20 SES 12, Global Competence, Multicultural Education and Teachers' Role
This study forms a part of a larger action research which proposes to develop a multicultural teacher education curriculum based on transformative learning theory in order to reflect the teacher candidates’ experiences of perspective transformation from ethnocentrism to intercultural sensitivity. The proposed curriculum aimed to suggest contributions to the training of teachers so that the teacher candidates gain an insight to intercultural sensitivity, become aware of the necessity of competency and skills to reflect the paradigm shift in their educational practices towards a more democratic and inclusive environment. The intended curriculum to equip teacher candidates with above mentioned qualities also adopts a multicultural nature to enable the transformation of teacher candidates. The research takes on the concept of multiculturalism that indicates the ontological existence of minorities of different ethnic, religious, linguistic, sexual backgrounds and the marginalized groups rather than a mere indication of the co-existence of different cultures. Adopting Banks’ (1995) five dimensions of multicultural education; the curriculum development process sought to encompass content integration, knowledge construction, equity pedagogy, prejudice reduction and empowering school culture and social structure as theoretical pillars for multicultural perspective. Extending on the fifth dimension as defined by Banks (1995) that an empowering school culture and social structure calls for a complete transformation of the teaching institutions and community; the research sought to ask for the views of multiple stakeholder groups on how a multicultural curriculum can support students of diverse ethnic, racial, gender and minority groups to experience equality. As a preliminary action, an extensive needs assessment was conducted with various stakeholders to indicate the needs according to which the proposed curriculum could be tailored. The needs assessment was conducted employing data triangulation and among these, interviews were conducted to collect data from teacher candidates, teacher educators, in-service teachers and finally representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs). The current study builds upon the final phase of these interviews which aimed to provide a conducive setting to reflect the views of CSOs to ensure a more democratic process of curriculum development and to further support teacher candidates to take social and civic action to foster democracy and democratic living (Banks, 1995).
Within this context, the study aims to reveal the views of representatives of CSOs based in the northern part of Cyprus with regards to the development of a multicultural curriculum for teacher education. The rationale to seek the answer to the above research question and to include CSOs is to indicate civic priorities, views and concerns and to ensure a community-wide contribution to curriculum development. It is aimed that such involvement of multiple stakeholders will pave the way to integrate various perspectives, opinions and voices from the members of the community to foster collective ownership of educational practices as well as inform and guide further reforms for inclusive learning environments as also prioritized by the EU. These CSOs included any and all relevant organisations that are registered and active in the northern part of Cyprus. Among these were the collective entities that represent specific groups such as teachers’ trade unions, student associations, independent research institutes, foundations and associations that actively work on reducing gender-bias, associations that work on and watch the implementation of human rights, and other entities representing disadvantaged and marginalized communities such as LGBT-Q, refugees, immigrants, individuals with special needs and women.
Consistent with the overall methodology of the broader research, this study employs qualitative paradigm. In order to explore the experiences, concerns, views and perspectives of CSO representatives and further identify the elements deemed necessary to be included in a multicultural teacher education curriculum, interviews are used as data collection instruments. Following an extensive literature review, a pool of questions was formed and further discussed with other teacher educators and researchers and finally a set of specific, objective, open-ended questions, probing questions and alternative questions for a standardized interview form was selected. This set of questions were discussed and re-formulated through a consultation process with a linguist. The interview forms were further refined following a pilot exercise with 8 CSO representatives. The final interview forms consisted of 4 sections and 24 questions. Following a process of stakeholder mapping and selection of the relevant CSOs and contacting their representatives, the interviews were conducted. A total of 21 active CSOs participated in the study. The interviews took an average of one and a half hours and they were recorded with the consent of the representatives. These recordings were further transcribed and analysed through content analysis. As the primary procedure, the codes were identified and then themes were revealed. The validity and reliability were maintained based on Miles and Huberman’s (1994) formula with an agreement ratio of 84% between the two researchers. Following the organisation of the codes and themes, the findings were identified and interpreted. Through recurrent and thorough review and analysis of the data set, the coding process revealed four major themes with various categories and codes.
