Determining the effects of a foundations of education/diversity preparation class on the multicultural knowledge, skills and dispositions of preservice teacher applicants

Christine M Wilson, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The importance of preparing teachers to work in diverse environments has been well established, yet there is little research indicating what methods work to prepare teachers. Many teacher education programs use foundations or multicultural preparation classes to develop the multicultural knowledge, skills, and dispositions of preservice teachers. In this study, a semester-long foundations of education/diversity preparation class of 26 students and one professor was examined; the goal was to determine what methods work to advance multicultural knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Mixed methodology was used. The quantitative aspect consisted of a pre/post test using Roysircar-Sodowsky's (1994) Multicultural Inventory-educator version. The qualitative aspect was grounded in ethnographic methods, and consisted of pre/post surveys, pre/post interviews with the professor, field notes of all class sessions, post class interviews with students, anonymous feedback, and examination of all student work and professor comments. Quantitative data indicated that knowledge and skills advanced significantly; dispositions did not, but had the highest pre/post scores. The open facilitation style of the professor was a key factor in the students' consideration of the controversial material often used in diversity preparation classes. Students overwhelmingly perceived that the service learning component of the class (service in urban schools, discussion, written reflection) had the greatest impact on them as future teachers. These classes can be helpful, but are most effective when reinforced by other theoretical and historical education classes, and classes in multicultural pedagogy.

Recommended Citation

Christine M Wilson, "Determining the effects of a foundations of education/diversity preparation class on the multicultural knowledge, skills and dispositions of preservice teacher applicants" (2006). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3239912.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3239912

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