Teaching Indonesia Language Through Reading Text Material as a medium of Multicultural Education

Bennet (1995) states that multicultural education is based upon democratic values and beliefs and seeks to foster cultural pluralism within culturally diverse societies and interdependent world.

The Goals of Multicultural Education
 helping each child develop a positive self   
concept; lessening the effects of racism and cultural stereo-typing; enhancing cross-cultural communication; providing children with the necessary tools to become successful in a technologically advanced and interconnected world; and, reaching social equality http://www.obu.edu/missobu/links.htm, 10(10) are

Implication in Teaching a Target Language
Teaching a Target Language Linguistic Competence Socio-Cultural Competence Intercultural Language

Cultural awareness Teaching

Cross Culture Communication

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Cultural awareness: the ability to interact in complex context among people who have more than one cultural identity and language Goal of cultural awareness: realize the existence of similarities and differences between the target language and learners’ native culture

Learner Position in Learning Target Language
Kramsch (1993: 205-206) said, Learners will always be some kind of go-between the target language culture and his own culture. Kramsch also proposes a guidelines contained four aspects of culture in viewing of cultural acquisation: 1. Establishing a spere of interculturality (between the target culture and the native culture). 2. Going beyond the presentation of cultural facts and moving towards a process of understanding foreignness. 3. Teaching culture as difference (regarding aspects like age, race, gender, social class, for example). 4. Teachers need to have some understanding of a wider range of subjects such as sociology, ethnography, and sociolinguistics.

Roles of Reading Text
   information for student about culture of the target language a medium that can be developed for different learning activities to achieve multicultural goals and mastering a target language a medium for learners to think critically on real reality of target language culture and learner’s culture by comparing, contrasting and reflecting. The result of critical thinking on reading text will minimize negative stereotypes and prejudice on target language culture.

Selecting reading text
Cultural sensitivity is one of criteria in selecting teaching material. Rubdy states some aspects that a teacher should consider (52:2003): • What aspects of culture are in focus? • Are the materials relevant/suitable/appropriate to learners cultural context and sensitive to their values and beliefs? • Do the material reflect awareness of and sensitivity to sociocultural variation? • Does the book show parallels and contrasts between the learners’ culture and others? • Is this done in a non-patronizing way? • Does the course book enshrine stereotyped, inaccurate, condescending or offensive images of gender, race, social class or nationality? • Are accurate or ‘sanitized’ views of USA or Britain presented; e.g., are uncomfortable social realities (for instance, unemployment, poverty, family breakdowns, racism) left out?” • Aspect of cultural sensitivity is a tool for the teacher to analyze, evaluate, and decide whether a reading text contains multicultural education

Here is the sample of reading text taken from Lentera Indonesia 2, followed by the analysis, the modified activies and the evaluation:

Here is the sample of reading text taken from Lentera Indonesia 2, followed by the analysis, the modified activities and the evaluation:

1. Analysis based on criteria of cultural sensitivity
a. the topic of the passage
The text is about the myth in Indonesia. It is about the prohibition of sleeping on bed. The prohibition is related to the belief that if someone sleeps on bed, the person will have a curse. The curse could be fever, insane, becoming poor, bankrupt, and inharmonious family life. b. the evaluation of reading text based on aspect of cultural sensitivity Some questions for analyzing whether a text contains perspectives of multicultural education 1. What aspects of culture are in focus? Aspect of culture in the reading text above is belief. 2. Are the materials relevant/suitable/appropriate to learners cultural context and sensitive to their values and beliefs? The reading material is relevant to learners cultural context and sensitive to their values and belief on consideration that myth story is universal. Almost every culture has its own myth that is related to community belief. Unfortunately, the type of the reading comprehension task or content doesn’t include aspect of learner’s native culture.

