Issues in Educating Students with Disabilities

By Edward J. Kameenui; David Chard et al. | Go to book overview

courses often perpetuate stereotypes and overgeneralizations about certain minority groups.

It is imperative, therefore, that we develop a research framework that focuses on two major contextual components. These components include (a) the foci of teacher education research and (b) the approaches used to teach multicultural education. In addition, we must begin to develop research designs that integrate both quantitative and qualitative approaches and employ multiple measures. These practices will allow us to document the development and evolution of the models, characteristics, and components of programs that affect the thinking and actions of teachers in positive ways. Finally, we need to determine if and how these refined programs affect social and academic outcomes for students.

In sum, the time has come for us to move beyond advocacy discussions about multicultural education and begin to focus on empirical work designed to strengthen the field and affect positively the performance of teachers who will instruct increasing numbers of students from diverse cultural, linguistic, and other nonmainstream backgrounds. Research in this area should be based on a theory of teachers as learners and it should take into account the conceptualizations of teacher education and multicultural education that underlie preservice programs. Similarly, the use of multiple methodological strategies and culturally sensitive designs will enrich the depth and sophistication of a knowledge base on multicultural preservice teacher education.

In addition, our work must begin to frame policies in this area so that decisions about restructuring programs will be based on analysis of longitudinal and generalizable data. We believe that the field of multicultural preservice teacher education represents a promising area that might influence positively the education of neophyte teachers and their subsequent practice. However, failure to move the field beyond its present position will not result in the widespread implementation of equitable educational practices for all children.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors wish to thank Diane Haager, Festus Obiakor, and the volume editors for their review of previous drafts of this chapter. The chapter authors (listed alphabetically) contributed equally to the preparation of this manuscript.


REFERENCES

Ahlquist R. ( 1992). "Manifestations of inequality: Overcoming resistance in a multicultural foundations course". In C. A. Grant (Ed.), Research and multicultural education: From the margins to the mainstream (pp. 89-105). London: The Falmer Press.

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