10 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Scientific literature claims that a variety of factors, such as years of teaching experience, teachers’ experiences with multicultural courses, teachers’ being subjected to discrimination etc., influence teachers’ beliefs about diversity (Chiner & Cardona-Molto, 2013; Pohan & Aguilar, 2001). Among others, Garmon (2005) identifies six factors and groups them into two types of factors: dispositional factors and factors of experiences.
The dispositional factors are (Garmon, 2005):
- openness: being open to the ideas or arguments of others, and to different types of diversity (e.g. racial, cultural, religious).
- self-awareness/self-reflectiveness: the ability to be aware of one’s own beliefs and attitudes and as the ability and willingness to critically think about oneself.
- commitment to social justice: high concern for achieving equality and equity for everyone.
Based on the literature research done by Garmon (2005) and other researchers (Rice Jordan, 1995; Pohan, 1996) it can be argued, that individuals who demonstrate a lower level of openness are less inclined to change their beliefs and more frequently demonstrate strong biases and negative stereotypes about different groups than individuals who demonstrate higher levels of openness. Moreover, research shows that self-awareness and self-reflectiveness are very important in the field of (multicultural) education (Gay & Kirkland, 2003), mainly because teachers with highly developed self-awareness or self-reflectiveness are aware of their own beliefs and attitudes and can, therefore, relate to issues of diversity more easily (Banks, 2001; Lea, 2004). In addition, teachers should be able to help their students to develop critical thinking about questions of structural inequality and racism (Gay, 2004; Roasen, 2003). However, in order to do so, they themselves should have the ability of critical thinking, and be aware of social justice issues (Garmon, 2005; Mojor & Brock, 2003; Pohan & Mathison, 1998).
Garmon (1996) therefore argues that individuals with a disposition favourable towards diversity (with higher levels of openness, self-awareness/self-reflectiveness and commitment to social justice), who start any multicultural course, were more likely to substantially change their beliefs as opposed to individuals with less favourable disposition, which were more likely to change their beliefs to a lesser degree.
Moreover, there are three factors of experience, identified as predictors of teachers’ beliefs about diversity (Garmon, 2005):
- intercultural experiences, defined as direct contact with individuals from racial/cultural groups, which are different from one’s own.
- educational experiences gained through different courses including intercultural education (courses, field experiences, activities, instructional approaches, instruments etc.).
- support-group experiences: In order for these courses to be successful, a safe environment for the participants should be provided (an environment where they feel safe to share their thoughts and views and where they feel supported).
A research project, which develops a programme that among other things tries to influence teachers’ beliefs about diversity, is HAND in HAND (Kozina et al., 2017). The HAND in HAND program for teachers supports the development of social, emotional and intercultural competencies of all involved parties in the educational process, with the aim of building collaborative and inclusive learning environments, by mainly targeting factors of disposition.
The main research question of the study is, whether factors of disposition predict teachers' beliefs about diversity and to what extent. The study’s objectives therefore are:
- to analyse and compare beliefs about diversity among the teachers sampled in the HAND in HAND pilot survey in Croatia, Slovenia and Sweden,
- identify and construct all three dispositional factors influencing teachers’ beliefs about diversity on the HAND in HAND pilot database and
- analyse their predictive power for the teachers’ beliefs about diversity nationally and internationally.
The teacher sample from the pilot study in the HAND in HAND project, which was conducted in Croatia, Slovenia and Sweden, was used in the analysis. Teachers included in the pilot study were administered pilot HAND in HAND teacher questionnaire consisting of questions on their personal background, their professional background, themselves, their perception of a specific class in their school, their teaching in the target class, and their attitudes. All measured concepts were tested with scales, which were already developed and validated in previous research. For the purpose of this analysis four scales were used: • teachers’ beliefs about diversity: the set of items was slightly adapted (two items were changed in order to fit in the context of all countries included in the project) from the Pohan and Aguilar’s (2001) study on measuring educators’ professional beliefs about diversity, where they developed and validated the scale of professional beliefs about diversity (Pohan & Aguilar, 2001). • openness: the set of five items used were adapted from the “ICU Teacher Tool”, where two items were used to measure adaptability/flexibility and three items were used to measure openness to cultural diversity (Denson, Ovenden, Wright, Paradies, & Priest, 2017). • self-awareness/self-reflectiveness: the set of three items, which measured reflexivity, were adapted from the “ICU Teacher Tool (Denson, Ovenden, Wright, Paradies, & Priest, 2017). • commitment to social justice: items were adapted from the critical consciousness scale, which was developed and validated by Diener, Rapa, Park, and Perry (2017). The two items used for this analysis were used to measure the concept of critical reflection: egalitarianism. • Year(s) working as a teacher in total: control variable in our analysis. We used IBM SPSS Statistics 25 for the statistical analysis of the data. We had several steps in the analysis. Firstly, we computed basic statistical indicators (calculation of sum and arithmetic mean) in order to describe the sample, followed by nternal reliability for item sets and principal components analysis in order to extract factors. We also used linear regression in order to design the regression model with openness, self-awareness/self-reflectiveness, commitment with social justice and year(s) working as a teacher in total as predictors of teachers’ beliefs of diversity.
