Problem Statement: The concept of multiculturalism was in general perceived in terms of ethnic background or difference in race and so brought forth negative viewpoints and apprehensions with regard to the issue. It is undoubtedly of great importance to provide comprehensive educational systems in which individuals in multicultural societies can live together in peace. Therefore the attempt to determine the perceptions of the teachers towards multiculturalism is essential as they are responsible for the organization of class learning environments. Likewise it is important to analyze the degree to which educational programs actually carry or incorporate these multicultural principles with view to ensuring an education that will include all students and ensure they are raised in a way that embraces peace Nevertheless the number of studies conducted in Turkey on this topic to date remains very small.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to investigate the perceptions of teachers‘ with regard to multicultural education and diversity and to highlight the awareness of teachers concerning this issue.
Method: A qualitative case research design was employed for this study. Within the study there was an attempt to present the thoughts of teachers with regard to multicultural education and at the same time to examine yearly plans to determine to what degree multicultural education had been incorporated into the teaching process. In order to determine the study group, a purposeful sampling technique was used, with the research group consisting of 6 teachers employed during the 2012-2013 academic year at a primary school situated in the province of Istanbul, Turkey. The data of the study were collected by means of semi-constructed interviews, observations and document analysis, and interview questions and an observation form and yearly plans were used as data collection tools. The data obtained were then evaluated in accordance with the content analysis technique.
Findings and Results: On analysis of the results it was found that the actual knowledge of the teachers with regard to multicultural education and diversity was found to be adequate and their opinions towards multicultural education were observed to be largely positive. Nevertheless, there were serious confusion and prejudices with regard to certain concepts connected to multicultural education and on these issues teachers were seen to suffer from certain inadequacies. Furthermore, analysis of the yearly plans revealed that the number of attainment goals and activities as well as types of assessment and evaluation tools included that emphasized multiculturalism and diversification were insufficient.
Conclusions and Recommendations: In order for teachers to understand the importance and necessity of multicultural education, and for teachers to be able to transfer this into practice in the educational environment itself, the implementation of educational reforms which recognize equal opportunities of learning is a pressing priority. For this reason it is suggested that teachers need to adopt multicultural educational principles and include these in their teaching programs, while the training opportunities available to teachers and academic studies conducted on this topic need to increase.
Keywords: Multiculturalism, Multicultural Education, The opinions of teachers