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ERIC Number: EJ1090541
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Factors Contributing to Preservice Teachers' Beliefs about Diversity
Kahn, Laurie G.; Lindstrom, Lauren; Murray, Christopher
Teacher Education Quarterly, v41 n4 p53-70 Fall 2014
The cultural makeup of educational professionals in the United States does not necessarily represent the students that walk through the front doors of the school each day. The majority of teaching professionals identify as White, female, heterosexual, and middle-class with little to no experience working with diverse populations; thus the cultural values and experiences that teachers bring to the classroom may not match those of the students they are serving. Although the profession is attempting to recruit more diverse educators and school leaders, diversifying the teaching force is not the only answer to meeting the needs of students. Conducting research that examines teachers' beliefs about diversity is a vital step towards developing more culturally competent educators who practice teaching in a way that understands all students to be individuals with valuable knowledge and experiences. Prior research suggests that there are a number of distinct and alterable factors associated with teachers' development of beliefs about diversity. For this study, researchers focused on examining factors that are simultaneously proximal, experiential, and malleable. These factors include: (1) completing multicultural courses in education; (2) having experiences living and working in cross-cultural contexts; (3) experiencing significant cross-cultural relationships; and (4) engaging in critical self-reflection. The purpose of this study was to gain a more comprehensive understanding of factors associated with preservice teachers' personal and professional beliefs about diversity in special and general education teacher preparation programs. Using empirical research in the fields of cultural competence and teacher education, researchers developed a logic model to explore the overall relationship between these factors and preservice teachers' beliefs about diversity. This study examines the component of the logic model related to the relationship between potential influencing factors and preservice educators' beliefs. The factors included in the logic model have been shown to contribute to increased culturally competent beliefs for preservice teachers. Some of the results confirm previous research while others expand on the field's knowledge about preservice teachers and their beliefs about diversity. More specifically, this study indicates that preservice teachers believe that significant cross-cultural relationships are the most significant contributing factor to their cultural competence. Holding this belief was also associated with higher scores on the Personal and Professional Beliefs about Diversity Scale. Researchers also found that the level of self-reflection activities and belief about the importance of self-reflection had the strongest association with the preservice teachers' beliefs about diversity.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A