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ERIC Number: EJ1090328
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Preservice Teachers' Perceived Beliefs towards English Language Learners: Can a Single Course Change Attitudes?
Kolano, Lan Quach; King, Elena T.
Issues in Teacher Education, v24 n2 p3-21 Fall 2015
Recent immigration trends at the national and local levels indicate that schools are receiving the largest influx of immigrant students since the beginning of the 20th century. According to the U.S. Department of Education (2014), English language learners (ELLs) accounted for nearly 4.4 million students during the 2011-2012 school year. These students often enter schools and classrooms with teachers who feel underprepared to meet their complex needs. Literature suggests that preservice teachers' backgrounds often affect the degree to which prospective teachers support multicultural education and the degree to which they wish to explore social inequalities. Given the need to better prepare preservice teachers for the diverse classroom, the purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes of undergraduate teacher education candidates after one required multicultural course that focused on the educational experiences of ELLs. Qualitative data were collected in the form of student narratives in order to explore the ways that these undergraduate students' beliefs evolved over one semester. The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) Which course activities contributed most to the perceived changes of undergraduate preservice teacher beliefs toward English Language Learners?; and (2) How did teacher education candidates' perceived beliefs toward ELLs evolve? This study indicated that most of the teachers in this course were able to narrate their perceived shifts in thinking about ELLs through a thoughtful course design including a semester-long clinical experience working with ELLs. This research adds to the larger discourse on exactly what can be done to develop teachers' beliefs, and to what extent a single semester of reflective coursework can be successful.
Descriptors: Teacher Attitudes, Preservice Teachers, English Language Learners, Immigrants, Beliefs, Multicultural Education, Student Diversity, Teacher Education, Personal Narratives, Undergraduate Students, Student Attitudes, Higher Education, Teacher Education Programs, Population Trends
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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