Volume 7 (2012), Number 1
Table of Contents
From Accommodating to Using Diversity by Teachers in Switzerland
Abdeljalil Akkari, Colleen Loomis and Stéphanie Bauer
University of Geneva
In this article, we analyze the opinions and stances of Swiss teachers with regard to
cultural diversity. In the first part, we present the theoretical frameworks of our research. In
the second part, we explore data from a questionnaire with students who are in the last step of
their professional training to become teachers. We also present the findings from interviews
with teachers in practice (i.e., those actively teaching in a public school in Geneva). In the
third part, we discuss our findings and explore the current debate on how to better train
teachers for cultural diversity in Switzerland.
Walking a Fine Line: Race and Pedagogy in a Course on Diversity
Kevin G. Basmadjian, Ph.D.
Cheryl Kerison, Ph.D.,
Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut
This study examines how instructor identity shapes pre-service teachers’ opportunities to learn in a course on diversity and multiculturalism. Findings suggest that racial and cultural identity, as well as pedagogy, can influence students’ willingness to participate in class discussions and share beliefs and perspectives on diversity in their writing.
Student Ethnicity, Teacher Ethnicity, and Student Achievement: On the Need for a More Diverse Teacher Workforce
Dr. Jamie Bone
Conroe Independent School District
Dr. John R. Slate
Sam Houston State University
In this article, we examine the empirical literature concerning the demographic characteristics of teachers employed in American public schools, as well as the changing demographic characteristics of student enrollment. Studies in which the importance of teacher diversity was discussed were examined in light of three arguments: (a) Minority teachers serve as role models for minority students; (b) Minority teachers may have a greater opportunity to improve the academic success and positive school experiences of minority students; and (c) The ethnicity of the workforce should be reflective of the population served. Finally, the issue of minority teacher recruitment was addressed.
Keywords: teacher characteristics, student characteristics, teacher diversity
Pre-Service Teacher's Attitudes Toward Teaching Diverse Learners
Doctoral candidate, Liberty University
Director of Children and Family Ministries, Westwood Baptist Church in Cleveland, TN
Dr. Reba Barkley
Dr. Jo Ann Higginbotham
Lee University, Cleveland, TN
Pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards diverse learners can greatly affect student success and achievement in the classroom setting. It is imperative that undergraduate programs provide courses and relevant experiences that prepare their pre-service teachers to interact with and have a positive effect on diverse learners. This preparation can and will change the attitudes of pre-service teachers as they experience first-hand the learning needs of diverse learners along with educational strategies to help these students succeed. This researcher surveyed a group of fifty-seven pre-service teachers from a small private comprehensive university in Southeast Tennessee. The pre-service teachers were enrolled in a teaching diverse learner’s course that incorporated multiple field experiences involving direct interaction with diverse learners. Results showed that participation in the course increased these pre-service teachers’ overall awareness and willingness to work with diverse learners. This information could be a catalyst to help other institutions realize the value of courses aimed at increasing pre-service teachers’ knowledge, attitudes and skills as they relate to diverse learners.
Ready to Return: Focused Goals and Unexpected Challenges of Native American Adults Returning Home to the Reservation after College
Authors Tom Buckmiller
The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perceptions of nine Native American adult students at the University of the Great Plains (UGP), a predominantly White university situated in the Northern Great Plains of the United States. Using a theoretical framework sensitive to the Native concepts of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, data were collected primarily through in-depth, semi-structured interviews and analyzed according to qualitative procedures of analysis, methods of reflection, and writing. The findings of this study suggest how Native adult learners construct the educational goals they bring to the university and the various challenges they faced upon returning to the reservation. This research brings awareness to the challenges faced by Native American adult students with hopes of prompting educational and political strategies, interventions, and pedagogies that promote tribal sovereignty and self-determination. The findings could compel a greater understanding of Native issues in rural communities by examining how students construct educational goals and paying attention to barriers and challenges that they face upon their return home.
Tracing the Evolution of Critical and Reflective Thinking about Race and Culture among Pre-service Teachers through On-line Discussions
Authors Beth Morton Christian, Ed.D.
Tennessee State University
Cassie Zippay, Ed.D.
Western Kentucky University
This qualitative study investigated pre-service teachers’ online threaded discussions as they related to personal beliefs about racial and cultural differences, personal experiences with regard to interracial conflict, as well as course readings about racial, cultural, and linguistic differences in classrooms and in societies. Online threaded discussions were analyzed to explore the evolution of critical and reflective thinking for two particular target students during the semester-long course. The findings suggest that deliberate and systematic reflections and discussions about race and issues of classroom diversity in a web-based forum yield a considerable amount of change in teachers’ beliefs about race, language, and diversity.
