07 SES 02 A, Pre-service and Newly Qualified Teachers Addressing Diversity
Achieving democratic and pluralistic education in multicultural societies require competent teachers who can answer the needs of cultural diversity, in other words, culturally responsive teachers (Gay, 2010; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Cultural responsiveness require combining knowledge, skills and developing predispositions to be able teach students with diverse ethnic, linguistic or racial backgrounds; and culturally responsive teachers are subject to high standards and high expectations, which gives teacher education institutions a responsibility (Gay, 2010). However, the number of programs that do not handle teacher education for culturally diverse classroom effectively is still very high (Premier & Miller, 2010; Smith, 2006). As a result, many teachers are challenged by the cultural diversity in their classrooms as they are not trained for it (Brown, 2003).
On the other hand, in the literature, having migration background as a teacher is considered as one of the advantages that can contribute to develop the required cultural responsiveness (Grant & Gillette, 2006; Irvine, 2001; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). As Irvine (2001) explains, teachers who are from non-dominant cultural groups can use their own learning experiences and they can reflect on them to be culturally responsive. Pre-service teachers from non-dominant cultural groups can develop their attitude toward cultural diversity and their cross-cultural competence more easily than pre-service teachers from dominant cultural groups (Haj-Broussard & Henny, 2009).
With this mixed-method study, the aim was twofold; firstly, to see how senior Viennese pre-service teachers assess their preparation for teaching in culturally diverse classrooms. Vienna is a city where teachers are highly likely to teach in a classroom populated with students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Despite long years of immigration to Austria, the inclusion of heterogeneity of cultures, languages or religions in Austrian teacher education curriculum does not date back, though. The modules offered in teacher training colleges mainly have a multilingual perspective such as training pre-service teachers for German as a second language, communication, interaction and linguistic diversity. The other aim of the study was to see how migration background acts in the preparedness of pre-service teachers, hence the self-assessment of pre-service teachers from dominant and non-dominant cultural groups were compared. As Samuels and Bets (2007) argued, self-assessment can show what good practice would be. On the other hand, self-assessment is also an effective way that allows pre-service teachers to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses of their learning process (Hodgson & Pyle, 2010).
As in many other European cities, Vienna has a number of second or third generation immigrants registered in tertiary level education and in the recent years the number of these young immigrants is increasing in teacher education. Such a research conducted in a multicultural capital can be a help to identify pre-service teachers’ cultural responsiveness level and to explore if or how having migration background is an advantage for pre-service teachers and if teacher education programs can benefit from it. The main questions that the study asked were;
- How do pre-service teachers perceive their preparedness level with regard to teaching in culturally diverse classrooms?
- Do pre-service teachers with and without migration background differ in terms of their preparedness level for teaching in culturally diverse classrooms if yes, how?
To answer these questions, the study had a rating scale and three open-ended questions. After a detailed literature review and pilot study, the items included in the scale were a combination of knowledge and pedagogical tact to be culturally responsive. On the other hand, the open-ended questions gave participants space to tell about their perceived strengths and needs for being culturally responsive and about their expectations from their future teaching experiences in culturally diverse classrooms.
Brown, D.,F. (2003) Urban Teachers' Use of Culturally Responsive Management Strategies, Theory Into Practice, 42 (4), 277-282, DOI: 10.1207/s15430421tip4204_3 Frankel, J. K., & Wallen, N. E. (2006). How to design and evaluate research in Education. New York: McGraw Hill. Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Grant, C., & Gillette, M. (2006). Learning to teach everyone’s children. Belmont CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Green, B. S., & Salkind, N. J. (2004). Using SPSS for Windows and Machintosh: Analyzing and understanding data. New Jersey: Pearson-Prentice Hall. Hodgson, C. and Pyle, K. (2010) A Literature Review of Assessment for Learning in Science. Slough: NFER. Haj-Broussard, M., & Henny, R. (2009). Teacher candidate attitudes towards diversity: A pre-post course analysis. McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA: USA Retrieved from : http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED506032&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED506032 Irvine, J.J. (2001). The critical elements of culturally responsive pedagogy: A synthesis of the research. In J. Irvine, B. Armento, V. Causey, J. Jones, R. Frasher, M. Weinburgh (Eds.), Culturally responsive teaching: Lesson planning for elementary and middle grades (pp. 2-17). New York: McGraw-Hill. Lombard, M., Snyder-Duch, J., & Bracken, C.C. (2004). Practical Resources for Assessing and Reporting Intercoder Reliability in Content Analysis Research Projects. School of Media and Communication, Temple University. Retrieved from http://ils.indiana.edu/faculty/hrosenba/www/Research/methods/lombard_reliability.pdf Premier, J.A., & Miller, J. (2010). Preparing Teacher candidates for Multicultural Classrooms Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(2), 35-48. Samuels, M. & Betts, J. (2007), Crossing the threshold from description to deconstruction and reconstruction: using self -assessment to deepen reflection. Reflective Practice, 8 (2), 269-283. Smith, A. (2006). Education for diversity: Investing in systemic change through curriculum, textbooks and teachers. In E. Roberts-Schweitzer, V. Greaney & K. Duer (Eds.), Promoting social cohesion through education (pp. 29-43). Washington DC: The World Bank. Villegas, A.M., & Lucas, T. (2002). Educating culturally responsive teachers. New York: State University of New York Press.
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