The Ethnocultural Preparation of Teachers

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Title The Ethnocultural Preparation of Teachers
Author(s) J. Timothy Goddard
Date 1995
Abstract This paper presentes the preliminary findings from a doctoral research on the ethnocultural preparation of teachers in western Canada. This three-stage study explored what steps, if any, are taken to prepare teachers so that they might be successful educators of ethnoculturally diverse student populations. Data were collected from 450 teachers working in 3 distinct sociogeographic environments in western Canada, including urban, rural, and isolated areas. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies was used, combining positivistic and anthropological approaches. Stage 1 involved a survey questionnaire of 150 teachers in each of the 3 settings. Stages 2 and 3 are still in progress; they involve structured telephone interviews with a sample of the respondents and longer, open-ended interviews with three respondents. Preliminary findings suggest that little of the reported literature concerning the preparation of effective teachers for ethnoculturally diverse schools is being implemented, both for preservice and inservice. The majority of respondents received preservice education that they believed did not adequately prepare them for the challenge of teaching in an ethnoculturally diverse classroom. Of the respondents, 39 percent indicated that they teach in linguistically diverse classrooms, almost half teach an ethnoculturally diverse group of students, and 20 percent teach an ethnoculturally homogeneous group of students who are ethnoculturally different from themselves. It is recommended that schools not rely on preservice teacher education to prepare teachers for the diversity that exists in western Canadian schools, but that schools be more proactive in developing and implementing orientation, induction, and other inservice practices on their own. (Contains 28 references.) (NAV)

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