Multicultural Education and Newcomer Youth: Re-imagining a More Inclusive Vision for Immigrant and Refugee Students

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In this article, we draw attention to the discourses and practices of multicultural and culturally-relevant education as curricular contexts with long-lasting implications for newcomer youth. To best serve immigrant and refugee students and more explicitly include them in the field’s discourse, we argue for a conceptual move to widen the scope of multicultural education and culturally relevant pedagogy. We highlight the tremendous contributions original multicultural education approaches have made to equitable education, while also examining the ways in which some of their wide-spread theoretical framing and practice might inadvertently marginalize populations they intend to serve, particularly immigrant and refugee youth. We then suggest conceptual shifts to widen their scope to include newcomer youth’s varied experiences and identity positions. These shifts are a) advancing the role of genuine “cross-cultural relationships” over traditional forms of “cross-cultural competence” in multicultural educational spaces and b) abdicating the search for “cultural authenticity” implied in some multicultural education practice in favor of facilitating “cultural agency” for newcomer youth.


Educational Studies



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