3. Do the material reflect awareness of and sensitivity to socio cultural variation? The reading material reflects awareness of sensitivity to socio cultural variation because the reading text presented as a part of diversity myths in target language culture. The myth in Indonesia has been one of socio cultural variation that is related to belief and attached in particular ethnic groups in Indonesia. The reading text explains about an example of myths in Indonesia without underscore other myth from other region in Indonesia. 4. Does the book show parallels and contrasts between the learners’ culture and others? The text doesn’t show parallels and contrasts between the learners’ culture and others. The text only exposes the target language culture. By giving contrastive and comparative culture between learner’s culture and target language culture will lead the learner to respect and appreciate target language culture and achieve better understanding of learner’s own culture.

5. Is this done in a non-patronizing way? The reading text is done in a non-patronizing way because the text doesn’t put down the belief. 6. Does the course book enshrine stereotyped, inaccurate, condescending or offensive images of gender, race, social class or nationality? The reading material doesn’t preserve any stereotyped, inaccurate, condescending or offensive images of gender, race, social class or nationality. 7. Are accurate or ‘sanitized’ views of Indonesia presented; e.g., are uncomfortable social realities (for instance, unemployment, poverty, family breakdowns, racism) left out? Accurate or ‘sanitized’ views of Indonesia presented uncomfortable social realities are left out in this text book.

3. Evaluation of all reading materials
A. Topics The topics are sahabat (friendship), seni tradisional (traditional art), mitos (myth), gotong royong (co - operation), upacara tradisional (traditional ceremony), mudik lebaran (Lebaran upcountry), perayaan 17 Agustus (17 August celebration), berita hari ini (today news), iklan (advertising), and rupa-rupa (miscellaneous). B The Task The tasks following the reading texts are arranged and aimed to exercise four skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). However, the task implied is lack of reflective cultural activity for multicultural context. Reflective cultural activity is a designed activity that involve learner’s awareness to value, to confirm, to share, to tolerate and to compare differences among various culture target language and the learner’s native culture.

2. Modified learning activities from reading text material in order to reflect multicultural education

a. include a reading text which has the same topic about myth from learner’s native culture b. give some question that compare and contrast the target language culture and the learner’s native culture c. use quizzes as a type of activity for learning new information of target language culture d. give a discussion activities that explores learner’s opinion and attitude about target language culture and learner’s native culture e. Other types of activities are games, role plays, field trip, research, and etc.

Evaluation in perspective of cultural reality

1. The book avoids any topic which portrays uncomfortable social reality such as corruption, poverty, unemployment, disaster, etc. 2. The way the book presents Indonesia somehow narrowed the view of Indonesia culture because Indonesia is viewed only from one perspective (good one).
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The exaggerating stress on the positive perception on Indonesia culture will lead to false generalization and block the learners to think critically on the target language culture. Clarke and Clarke (1990: 34) illustrated that narrow view of culture, distorting reality, exaggerating some national characteristics and resulting in stereotypes and generalizations.

Suggestion on perspective of critical thinking
Critical examinations on reading text is a part of critical thinking activities. The text book should not be afraid to cover negative stereotype or issue on Indonesia such as terrorism, corruption, disaster (earth quake), deforestation, unemployment, human right issue, history of east Timor etc. Such reading text topic is a good source for learner to think critically on reality of target language culture with open mind. Beside that, by exposing such topics can minimize negative stereotype or prejudice on reality of target language culture.

Conclusion
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In the perspective of multicultural language education, reading text has many roles. First, it gives information and introduces learner to target language culture. Second, it can be developed and elaborated to some activities reflect cross culture communication as one of the goal of multicultural education. Third, it can be the medium for learners to think critically on real reality of target language culture and learner’s culture by comparing, contrasting and reflecting. The result of critical thinking on reading text will minimize negative stereotypes and prejudice on target language culture. The role of teacher in selecting and deciding a reading text is significant in teaching target language which embodied multicultural perspective. Learning a target language is viewed as some kind of go – between target language culture and learner culture. Therefore, teacher plays a role to bridge target language culture and learner’s culture. To maintain that role, a teacher should be skillful in making analysis and evaluation on reading text critically based on cultural sensitivity.

Thank You Riani riani_bby@gmail.com

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