ERIC Number: EJ994564
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Is Meeting the Diverse Needs of All Students Possible?
Kappa Delta Pi Record, v47 suppl 1 p13-15 2011
For many years, the notion of "diversity" was a code word for talking simply about race and ethnicity. To say one had a diverse class was to say one was not teaching European-American students. Much of the literature, curriculum materials, and instructional practices was geared toward teaching particular groups of students--African Americans, Latinos, immigrant students, second language learners, or students with disabilities. To address the challenge of teaching all students well, one must start with the talent pool from which individuals who will take on this task are drawn. Teacher education has not created a strong pipeline of diverse scholars who can challenge conventional thinking about what it means to teach diverse groups of students. In most teacher education programs, students encounter a scholar of color teaching the "multicultural" or "diversity" course, and sometimes teaching an English as a Second Language (ESL) or bilingual education course. Rarely do they see these scholars as helping them make sense of teaching and learning. Additionally, the very coursework that comprises teacher education fails to take up notions of culture and learning in robust and substantive ways. Instead of a "diversity" course, prospective teachers could benefit from an authentic course on culture--from an anthropological perspective--and how culture impacts learning. Few teacher education programs offer such a course and, when they do, they rarely offer it as a program requirement. So if the teaching force is not diverse, the teacher educators are not diverse, and the coursework does not adequately prepare students to teach a diverse set of students, what can one do? There are ways to address these challenges that provide a sliver of hope.
Descriptors: Teaching Methods, Teacher Education, Racial Relations, Teacher Education Programs, Teacher Educators, Education Courses, Student Diversity, Cultural Awareness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A