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Title:Assessing dispositions toward cultural diversity among preservice teachers
Author:Dee, J. R., & Henkin, A. B.
Resource Type:Journal Article
Urban Education, 37(1)

pp. 22-40
ERIC #:EJ660345 (click to view this publication's record on the ERIC Web site)
Education Level:Post-Secondary
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

This study assesses preservice teachersÕ attitudes toward cultural diversity prior to their entry into multicultural education courses at an urban university. The researchers concluded that Òteacher education interventions designed to help individuals acquire the appropriate understandings and skills needed to work effectively with diverse student populations may not have significant impact unless teachers are willing to explore beyond the familiar comfort zone of the cultural status quo. They must be disposed to confronting and dealing with the ambiguities and psychological risks associated with learning about their own culture and those of others.Ó The sample included 150 students in a teacher education program who were about to enter the multicultural education sequence at a large, urban, public university. Researchers defined cultural diversity as Òperceived deviations from White, middle-class, monolingual backgrounds. Surveys were distributed and completed during the first session of the first course in the teacher education programÕs multicultural education sequence. The study implies that the collection of data on dispositions and practices related to teaching for diversity should be a part of every teacher education programÕs assessment process. Researchers did not use random sampling or comparison grouping, but the study points out that Òno single approach to teaching for diversity has yielded outcomes with convincing evidence of enduring impact on teachers and instructional practicesÓ (Melnick & Zeichner, 1995).

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