Multiculturalism in climate and curriculum: Students' perspectives in one New England independent school

Dana Lawrence Caruso (2008)

Schools must prepare students for a multicultural society (Banks, 1993). The challenges of incorporating group-specific aspects of identity (Roysircar, 20046) into school climate and curriculum prompted the author to study students' perceptions of multiculturalism in one school. The study utilized quantitative and qualitative analyses of archived data from a 2004 survey. The 48 Likert-type items covered cultural identifications, equity, school affiliation and curriculum, operationalized further into dimensions of diversity: (a) General, (b) Gender, (c) Socioeconomic, (d) Sexual Orientation, as well as (e) Wellbeing and (f) Curriculum/Policy. Relationships between student demographics and the dimensions were studied. Qualitative data from 6 open- ended questions generated meanings about students' thoughts and feelings regarding programming, wellbeing, resources, belonging/not belonging, and general diversity attitudes. Short answers were analyzed using the Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) method (Hill, et al., 2005). Findings were used to make recommendations about how improve multicultural climate and curriculum in the future.