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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Multicultural clubs in schools: theory and practice Shiu, Daniel Pui-Yin


Despite the voluminous literature on multicultural education in both theory and practice, research on extra-curricular organizations (such as multicultural clubs) that deal with this issue is rare. As a practical outlet for voicing multicultural concerns, multicultural clubs provide a place for students to take social and political action. This qualitative case study examines multicultural clubs in three secondary schools in the Surrey school district, each unique in its stage of development. Interviews took place during the 1996-97 school year in which one sponsor teacher from each school and seven student members in total participated. The ideas presented in this thesis stem from these interviews and are categorized in terms of the purposes, approaches, activities, and challenges of the three multicultural clubs. The purposes and approaches of the multicultural clubs are expansive in scope as social and political issues (such as equality, human rights, and the environment) are also addressed. Although a number of the clubs' activities do not appear to be exphcitly "multicultural", students and sponsor teachers view them as linked through a broad approach to social and political activism In essence, multicultural clubs empower students as they take on leadership roles in decision-making and in delegating and fulfilling responsibilities, regardless of the issue at hand. Although the main concerns expressed in all of the multicultural clubs include their membership survival and handling of controversial social and political issues, each school has its unique challenges. A number of general recommendations grow out of this study: students must have ownership in the planning and management of the organization; students must believe that the club functions as a forum for social and political activism where they may freely express and initiate their plans; activities based on a particular theme rather than on random spontaneity are more useful and focused in their implementation; support from the school's administrators, staff members, and students is needed; clubs need to set realistic goals; club members continually need to educate themselves through attending workshops and conferences; and time is needed for multicultural clubs to grow, reflect, review, reevaluate, and transform

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