High Performance Learning: Towards a Theory for Optimising Potential in Multi-cultural Education Contexts

  • Mary M. GrosserEmail author
  • Mirna Nel


Framed within the global philosophy and practice of inclusive education, this chapter aims to explore a theoretical perspective for optimising learning potential in multi-cultural education contexts. Although multi-cultural education is embraced around the world, it appears that only restricted advancements have been made to achieve viable effects. To offer a potential solution for the aforementioned, the chapter firstly elaborates on the conceptualisation of multi-cultural education as the holistic development of potential and critical abilities (skills, attitudes, values, dispositions) of all students (not only marginalized groups) regardless of their differences. Secondly, High Performance Learning (HPL) Theory that builds on the advances of Human Capital Theory, Positive Education, Growth Mind-Set Theory, Neuroscience and Social Constructivist Learning Theory is scrutinised to identify beneficial, practical pathways for achieving higher levels of human potential, and enabling all students to benefit from positive education interventions in multi-cultural contexts.


Inclusive education Multi-cultural education High performance learning theory Positive education Growth mind-set theory 


  1. Ainscow, M. (2014). Struggling for equity in education: The legacy of Salamanca. In F. Kuppis & R. S. Hausstatter (Eds.), Inclusive education: Twenty years after Salamanca (pp. 41–56). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  2. Alismail, H. A. (2016). Multicultural education: Teachers’ perception and preparation. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(11), 139–146.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, J. (2017). The agile learner. Where growth mindset, habits of mind and practice unite. Moorabbin, Victoria: Hawker Brownlow Education.Google Scholar
  4. Artiles, A. J., & Kozleski, E. B. (2007). Beyond convictions: Interrogating culture, history, and power in inclusive education. Language Arts, 84, 351–358.Google Scholar
  5. Artiles, A. J., Kozleski, E. B., Trent, S. C., Osher, D., & Ortiz, A. (2010). A critique of underlying views of culture. Council for Exceptional Children, 76(3), 279–299.Google Scholar
  6. Azorín, C., & Ainscow, M. (2018). Guiding schools on their journey towards inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education.
  7. Banks, J. A. (1988). Approaches to multicultural curriculum reform. Multicultural Leaders, 1, 17–19.Google Scholar
  8. Banks, J. A. (1989). Approaches to multicultural curriculum. Trotter Review, 3(3), 5–33.Google Scholar
  9. Banks, J. A. (1994). Multiethnic education: Theory and practice (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  10. Banks, J. A. (1999). An introduction to multicultural education (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  11. Banks, J. A. (2001). Multicultural education: Characteristics and goals. In J. A. Banks, & McGee Banks (Eds.), Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (pp. 15–30). New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Banks, J. A. (2006). Democracy, diversity and social justice: Educating citizens for the public interest in a global age. In G. Ladson-Billings & W. F. Tate (Eds.), Education research in the public interest: Social justice, action and policy (pp. 141–157). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  13. Banks, J. A. (2008). An introduction to multicultural education. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  14. Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. M. (1993). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  15. Banks, J., Cochran-Smith, M., Moll, L., Richers, A., Zeichner, K., LePage, P., et al. (2005). Teaching diverse learners. In L. Darling-Hammond & J. Bransford (Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and able to do (pp. 232–274). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  16. Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, K. L., & Garbinsky, E. M. (2013). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(6), 505–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Berninger, V., & Richards, R. (2002). Brain literacy for teachers and psychologists. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  18. Beaumie, K. (2008). Social constructivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching and technology (pp. 55–61). Accessed July 30, 2018.
