Increasing Preservice Teachers' Support of Multicultural Education

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Southern Queensland]On: 04 October 2014, At: 02:35Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Multicultural PerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>Increasing Preservice Teachers' Support of MulticulturalEducationPamela M. Owen aa Mount Vernon Nazarene University ,Published online: 18 Mar 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Pamela M. Owen (2010) Increasing Preservice Teachers' Support of Multicultural Education, MulticulturalPerspectives, 12:1, 18-25, DOI: 10.1080/15210961003641310</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Multicultural Perspectives, 12(1), 1825Copyright C 2010 by the National Association for Multicultural EducationISSN: 1521-0960 print / 1532-7892DOI: 10.1080/15210961003641310</p><p>Increasing Preservice Teachers Support of Multicultural Education</p><p>Pamela M. OwenMount Vernon Nazarene University</p><p>The purpose of this mixed-methods study wasto build candidate knowledge utilizing Katz andChards Project Approach (1989) promoting move-ment across Nietos (2000) levels of support formulticultural education. Three major preliminarysteps advancing multicultural sensitivity and teach-ing practice were identified as foundational forthe future development of pre-service teachersmulticultural understandings.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>This study examined the influence of the Project Ap-proach (Katz &amp; Chard, 1989) on candidates developmentof knowledge, skills, and dispositions toward teachingmulticultural education. The purpose of the study was tobuild candidate knowledge about diversity, and stimulateadvancement across Nietos levels of support for mul-ticultural education (2000), thus laying the foundationfor future development of a strong multicultural teachingskill set.</p><p>Social equity, justice, and democracy for all studentsare goals that are often overlooked, minimized, orresisted. It is essential for educators in teacher educationprograms to acknowledge, and respond to, the barriersfrustrating the move toward teaching for a pluralisticsociety in our global world.</p><p>The Problem of InexperienceListening toTeacher Candidates</p><p>While teaching European American sophomores(herein referred to as candidates) at a small Midwesternuniversity, I found the teacher candidates to be inex-perienced in their understanding of what it means tovalue diversity and teach for equity. Some had little or</p><p>Correspondence should be sent to Pamela M. Owen, Mount VernonNazarene University, 800 Martinsburg Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050.E-mail:</p><p>no understanding of their need to see the world fromanother perspective. For example, when we discussedWhite privilege (McIntosh, 1988) many did not believeit currently existed; or they took a defensive positionexplaining why it existed. Of those who did believe it,most thought they had no power to change the situation,or believed egalitarianism was not their responsibility.The clear challenge was to confront their erroneous stanceand provoke a respectful response toward diversity.</p><p>Candidates in this study conveyed strong, preconceivedideas and were often unaware of their biases. Declarationswere made stating they were unbiased; neverthelessthey verbalized cliches and made stereotypical ordiscriminatory comments. These comments occurredbefore completing the project work.</p><p>The Problem Defining MulticulturalEducation</p><p>These candidates defined multicultural educationalmost exclusively with a focus on cultures other thantheir own, revealing failure to perceive that they too hada culture. Candidates believed effective multiculturaleducation was teaching about other countries andcelebrating a variety of holidays. They defined fairnessand equity as treating all children the same; to some,being colorblind was valuing diversity.</p><p>Derman-Sparks (1989) identified the dangers ofaccepting such definitions of multicultural education.When using only superficial features such as holidays,food, and clothing to discover the value of variouscultures, one risks defaulting to what Derman-Sparkscalled tourism curriculum.</p><p>Tourist curriculum is both patronizing, emphasizingthe exotic differences between cultures, and trivializing,dealing not with the real-life daily problems andexperiences of different peoples, but with surface aspectsof their celebrations and modes of entertainment. Childrenvisit non-White cultures and then go home to thedaily classroom, which reflects only the dominant culture(Derman-Sparks, 1989, p.7)</p><p>The Official Journal of the National Association for Multicultural Education</p><p>18</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f So</p><p>uthe</p><p>rn Q</p><p>ueen</p><p>slan</p><p>d] a</p><p>t 02:</p><p>35 0</p><p>4 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Other researchers (Bennett, 2001; Nieto, 2000) alsorejected similar definitions of multicultural education.Multicultural education goes beyond tourism to challengeand reject all forms of discrimination. Learning aboutculture should daily permeate the curriculum in thenatural context of the school community. Multiculturaleducation is a life-style which promotes an inclusivecitizenship in a changing America (Banks, 2007).Byrnes (2005) supports the infusion of multiculturaleducation throughout the daily curriculum. No matterhow homogeneous or assimilated ones students are,a teacher has a responsibility to teach children aboutthe perspectives of minority ethnic and racial groups aswell as the dominant group (p.10). It could be arguedthat the more homogenous a group, the more they needmulticultural education.</p><p>Candidates in this study needed to not only enrichtheir definition of multicultural education, they neededto develop skill sets enabling them to meet profes-sional teaching standards. Many organizations outlineexpectations for multicultural teaching through specificstandards. The National Council for the Accreditation ofTeacher Education is one such organization. Embedded inall five standards established by the National Associationfor the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) areexpectations for knowing, understanding, and supportingdiversity (Bredekamp &amp; Copple, 1997).</p><p>Candidates were expected to begin meeting theseprofessional education standards and teaching in diversesettings as early as their junior year. They would notmeet expectations if they maintained their preconceivedattitudes. The development of living a life-style thatnaturally infused the goals of multicultural educationinto the classroom culture was critical for their teachingsuccess, and the success of their future students.