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ERIC Number: EJ810649
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Meeting the Challenge of Diversity: Professional Development for Teacher Educators
O'Hara, Susan; Pritchard, Robert H.
Teacher Education Quarterly, v35 n1 p43-61 Win 2008
According to recent demographic data, over 1.5 million English learners (EL) attend public and private schools in California. This number is expected to exceed two million by 2015, thus greatly increasing the number of students in need of language and literacy development in English. The situation is similar in many other states where changing immigration patterns have brought native speakers of other languages to schools in growing numbers. In fact, half of all teachers nationally may expect to have a culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) student in their classroom at some point in their career. Consequently, the provision of English language and subject matter instruction to English learners is one of the most critical challenges confronting teachers and teacher educators today. While the number of English learners enrolled in K-12 schools continues to grow dramatically, only a fraction of those students are in bilingual or ESL classrooms. Thus, the majority of English learners receive most, if not all, of their instruction from regular classroom teachers. Tragically, most teachers in these classrooms have little or no training in the learning needs of CLD students. In response to this disparity, some educators have advocated for increased preparation for mainstream teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. In addition, research studies have investigated the ways in which teacher preparation programs attempt to address this issue. One recurrent suggestion from recent studies is the necessity to provide all teacher candidates with specific content and pedagogical knowledge related to working with CLD populations as well as with multiple opportunities to apply this knowledge to classroom practice. Research results also indicate that successful teacher preparation programs integrate issues of cultural and linguistic diversity into all courses and field experiences, and that methods faculty, university supervisors and cooperating teachers all need to participate meaningfully in this integration process. Thus, a central component of any successful teacher preparation program is faculty regularly modeling best practices with respect to instructional strategies for working with a diverse student population. For this to occur, teacher educators need to engage in ongoing professional development and have ongoing access to appropriate resources and supports. A Call to Action report produced by the Committee for Multicultural Education, a committee of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE, 2002), stressed the need for faculty professional development addressing cultural and linguistic diversity. The need for this training in California has been heightened by state legislation (Senate Bill 2042) that requires many elements related to teaching CLD students to be embedded in all programs leading to a basic teaching credential rather than being a post-credential requirement. This is now known as the English Learner Authorization, and every accredited teacher education program in California must demonstrate that it provides this special preparation within the context of its basic elementary and secondary credential programs. This study reports the results of a professional development program for teacher education faculty at a California State University campus. The program was designed to prepare faculty to offer the new courses developed for its SB2042 credential programs with particular emphasis on standards related to English learners (13), special populations (14) and technology (9). (Contains 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California