The findings reveal that the CSO representatives recurrently indicate to urgent reform of curricula through a multicultural lens. In their view, the current national curricula and teacher training programmes lack elements to foster democratic inclusion of all minorities and marginalized groups in the Turkish Cypriot community. The civil society perspective to develop a multicultural teacher education curricula pin down four major priorities; (i) fostering active citizenship of teacher candidates, (ii) revision of textbooks and teaching-learning materials, (iii) emphasis on structured education of democracy, tolerance and human rights and (iv) continuous professional development opportunities for the sustainability of multicultural curricula. The CSO representatives strongly believe that a certain aspect of teacher education curriculum should guide teacher candidates to engage in the civil society activities. Such endeavours for active engagements will enable teacher candidates to realize the needs of the community and further take responsibility to implement actions of change. Volunteer activities within different CSO focal groups will also facilitate prejudice reduction and empower teacher candidates to adopt a more positive attitude towards any minority groups. The CSO representatives agree that this “learning by doing” will have repercussions in the classroom practices of future teachers. Secondly, the CSO representatives believe that the current educational content influence towards a biased view and strongly effect the current mono-cultural, hetero-normative, xenophobic discourse that also prevails in many other societies. Therefore these groups call for a revision of the educational content towards a more inclusive, un-biased and open tone. Thirdly, the CSOs point out to a structured education of democracy, tolerance and human rights throughout the initial teacher training. The CSO representatives also point out to the need of in-service trainings or community-based learning environments as continuous professional development opportunities to ensure the sustainability of multicultural teacher education curriculum.
Banks, J. A. (1995). Multicultural Education: Historical Development, Dimensions, and Practice. In J. A. Banks & C. A. M. Banks (Eds.). Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education (pp. 3-24). New York: Macmillan. Banks, J. A. (2009). Diversity and citizenship education in multicultural nations. Multicultural Education Review, 1(1), 1–28. Banks, J. A. (2009). Multicultural education: characteristics and goals. In J. A. Banks & C. A. Banks (Eds.), Multicultural education issues and perspectives (pp. 1–26). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. Kallioniemi, A., Lalor, J., Misiejuk, D., Zaleskiene, I. (2009). Developing the curriculum with NGO’s, CiCe Guidelines on the Design of Higher Education Courses 8, London, IPSE London Metropolitan University Gorski, P. (2016). Rethinking the role of ‘culture’ in educational equity: from cultural competence to equity literacy. Multicultural Perspectives, 18(4), 221–226. Gorski, P. C. (2009). What we’re teaching teachers: an analysis of multicultural teacher education coursework syllabi. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 309–318. Gorski, P. C., Davis, S. N. & Reiter, A. (2013). An examination of the (in)visibility of sexual orientation, heterosexism, homophobia, and other LGBTQ concerns in U.S. multicultural teacher education coursework. Journal of LGBT Youth, 10(3), 224–248. Grant, C. A., & Lei, J. (2001). Global constructions of multicultural education: theories and realities. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Hall, S. (2000). The multi-cultural question. In B. Hesse (Ed.). Un/settled multiculturalisms: diasporas, entanglements, transruptions (pp. 209–241). London, UK: Zed Books. King, E., & Butler, B. R. (2015). Who cares about diversity? A preliminary investigation of diversity exposure in teacher preparation programs. 17, 46-52. Kymlicka, W. (2010). The rise and fall of multiculturalism? New debates on inclusion and accommodation in diverse societies. International Social Science Journal, 61(199), 97–112. Miles, M. B. & Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Nieto, S. (2004). Affirming diversity: the sociopolitical context of multicultural education (4th ed). New York, NY: Allyn & Bacon Publishers. Nieto, S. & Bode, P. (2008). Affirming diversity: the sociopolitical context of multicultural education. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. Parekh, B. (2000). Rethinking multiculturalism cultural diversity and political theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. Sleeter, C. E. (1996). Multicultural education as social activism. Albany: State University of New York Press. Sleeter, C. E. (2005). Un-standardizing curriculum: Multicultural teaching in the standards-based classroom. New York, NY: Teacher College. Simsek, H. & Yildirim, A. (2006). Sosyal bilimlerde nitel arastirma yontemleri. Ankara, Turkey: Seckin Yayincilik.
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