  19. Black-Hawkins, K., & Florian, L. (2012). Classroom teachers’ craft knowledge of their inclusive practice. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 18(5), 567–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Boaler, J. (2013). Ability and Mathematics: The mindset revolution that is reshaping education. Forum, 55(1), 143–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. J. (2012). Scaffolding self-regulated learning in young children. Lessons from tools of the mind. In R. C. Pianta, W. S. Barnett, L. M. Justice, & S. M. Sheridan (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood education (pp. 352–369). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  22. Booth, T. (2011). The Name of the Rose: Inclusive values into action in teacher education. Prospects, 41, 303–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Borkar, V. N. (2016). Positive school climate and positive education: Impact on students well-being. Indian Journal of Health and Wellbeing, 7(8), 861.Google Scholar
  24. Campbell-Barr, V., & Nygård, M. (2014). Losing sight of the child? Human capital theory and its role for early childhood education and care policies in Finland and England since the mid-1990s. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 15(4), 346–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Cefai, C., Bartolo, P. A., Cavioni, V., & Downes, P. (2018). Strengthening social and emotional education as a core curricular area across the EU. A review of the international evidence, NESET II report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  26. Comer, J. P., & Haynes, N. M. (1991). Parent involvement in schools: An ecological approach. The Elementary School Journal, 91(3), 271–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (2009). Describing the Habits of Mind. In A. L. Costa & B. Kallick (Eds.), Learning and leading with habits of mind. 16 essential characteristics for success (pp. 15–41). Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.Google Scholar
  28. Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn. A blueprint for creating schools that work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  29. De Bono, E. (1992). Teach your child how to think. London: Viking.Google Scholar
  30. Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science, 333(6045), 959–964.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Dimitropoulou, C., & Leontopoulou, S. (2017). A positive psychological intervention to promote well-being in a multi-cultural setting in Greece. The European Journal of Counselling Psychology, 6(1), 113–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Doidge, N. (2007). The brain that changes itself: Stories of personal triumph from the frontiers brain science. New-York: Viking.Google Scholar
  33. Drummond, M. J., Hart, S., & Swann, M. (2013). An alternative approach to school development: The children are the evidence. Forum, 55(1), 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Duhon, G., Mundy, M., Leder, S., LeBert, L., & Ameny-Dixon, G. (2002). Addressing racism in the classroom: Using a case studies approach. Conference and programme proceedings of the National Conference on multi-cultural affairs in higher education, San Antonio, TX.Google Scholar
  35. Dweck, C. (2006). Mind-set. How we can learn how to fulfil our potential. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  36. Engelbrecht, P., Nel, M., Smit, S., & Van Deventer, M. (2016). The idealism of education policies and the realities in schools: The implementation of inclusive education in South Africa. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 20(5), 520–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Engelbrecht, P., Savolainen, H., Nel, M., Koskela, T., & Okkolin, M.-A. (2017). Making meaning of inclusive education: Classroom practices in Finnish and South African classrooms. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 47(5), 684–702.Google Scholar
  38. Engelbrecht, P., & Green, L. (2018). Introducing key strategies in response to the challenges of inclusive education. In P. Engelbrecht & L. Green (Eds.), Responding to the challenges of inclusive education in Southern Africa (pp. 109–116). Pretoria: Van Schaik.Google Scholar
  39. Ericsson, K. A. (2006). The influence of experience and deliberate practice on the development of superior expert performance. In K. A. Ericsson, N. Charness, R. R. Hofman, & P. J. Feltovich (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp. 627–706). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ericsson, K. A., Roring, R. W., & Nandagopal, K. (2007). Misunderstandings, agreements and disagreements: Towards a cumulative science of reproducibly superior aspects of giftedness. High Ability Studies, 18(1), 97–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Eyre, D. M. (2011). Room at the top. Inclusive education for high performance. London: Policy Exchange.Google Scholar
  43. Eyre, D. M. (2016). High performance learning. How to become a world-class school. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Fischer, R. (1998). Thinking about thinking: Developing metacognition in children. Early Child Development and Care, 141, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Fletcher, A. K. (2018). Help seeking: Agentic learners initiating feedback. Educational Review, 70(4), 389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Florian, L. (2014). What counts as evidence of inclusive education? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 29(3), 286–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Florian, L., & Linklater, H. (2010). Preparing teachers for inclusive education: Using inclusive pedagogy to enhance teaching and learning for all. Cambridge journal of education, 40(4), 369–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Folsom, C. (2005). Exploring a new pedagogy: Teaching for intellectual and emotional learning (TIEL). Issues in Teacher Education, 14(2), 75–94.Google Scholar
  49. Frederickson, B. L. (2004). The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Philosophical Transactions—Royal Society of London Series B. Biological Sciences, 1449, 1367–1378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Frederickson, B. L., & Losada, M. F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), 678–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Gay, G. (1994). Educational equality for students of color. In J. A. Banks & McGee Banks (Eds.), Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (pp. 195–225). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  52. Gorski, P. (2006). The unintentional undermining of multicultural education. Educators at the equity crossroads. In J. Landsman & C. W. Lewis (Eds.), White teachers/diverse classrooms: A guide to building inclusive schools, promoting high expectations, and eliminating racism (pp. 61–78). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.Google Scholar
  53. Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (2015). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Harmony Books.Google Scholar
