Enhancing teacher preparation: first-year teacher use of culturally relevant pedagogy
While the cultural landscape of society is becoming more diverse, the teaching population continues to remain largely white and female. Teacher preparation programs must prepare future teachers for the diversity with which they will work and training in culturally relevant pedagogy provides teachers with skills necessary for working with diverse student populations. This qualitative case study investigated how two cohorts of students from Bethel College, a small, liberal arts college on the plains of Kansas, implemented the constructs of culturally relevant pedagogy in their classrooms. The constructs investigated included: reflective practice, cultural literacy, building a community of learners, respect for diversity culturally relevant instructional methodology, and high expectations. Six graduates, including elementary and secondary teachers, and their mentors/principals were interviewed. The teachers were additionally observed. All other graduates of the program from the same time frame were invited to participate in an open-ended online survey. The findings indicated that although graduates saw some success in their use of culturally relevant pedagogy, some changes in their teacher education program could enhance graduate effectiveness. One such finding was that “Generation Y” teachers’ views of diversity are different than preceding generations and generational differences must be taken into consideration in teacher training programs.