It is hypothesized that factors of disposition (openness, self-awareness/self-reflectiveness and commitment to social justice) would predict teachers' beliefs about diversity, therefore, we expect that findings should indicate that all of the hypothesized concepts are going to predict teachers’ beliefs about diversity to a certain extent. Meaning, higher levels of openness, self-awareness/self-reflectiveness and commitment to social justice should predict more favourable teachers’ beliefs toward diversity. Moreover, the results among countries included are expected not to differ from one another.
Banks, J. A. (2001). Citizenship education and diversity: Implications for teacher education. Journal of teacher education, 52(1), 5-16. Denson, N., Ovenden, G., Wright, L., Paradies, Y., & Priest, N. (2017). The development and validation of intercultural understanding (ICU) instruments for teachers and students in primary and secondary schools. Intercultural Education, 28, 231–249. Diener, M. A., Rapa, L. J., Park, C. J., & Perry, J. C. (2017). Development and validation of the Critical Consciousness Scale. Youth and Society, 49, 461–483. Garmon, M. A. (1998). Preservice Teachers' Learning about Diversity: The Influence of Their Existing Racial Attitudes and Beliefs. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED425161.pdf Garmon, M. A. (2004). Changing preservice teachers’ attitudes/beliefs about diversity: What are the critical factors?. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(3), 201-213. Garmon, M. A. (2005). Six key factors for changing preservice teachers' attitudes/beliefs about diversity. Educational Studies, 38(3), 275-286. Gay, G. (2010). Acting on beliefs in teacher education for cultural diversity. Journal of teacher education, 61(1-2), 143-152. Gay, G., & Kirkland, K. (2003). Developing cultural critical consciousness and self-reflection in preservice teacher education. Theory into practice, 42(3), 181-187. Kozina, A., Vidmar, M., Saelzer, C., Rasmunson, M., Marušić, I., Jensen, H., Lund Nielsen, B., Vieluf, S., Ojsteršek, A., in Jurko, L. (2017). HAND IN HAND: Social and Emotional Skills for Tolerant and Non-discriminative Societies (A Whole School Approach). Erasmus+ K3 project. Lea, V. (2004). The reflective cultural portfolio: Identifying public cultural scripts in the private voices of white student teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(2), 116-127. Major, E. M., & Brock, C. H. (2003). Fostering positive dispositions toward diversity: Dialogical explorations of a moral dilemma. Teacher Education Quarterly, 30(4), 7-26. Pohan, C. A. (1994). The development and validation of the educators' beliefs about diversity scale (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI9507822/ Pohan, C. A. (1996). Preservice teachers' beliefs about diversity: Uncovering factors leading to multicultural responsiveness. Equity and excellence in education, 29(3), 62-69. Pohan, C. A., & Aguilar, T. E. (2001). Measuring Educators’ Belief about Diversity in Personal and Professional Context. American Educational Research Journal, 38, 159–182. Rice Jordan, M. L. (1995). Reflections on the challenges, possibilities, and perplexities of preparing preservice teachers for culturally diverse classrooms. Journal of Teacher Education, 46(5), 369-374. Rosaen, C. L. (2003). Preparing Teachers for Diverse Classrooms: Creating Public and Private Spaces to Explore Culture through Poetry Writing. Teachers College Record, 105(8), 1437-85.
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