</p><p>The Need for Curriculum Transformation ina Stand-Alone Course</p><p>It was assumed the Project Approach would be assuccessful with university students as it is with the youngchildren for whom it was designed. Candidates wouldbegin their investigation at individual developmental lev-els, building on prior knowledge. Candidates would learnabout aspects of multicultural education that interestedthem thus promoting ownership of the study. Throughthis ownership they would potentially discover the flawsin their thinking while deepening their understanding.Respect for other cultures would increase, and candidateswould undergo a positive perceptual change.</p><p>The expectation was that candidates progress towardthe practice of teaching well would be more effectiveif it occurred through self-discovery instead of directinstruction. Teaching well . . . means making sure</p><p>that students achieve, develop a positive sense ofthemselves, and develop a commitment to larger socialand community concerns (Ladson-Billings, 2001, p.16).Previously, lectures and discussions had not generatedperceptible movement toward teaching well. A differentteaching approach was needed. I decided on the ProjectApproach (Katz &amp; Chard, 1989).</p><p>Theoretical Framework</p><p>The Project Approach (Katz &amp; Chard, 1989) is studentresearch grounded in constructivist theory (Henniger,2009) enabling teachers to lead students through in-depthstudies of authentic and meaningful topics. Fosnot (1989)defines constructivism as . . . the belief that knowledgeis constructed in the process of reflection, inquiry, andaction, by learners themselves, and thus must be seenas temporary, developmental, and nonobjective (p. 21).Candidates themselves investigate, question, and probein order to evaluate and reflect on the topic of study.</p><p>Chard (2005) described projects as having an essential,but flexible structural framework with features thatcharacterize the teaching-learning interaction. Whenteachers implement the Project Approach successfully,students can be highly motivated, feel actively involved intheir own learning, and produce work of high quality. TheProject Approach was the method selected to integrate thetopic of diversity in an early childhood curriculum coursenot specifically meant for the teaching of multiculturaleducation.</p><p>Nietos (2000) levels of support for multiculturaleducation were used as a framework for data collectionand analysis. Nieto identified four levels of support: tol-erance, acceptance, respect, and affirmation (see Table 1).These levels are in stark contrast to a monoculturalperspective.</p><p>The tolerance level, as defined by Nieto, is a low levelof support for multicultural education and diversity.</p><p>To tolerate differences means to endure them, althoughnot necessarily to embrace them. . . . Programs that do notbuild on but rather replace differences might be in place,for example, English as a second language program.Black History Month might be commemorated with anassembly program and a bulletin board. The life-stylesand values of students families, if different from themajority, may be considered as requiring understandingbut not modification. (Nieto, p. 354).</p><p>Accommodations are often seen as tiresome and arefrequently motivated by compliance with school policy.</p><p>Acceptance, reflects more delight in differences.Children use their native language, transitional bilingualprograms are in place, and differences are celebratedthrough multicultural fairs or similar events. Teachersunderstand the value of the home culture and its role</p><p>Multicultural Perspectives Vol. 12, No. 1</p><p>19</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f So</p><p>uthe</p><p>rn Q</p><p>ueen</p><p>slan</p><p>d] a</p><p>t 02:</p><p>35 0</p><p>4 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Table 1. Nieto: Levels of support for multicultural education</p><p>Tolerance Indicators:Endure differencesReplace differencesESL programsSome important information is givenIsolated celebrationsBlack History MonthCinco de Mayo</p><p>Acceptance Indicators:Celebrate differencesA variety of lifestyles are acknowledgedTransitional Bilingual Language ProgramsMulticultural FairsCurriculum is more inclusiveSome type of multicultural program may be in place</p><p>Respect Indicators:Differences held in high regardHistorical events approached from multiple perspectivesCurriculum is antiracistAdditive multiculturalism is an important attitude</p><p>Affirmation Indicators:Reflect on differencesConfront injusticeAdvocacy occurs in the school by teachers and students</p><p>in education. Classroom materials reflect some diversityalthough daily integration is lacking.</p><p>At an advanced level, respect, differences are not onlycelebrated but held in high regard. The home cultureis honored and used as a basis for learning. Studentswould be exposed to different ways of approaching thesame reality and would therefore expand their way oflooking at the world (Nieto, p. 355). Historical events areviewed from multiple perspectives. Teachers are activelyinvolved in making the curriculum explicitly antiracist.</p><p>Nieto stated that affirmation is the most difficultto achieve. At this level, students not only cele-brate diversity, but they reflect on it and confront it(p. 355). Teaching for advocacy, equity, and social justiceare characteristics of this level. Racism is not only ac-knowledged but challenged. Students essentially becomemulticultural people who can reflect and act positivelytoward multiple perspectives.</p><p>Teacher education must take responsibility for devel-oping candidates understanding of multicultural educa-tion in the classroom (Brown, 2004b; Ladson-Billings,2001). Bennett (2001) re-views teacher preparation pro-grams through an extensive explanation of four genreclusters that could be used to promote improvement:curriculum reform, societal equity, equity pedagogy, andmulticultural competence. Transforming the curriculumis a facet of systemic change worth pursuing.</p><p>Both programs and stand-alone courses have beenvehicles advancing such change. Brown (2004a) reportspositive results using technology in a stand-alone courseto raise the cross-cultural sensitivity and awareness ofteacher candidates. Ladson-Billings (2001) writes about</p><p>the success of a teacher education program known asTeach for Diversity. My study was inspired by the successof these researchers.</p><p>Participants</p><p>Data were collected from 107 pre-service teachercandidates enrolled in a sophomore level curriculumcourse for early childhood majors in an undergraduateteacher education program at a small Midwesternuniversity. The collection period took place during fouryears across six semesters. The average class size forthe first two semesters was 12; the class average forthe remaining four semesters was 24. Each sectionused the same syllabus and had the same instructor. Allcandidates were European Americans; most had little orno experience with cultures other than their own...</p></li></ul>


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