessons, and other curricular areas. Take surveys to see how many ancestors came from warm or cold places. Ask children to interview their relatives to find out where the family came from. Create a bulletin board display to compare and learn about the huge variety of places. Graph the data of whose family came from warm places, cold, both or don't know.
- Skin Color and Science: Class discussions set the stage for investigations. Bring in a large variety of paint chips from a local hardware store. The students love examining and sorting the many shades of beige and brown. In the story, "The Color of Us" by Karen Katz, Lena learns from her mother that brown is a whole range of colors. We take red, yellow, black, and white paint and mix them in various combinations to find our own. In "All the Colors of the Earth" by Sheila Hamanaka, students are asked to find words to describe the color of their skin, and to find something at hime that matches their skin color.
- Writing About Our Colors: Once students have had a chance to reflect on skin color, they write about it.