Keywords: Race, culture, language, Pre-service teachers, web-based forum
Critical Field and Life Experience for Preservice Bilingual Educators at a Primarily White Institution
Pauline Clardy, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Skinner, Ph.D. Illinois State University
Given the current student demographics in schools throughout the country, colleges of education have the responsibility to prepare culturally responsive teachers. This is especially true in bilingual education programs at primarily white institutions (PWI). This paper describes the efforts of one bilingual education program, situated within a PWI, to prepare students to become culturally responsive teachers through two study abroad programs in Mexico. The paper identifies important characteristics of culturally responsive teachers and then goes on to describe the two study abroad programs and discuss student outcomes.
Key Words: Bilingual education, Culturally responsive teaching, Primarily white institution (PWI), Diversity in education, Multiculturalism, English Language Learners
How Popular Culture Impacts Transescents’ Perception and Understanding of Science
Geary Don Crofford
Dean of Academics
Sequoyah Schools, Tahlequah OK
This paper is a review of the literature concerning how and/or if various elements of popular culture impact middle-year students’ perception and understanding of science. Movies, television, the internet, and other facets of modern life are examined as to their potential effect on students. Methods by which these and other media may be used to enhance students’ understanding and interest in science and science concepts are also explored. Gender, diversity, and history of science issues as they pertain to this topic are also addressed. Higher Education and Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Way Forward
Anthony Kudjo Donkor, Ed.D.
University of Kentucky
This paper acknowledges the growing diverse student population in the United States and the need for active teaching and learning models in our colleges. Many of the research materials discussed in this paper support the assumption that students’ cultural backgrounds influence if not dictate how students learn. Culturally responsive teaching has been observed as the missing pedagogical link in most colleges in the United States. This paper examines some culturally responsive teaching methods and suggestions that will enhance the teaching of culturally diverse students in our colleges across the United States. In reviewing many research articles on culturally responsive teaching, the author noticed a definite gap between college faculty
members and elementary school teachers in the area of culturally responsive teaching. At the college level, the preparation of pre-service student teachers in multicultural education appears to represent virtually the only effort colleges make to address cultural issues pedagogically.
Keywords: Culturally responsive teaching, multicultural education, diverse students, faculty
members, student learning.
Talking About Texts: Examining the Role of Interventions in Preservice Teachers’ Discussions of Young Adult Multicultural Literature
Anne DeGroot, Ed.D.
School of Social Science and Human Services
Ramapo College of New Jersey
This study examined the role of interventions in preservice teachers’ discussions of multicultural books. Participants read four multicultural books and participated in discussions with and without interventions. Data consisted of transcribed responses to prompts, written in-role writing responses, transcribed audiotapes, students’ journals, and field notes. Episodes were coded for personal response, response to pedagogy, response to text elements, response to characters, and response to cultural themes. In episodes featuring response to characters or cultural themes, preservice teachers’ stances were examined for exhibition of empathy or resistance.
Results indicate that the interventions did influence the nature of the discussions and suggest that the nature of the episodes, the nature of the texts, and participants’ backgrounds also impacted the discussions.
Keywords: Multicultural literature, discussions, preservice teachers, diversity
It’s Not Just the Language: Culture as an Essential Element in Pre-service Teacher Education
Authors Linda S. Evans and AnnMarie Alberton Gunn
University of South Florida
We’re not even two weeks into this course, and already I feel that the readings are speaking directly to me: to my prejudice, my (unadmitted) racism, my unresolved feelings about foreigners in my country, and all of the sentiments I hold dear about what it means to be American, and what those who are not native to this country “should” be doing to fit in. I am one of those people who have thought, if not actually said, that once they are in the United States, they need to speak English. So, now, I am ashamed that I have been so closed to the real experiences and fears that families confront when in a strange land where [knowledge of] the language, customs, traditions, and social expectations are so different, yet so necessary… (personal communication, May 20, 2009).
Motivation in Second Language Learning
Authors Scott D. Farver
Indian Hills Elementary School
The author, a teacher in a rural northwestern New Mexico elementary school, examines the research behind motivation as it applies to second language acquisition. Using research from seminal experts such as Robert Gardner, the author examines the problems associated with defining and categorizing motivation in second language acquisition, and concludes with ideas of how he is able to motivate students in his own classroom using his prior experience with second language acquisition and motivation.
Key Words: second language acquisition, motivation, language learning, instrumental learning, integrative learning
The Failed Project of Multiculturalism: The Case of Turkish Immigrants and / in German Education
M. Kate Gaebel Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Research Associate
Educational Policy and Leadership
Ohio State University
Recently, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel told members of her party, the Christian Democratic Union, that attempts at multiculturalism (multikulti) in Germany have "failed, utterly failed" (Clark, 2010, ¶ 1). This paper contends that multikulti is a failed project in Germany because the nation's definition of citizenship, based on ancestry and coupled with the construction of ‘Germanness', had a priori created an identity of a German nation that excludes all cultural differences. By framing the issues of German culture, Turkish immigration, and educational policies pertaining to the collapse of Germany's multicultural project in an historical context, this paper aims to draw parallels to the contemporary problems of immigration and education while also highlighting the connections between structural elements which may result in the invisibility of Turkish students and the failed project of multikulti in German education.