Exploring Preservice Teachers' Perceptions of Classroom Cultural Diversity
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to develop a better understanding of how eight preservice teachers perceived the culturally diverse students they encountered during their one-year teaching internship. Their personal and professional experiences with diversity were investigated in order to identify the direct and indirect influences they brought to a culturally diverse classroom. The data for this study consisted of narratives from their one-year teaching internship and their home, schooling, and college experiences with cultural diversity. Each preservice teacher was interviewed twice. The issues that emerged from their narratives were individually presented to give a clear picture of how they each perceived classroom cultural diversity. From their narratives, it is clear that how each of these preservice teachers perceived culturally diverse students was largely influenced by their life histories and experiences with cultural diversity. Cultural preparation in college acquired great significance as they each reflected on their preparation to teach in culturally diverse settings. None of them felt prepared to teach culturally diverse students. Instead, they indicated a preference of working in school settings that exhibited students similar to their own backgrounds. Classroom cultural diversity was seen as presenting special challenges, none of them felt prepared to handle. The implications from this study suggest that more preparation on how to work within culturally diverse classrooms is needed prior to, and during the student teaching internship.
- Doctoral Dissertations