Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Teacher feels empowered to take on this

Teacher
education and issues of diversity

Teaching in a culturally diverse class necessitates
having to be in a ready to address the student’s needs, identify their
experiences and how their students think so that they can to support them to become
part of their new world. Getting to that place, a place where the teacher feels
empowered to take on this task becomes a focal point for teacher education
programs.  This isn’t always the case as serious
concerns have been voiced about teachers’ readiness to meet these new
realities.  In that teachers need to work
effectively with linguistically and culturally diverse learners, including elements
that promote intercultural sensitivity, multicultural efficacy and
multilingualism as a fundamental components of teacher education programs takes
on added value.

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Tertiary teacher education programs take into
consideration how well their graduates are being prepared (Cochran-Smith et al,
2004; Spinthourakis, 2007). An acute issue for teacher education graduates
since in many cases, they appear to want more focused professional development
to address the needs of the changing societal realties (Lynch & Hanson,
1993; Zeichner 1994; Spinthourakis & Katsillis, 2003). As the diversity of
the classroom has increased, instructional practices to address diversity have
often remained unchanged. Here tertiary teacher education has a role to play.

In many cases their
concerns have to do with their readiness in terms of their training prepared
them.  There seems to be growing
consensus on inadequate preparation of teachers of linguistically and
culturally diverse students (Eres, 2016; Futrell, Gomez, & Bedden, 2003;
Spinthourakis & Katsillis, 2003; Cochcran-Smith, 2000). Existing ideologies
and pedagogies have been seem as inadequately preparing teachers for diversity
(Ladson-Billings, 2000; Vavrus, 2002). There has been criticism of higher
education institutions that while appearing to accept that they are charged
with future teacher preparation to address linguistically and culturally
different students, they instead execute policies that due the opposite.  They do this by placing preservice teachers
in situations that promote assimilation where the climate of existing school
cultures by default maintains the status quo (Ukpokodu 2007, 9; le Roux &
Möller, 2002). In this way, the multicultural is transformed into a superficial,
fragmentary, and poor add-on to a monocultural curriculum (le Roux &
Möller, 2002, p. 184).

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