Multicultural Education Practices in Malaysian Preschools with Multiethnic or Monoethnic Environment

In today’s increasingly diverse world, ethnicity has a dramatic impact on a growing child. The ‘melting pot’ concept has given children whether from majority or minority ethnic groups have contact with groups other than their own and must learn to live with ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity affects social interaction among students of different ethnic groups. Social interaction among students of different ethnic groups has been a major focus of study in Malaysia in recent years. Schools in Malaysia have students from a variety of ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural backgrounds. When students of a variety of backgrounds are put under one roof, there is a strong tendency to differentiate and polarize. One of the main causes for students to differentiate and polarize is due to the monoethnic environment. Preschools must begin a focused and concerted effort to provide for today’s children the skills, attitudes, and knowledge they will need to be successful in the pluralistic and interdependent world in which these children will live and work as adults. Among these competencies are the ability to be multilingual and the ability to be cross-culturally competent. A multicultural classroom, then, is one that features positive teacher expectations for all children, a learning environment that supports positive interracial contact, and a curriculum that is multicultural in content and varied in pedagogy. This article will discuss Multicultural Education Practices by teachers in Malaysian Preschools with a multiethnic or monoethnic environment. A study was conducted in 200 preschools in North Malaysia. The nature of multicultural education in this study is classified according to an instrument which is related to the children’s’ lives. The teachers were given a set of questionnaires and findings were analyzed quantitatively.

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Keywords: Multicultural Education; Preschool; Monoethnic; Multiethnic; Environment


EISSN: 2364-5369

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