AuthorCopeland, Tyrone Cephas
KeywordsEducation, Teacher Training.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIt is estimated that nearly 90% of the teaching force is comprised mostly of female middle-class European Americans; whereas the student population has become increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse. These teachers have been isolated from a significant part of the population they are likely to teach and have developed entrenched, ethnocentric identities with little, if any, knowledge about or experience with culturally or linguistically diverse children (Finney & Orr, 1995; Ladson-Billings, 1991). It is this concern which served as a catalyst for the present research study in pedagogical possibility for culturally diverse students. Since research studies in both inservice and preservice training in cultural diversity and multicultural education have indicated limited success. The present study focused on how four exemplary elementary school teachers developed their pedagogical practices for teaching in culturally diverse settings. Three broad areas were investigated: (a) background, (b) practice, and (c) origin of practice. The findings indicate that teachers who are known for their exemplary practices with culturally diverse populations of students adopt a relaxed, child-focused approach to classroom activities. The teachers believe that their students can be successful, and they have a strong sense of their own efficacy as professionals. With regard to culture, these teachers expressed a clear view of their own cultural identity and celebrated the cultural diversity and richness in their classes. They encouraged their students to expend effort, take risks, and raise questions. They structured their classroom to engender a sense of community and a collaborative approach to learning. They are passionate about knowledge and learning and see knowledge as an emerging, growing entity. Finally, their practices fit within the broad framework of what is generally understood as developmentally appropriate practice. Formal preparation in preservice or inservice programs were not significant factors in developing their classroom understandings or practices. Personal background and classroom contacts appear, from these interviews, to be the primary factors shaping the practices of these exemplary teachers. In addition, the teachers mentioned mentors and significant others in their personal lives who gave them a sense of confidence, love of self, and dedication to education.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching and Teacher Education