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The Challenge of Teaching Multiculturalism

April 01, 1993

Mary Laine Yarber's March 11 column, "Education: a Multicultural Approach to Teaching History," is of interest for several reasons. The positive elements include calling the reader's attention to the challenge of teaching history now that we have 5,000 to 7,000 years of the history of mankind to consider. Also the column helps to publicize the growth of multiculturalism as a concern in our educational institutions.

The column, however, failed to recognize what has already been done for decades in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. There are several teachers, past and present, who could be credited with making significant efforts to incorporate a multicultural approach into their teaching of history. Yarber seemed to content herself with using two first-year teachers and a student teacher as her primary sources for input. It is unfortunate that she failed to consult with Lyle Beecher, who has taught world history/geography in junior and senior high school in Santa Monica for more than 20 years, traveled through most of the continents of the world, taken movies and videos during his travels and incorporated his experiences into his classes.

Perhaps in a subsequent column Yarber will be more inclusive and perceptive about what already has been done and what some of the available resources are in the form of teachers already on the job.

GEORGE REEVES

Malibu

Reeves retired last year from his job as a history teacher at Santa Monica High School.

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