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Diversity in Society and Schools

(First Edition)
Edited by Howard L. Smith and Kalpana Mukunda Iyengar
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Diversity in Society and Schools is a curated anthology of original and third-party pieces that address aspects of culture. These scholarly works, both empirical and narrative, address the multiple ways in which culture is experienced - through affect, behavior, and cognition. Educators who problematize social issues to create equitable and socially just schools will find these readings enlightening and informative. The academic success of learners from diverse groups is supported by teachers who are willing to disavow pernicious, fossilized attitudes and embrace critical perspectives throughout their instruction. In this volume, educators will find a compendium of ideas to enhance asset-based learning opportunities for instruction that is multicultural and affirming.

While not exhaustive, the twelve major sections in this volume provide an understanding of the experiences and perspectives of different cultural communities. It is anticipated that this information will increase teacher awareness and understanding so that classrooms are more equitable and culturally sustaining. Through acquired knowledge about cultures, individuals may experience a paradigm shift from tolerance to appreciation of diversity. Such a positive change yields an educational experience that is culturally efficacious and inclusive.

This collection helps unpack and deconstruct ideas about this nation's cultural mosaic. At the same time, the readings attempt to clarify issues that are misconstrued, ignored, or disparaged. The anthology strives to broaden the understanding of cultural diversity beyond surface culture. More than a cornucopia of lyrics, dance steps, and celebration dates on a calendar, the selected articles from authoritative sources, explore issues of culture and social justice within the educational domains.

As in society, there are students from marginalized communities that are vilified in our schools and classrooms. Educators may witness, unwittingly support, or unintentionally engage in acts of symbolic violence. Such harmful behavior might include alienation, erasure, invalidation, as well as, microaggressions, micro-insults, micro-assaults, and other forms of bullying and bigotry. Through the use of these readings, educators will be encouraged to promote civil discourse and constructive dialogue. An additional result is the creation of safer and more equitable spaces for optimal learning opportunities for all students. This is educational equity, social justice, and joy for all.

Howard L. Smith is professor of bilingual-multicultural education and biliteracy in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his doctorate from the University of Arizona. His research agenda includes literacy expressions in multicultural settings.
Kalpana Mukunda Iyengar is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research foci are transformative literacies and multicultural education.
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