Perceptions of beginning teachers’ preparation for culturally responsive teaching: Voices from the field
This mixed methods research examined whether graduates from the teacher preparation program at a small college in the mid-west United States were perceived to be prepared to meet the needs of all learners in their classrooms. Study participants were 22 teacher education graduates from 2001-02, 2002-03, and 2003-04, and 11 of their first year supervisors. Data was gathered by way of an on-line survey, from e-mail and telephone interviews, and from teacher education program documents. Data was analyzed through the lens of the four components of a culturally responsive pedagogy; caring, communication, curriculum, and instruction. Teachers from the 2001-02 cohort who had received no training in a culturally responsive pedagogy seemed to be less well prepared to meet the needs of all learners than were teachers from the other two cohorts. Teachers from the 2003-04 cohort whose course requirements included a course in cultural diversity with emphasis on a culturally responsive pedagogy appeared to be better prepared but were also more critical of their own endeavors. Furthermore, perceptions from outside observers indicated that between 2001 when the teacher preparation program curriculum did not include culturally responsive pedagogy and 2004 after the program incorporated it into coursework, the preparation of teachers to meet the diverse needs of all learners had improved. This study, supported by other research, demonstrated that the inclusion of training in the use of a culturally responsive pedagogy in a teacher preparation program can be effective in readying teachers to meet the diverse needs of all learners.
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