  54. Green, L., & Murris, K. (2014). Philosophy for children. In L. Green (Ed.), Schools as thinking communities (pp. 121–139). Pretoria: Van Schaik.Google Scholar
  55. Gristy, C. (2012). The central importance of peer relationships for student engagement and well-being in a rural secondary school. Pastoral Care in Education, 30(3), 225–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Grosser, M. M. (2018). Cooperative learning in the life orientation classroom. In M. Nel (Ed.), Life orientation for South African teachers (pp. 19–45). Pretoria: Van Schaik.Google Scholar
  57. Haimovitz, K., & Dweck, C. S. (2016). What predicts children’s fixed and growth intelligence mind-sets? Not their parents’ views of intelligence but their parents’ views of failure. Psychological Science, 27(6), 859–869.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  58. Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Hasan, J. (2012). Multicultural education and the treatment of others in schoolbooks. Procedia—Social and Behavioral Sciences, 47, 2207–2211.Google Scholar
  60. Hill, L. (2000). What does it take to change minds? Intellectual development of preservice teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 51(1), 50–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Hilt, L. T. (2015). Included as excluded and excluded as included: Minority language pupils in Norwegian inclusion policy. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(2), 165–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and how do learners learn? Educational Psychology Review, 16(3), 235. Accessed July 31, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Hoadley, U. (2013). What do we know about teaching and learning in South African primary schools? Education as Change, 16(20), 187–202.Google Scholar
  64. Hue, M.-T., & Kennedy, K. J. (2012). Creation of culturally responsive classrooms: Teachers’ conceptualization of a new rationale for cultural responsiveness and management of diversity in Hong Kong secondary schools. Intercultural Education, 23(2), 119–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Hyerle, D. N. (2014). Thinking Maps. In L. Green (Ed.), Schools as thinking communities (pp. 161–178). Pretoria: Van Schaik.Google Scholar
  66. Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the brain in mind (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.Google Scholar
  67. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, F. P. (2006). Joining together: Group theory and group skills (8th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  68. Jonides, J., Jaeggi, S. M., Buschkuehl, M., & Shah, P. (2012). Building better brains. Scientific American Mind, 23(4), 59–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Kanevsky, L., & Keighley, T. (2003). On gifted students in school: To produce or not to produce? Understanding boredom and the honor in underachievement. Roeper Review, 26(1), 20–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Keely, B. (2007). How what you know shapes your life. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).Google Scholar
  71. Kessler, R. (2000). The soul of education: Helping students find connection, compassion, and character at school. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.Google Scholar
  72. Killen, R. (2015). Teaching strategies for quality teaching and learning (2nd ed.). Cape Town: Juta.Google Scholar
  73. Kozleski, E. B., & Choi, J. H. (2018). Leadership for equity and inclusivity in schools: The cultural work of inclusive schools. Inclusion, 6(1), 33–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Kozleski, E. B., & Waitoller, F. R. (2010). Teacher learning for inclusive education: Understanding teaching as a cultural and political practice. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(7), 655–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Kvande, M. N., Belsky, J., & Wichstrøm, L. (2018). Selection for special education services: The role of gender and socio-economic status. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 33(4), 510–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Lipman, M. (1988). Philosophy goes to school. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Lin-Siegler, X., Dweck, C. S., & Cohen, G. L. (2016). Instructional interventions that motivate classroom learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(3), 295–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Lonka, K. (2018). Phenomenal learning from Finland. Helsinki: Edita.Google Scholar
  79. Loukia, N. (2006). Teaching young learners through stories. The development of a handy parallel syllabus. The reading matrix, 6(1), 25–40.Google Scholar
  80. Lowenthal, P., & Muth, R. (2008). Constructivism. In E. F. Provenzo Jr. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the social and cultural foundations of education (pp. 177–179). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  81. Mapuranga, B., & Bukaliya, R. (2014). Multiculturalism in schools: An appreciation from the teachers’ perspective of multicultural education in the Zimbabwean school system. International Journal of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, 1(2), 30–40.Google Scholar
  82. McGonigal, K. (2005). Teaching for transformation: From learning theory to teaching strategies. Accessed July 30, 2018.
  83. McGrath, H., & Noble, T. (2011). BOUNCE BACK! A well-being and resilience program. Lower primary K-2; middle primary: Yrs 3–4; upper primary/junior secondary: Yrs 5–8. Melbourne: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  84. Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: theory into practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 74, 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Mostafazadeh, E., Keshtiaray, N., & Ghulizadeh, A. (2015). Analysis of multicultural education concept in order to explain its components. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
  86. Nel, M. (2018). Inclusive education: The global movement. In I. Eloff & E. Swart (Eds.), Understanding educational psychology (pp. 256–262). Pretoria: JUTA.Google Scholar
  87. Niedenfuer, J. D. (2015). The overrepresentation of African American students in special education: A Review of the Literature (p. 3). Paper: Culminating projects in Special Education.Google Scholar
  88. Niemic, C. D., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Autonomy, competence and relatedness in the classroom. Applying self-determination theory to educational practice. Theory and Research in Education, 7(3), 133–144.Google Scholar
  89. Noble, T., & McGrath, H. (2008). The positive educational practices framework: A tool for facilitating the work of educational psychologists in promoting pupil wellbeing. Educational and Child Psychology, 25(2), 119–134.Google Scholar
  90. Noble, T., & McGrath, H. (2015). PROSPER: A new framework for positive education, Psychology of Well-being, 5(2). Accessed July 27, 2018.
