Preparing Teachers for Cultural Diversity: Rhetoric or Reality.Report as inadecuate

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Teacher educators must consider two major issues in their efforts to incorporate multicultural education into preservice teacher preparation programs: (1) the background and previous experiences of preservice teachers; and (2) schooling as an institution that either inhibits or promotes the strengths of citizens in a democratic society. In both schools and colleges, few role models exist for racial- or language-minority students. In addition, the curriculums at all educational levels tend to be strongly monocultural, reflecting little ethnic or cultural diversity. Recent philosophical and theoretical perspectives in education have provided insights into alternatives for multicultural teacher education. Constructivist orientations would lead programs to create experiences in which diverse realities are explored. Developmental psychology perspectives would cause teacher education to be based on the recognition that an individual's cognitive development cannot be separated from the surrounding social context. The reconstructionist perspective focuses on the conditions of schooling within a democracy. Preservice teachers must construct understandings of the effect of values on reality, the dominant forces in society, the political and economic context in which decisions are made, and the impact of culture on the individual. The teacher education program must be grounded in these issues which are philosophical, social, political, economic, and psychological. (Contains 41 references.) (IAH)

Descriptors: Educational Environment, Educational Philosophy, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Intercultural Communication, Multicultural Education, Politics of Education, Preservice Teacher Education, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Education Curriculum, Teacher Student Relationship

Author: Reiff, Judith C.; Cannella, Gaile S.



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