How multicultural schools manage diversity.
Mthembu, Thembokuhle Witness Sihle.
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The purpose of the study was to understand how teachers, pupils and managers experience and manage diversity in multicultural schools. The study was conducted at 3 successful multicultural schools in the Durban region in the Province of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa ( Merebank District ). Literature based on the United States of America and the United Kingdoms' experiences on multicultural education was reviewed and its relevance or applicability to the South African schools also presented. This study regards multicultural education as an education approach that incorporates the idea that all students, regardless of their gender and social class and their ethnic, racial or cultural characteristics, should have an equal opportunity to learn in school, which could enhance the achievement of students in a more positive way. The study was conducted through interviews, classroom observations and questionnaires. Teachers, pupils and managers were surveyed to find out how they deal with issues of identity, how they manage diversity and what role they play in bringing about harmony and effective learning in a multi cultural school. The findings of the study were also analyzed in relation to the roles played by the principals, students and teachers in a multicultural setting. This study found that pupils, teachers and managers face serious problems in these 3 multicultural schools and are unable to deal with and manage diversity, especially cultural diversity. Finally, the study has revealed that if all the people involved i.e. pupils, teachers and managers can combine their roles into a solidified whole, they can bring about change, good human relations and effective teaching and learning in multicultural schools. The study makes suggestions and recommendations that could be considered when dealing with diversity. It is hoped that this study together with other studies on multicultural education, would provide the necessary help to educators, education authorities and other stakeholders to be able to deal effectively with issues of identity and diversity in multicultural schools and in a multicultural society as a whole.