  91. Olaniyan, D. A., & Okemakinde, T. (2008). Human capital theory: Implications for educational development. Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, 5(5), 479–483.Google Scholar
  92. Olsen, G., & Fuller, M. L. (2008). Home-school relations. Working successfully with parents and families (3rd ed.). University of Virginia: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  93. Perveen, S. (2014). Study of the effectiveness of multicultural education on the attitude towards national integration of high school students. I-Managers Journal on Educational Psychology, 8(2), 25–30.Google Scholar
  94. Reich, R. (2002). Bridging liberalism and multiculturalism in American education. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  95. Ryan, T., & Henderson, M. (2018). Feeling feedback: Students’ emotional responses to educator feedback. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(6), 880–892.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Sankey, M., Birch, D., & Gardiner, M. (2010) Engaging students through multimodal learning environments: the journey continues. ASCILITE 2010: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education: Curriculum, Technology and Transformation for an Unknown Future, 5–8 Dec 2010, Sydney, Australia.Google Scholar
  97. Schraw, G., & Olafson, L. (2003). Teachers’ epistemological world views and educational practices. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 3(1), 178–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  99. Seligman, M. (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Atria Books.Google Scholar
  100. Sleeter, C. (2005). Preparing teachers for culturally diverse schools: Research on the overwhelming presence of whiteness. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(2), 94–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Starmans, C., Sheskin, M., & Bloom, P. (2017). Why people prefer unequal societies. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(82), 1–7.Google Scholar
  102. Steger, M. F., Kashdan, T. B., Sullivan, B. A., & Lorentz, D. (2008). Understanding the search for meaning in life: Personality, cognitive style, and the dynamic between seeking and experiencing meaning. Journal of Personality, 76(2), 199–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Sternberg, R. (2005). Intelligence, competence, and expertise. In A. Elliot & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), The handbook of competence and motivation (pp. 15–30). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  104. Stoel, G., Logtenberg, A., Wansink, B., Huijgen, T., Van Boxtel, C., & Van Drie, J. (2017). Measuring epistemological beliefs in history education: An exploration of naïve and nuanced beliefs. International Journal of Education Research, 83, 120–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Sullivan, A. L. (2011). Disproportionality in special education identification and placement of English language learners. Council for Exceptional Children, 77(3), 317–334.Google Scholar
  106. Tugade, M. M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Resilient individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from negative emotional experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(2), 320–333. Scholar
  107. UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education. Adopted by the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality. Salamanca, Spain, 7–10 June. Accessed July 1, 2018.
  108. UNESCO. (2000). Inclusion in education: The participation of disabled learners. Executive summary for World Education Forum. Dakar, Senegal: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  109. UNESCO. (2015a). Education for all. 2000–2015: Achievements and challenges. Paris, France: UNESCO. Accessed July 1, 2018.
  110. UNESCO. (2015b). Fixing the broken promise of education for all. Canada: Montreal.Google Scholar
  111. UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women, & UNHCR. (2015). Education 2030 Incheon Declaration Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. Accessed July 1, 2018.
  112. Van Aswegen, S. L. (2015). Learning how to learn through stories. Design-based metacognitive awareness intervention at the intermediate phase (Unpublished Ph.D.). University of Stellenbosch.Google Scholar
  113. Van de Grift, W. (2007). Quality of teaching in four European countries: A review of the literature and application of an assessment instrument. Educational Research, 49(2), 127–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Van den Berg, M. E. S. (2010). Critical reasoning and the art of argumentation. Pretoria: University of South Africa.Google Scholar
  115. Vavrus, M. (2010). Critical multiculturalism and higher education: Resistance and possibilities within teacher education. In S. May & C. E. Sleeter (Eds.), Critical multiculturalism: Theory and praxis (pp. 19–31). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  116. Voerman, L., Korthagen, F. J., Meijer, P. C., & Simons, R. J. (2014). Feedback revisited: Adding perspectives based on positive psychology. Implications for theory and classroom practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 43, 91–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Walton, E. (2015). Global concerns and local realities: The “Making Education Inclusive” Conference in Johannesburg. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(3), 173–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. Wegerif, R. (2013). Dialogic education for the internet age. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  119. Wilson, K. (2012). Multicultural education. Southern Illinois: Paul C. Gorski.Google Scholar
  120. Yilmaz, F. (2016). Multiculturalism and multicultural education: A case study of teacher candidates’ perceptions. Cogent Education, 3, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Optentia Research Focus Area, Vaal Triangle Campus, North-West UniversityVanderbijlparkSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations