Celebrating Multiculturalism: Implications for Teacher Training, Education and Research

Ramlee Mustapha


Many societies in the Asia-Pacific region may be described as multi-ethnic or multicultural, but only a few have official policies of multiculturalism; that is, policies which recognize cultural diversity as a long-term and legitimate feature of society requiring special state measures to ensure social cohesion and social justice. Incidences of racism and discrimination highlight the limitations in achieving complete acceptance. As a consequence, peaceful coexistence may be fragile and problematic. In addition, the impact of globalization on teacher education is unprecedented. Changing in the global education landscape has transform the theorypractice nexus in teacher education. Another revolution is needed to transform educational system and prepare graduates for the 21st century realities. Drawing on the perspectives of the stakeholders and focusing on digital learners are pertinent to bring teacher education onto a higher level of excellence. In the new millennium, multi-cultural education must focus on the whole child – morally, intellectually, physically, socially and aesthetically. In meeting the needs of the stakeholders, authentic learning, multi-literacies, innovative thinking and research-based improvements are keys to the 21st century teacher education model. Authentic learning is the symbolism of multiculturalism typically focuses on real-world, complex problems and their solution using role-play exercises, problem-based activities, case studies, and participation in virtual communities of practice. The learning environments are inherently multidisciplinary, thus, authentic learning could be a dynamic tool to enhance learning and to provide multicultural opportunities for students to engage in higher-order thinking and active learning. Leading high performing teacher education system is also critical. Multicultural educational leaders need to focus on seeking new innovative models of teacher education, pedagogy and learning, and support services. Multicultural teacher education program could attract best students. In order to raise teachers and students’ competencies and standards, it is not enough to declare high performing schools; it is critical to develop multicultural thinking and well-rounded students who are the future high performing thinkers and innovators. For the innovation culture to flourish, granting flexibility and autonomy is a way of moving forward. To gain international recognition, the development of multicultural curriculum for teacher education and training with a multidisciplinary and innovative orientation is critical. Hence, a country needs a dynamic and resilient multicultural teacher education framework or a roadmap for producing quality teachers in the context of sustainable development.

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