Magazine article Multicultural Education

Interfacing Culture Specific Pedagogy with Counseling: A Proposed Diversity Training Model for Preparing Preservice Teachers for Diverse Learners

Magazine article Multicultural Education

Interfacing Culture Specific Pedagogy with Counseling: A Proposed Diversity Training Model for Preparing Preservice Teachers for Diverse Learners

Article excerpt

As the 21st century begins amid high hopes and great expectations throughout the world, the decline of academic performance overall in P-12 schools, and the consistent underperformance of students of color and low income students continues to persist in the United States (Harrow, Mieses, Shopsin, & Taylor, 2000; Johnston, 2005; Roach, 2004; Simpson, & Schnitzer). The future welfare and the national security of our country depends not only on how well we educate our children, but also on how well we prepare teachers for working with racially and culturally diverse learners (Chew, 2003; Finn, 1989; Tanner, 1993; U.S. Department of Education, National Commission on Excellence in Education., 1983). All of this means the prevailing achievement gap among White students, students of color, and low-income students demands immediate action.

Due to changing demographics in the K-12 student population contrasted with the homogeneous population of prospective teachers, the uncertainty about teacher preparedness to meet the needs of diverse student populations remains a controversial educational issue. Teacher educators have continued to question whether preservice teachers presently in schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDEs) have the requisite skills and the necessary sensitivity toward racial and cultural diversity to meet the challenges associated with effectively teaching culturally diverse students.

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to address safe ways to prepare preservice teachers, specifically White teachers, but not limited to that ethnicity, who will teach in schools with an increasingly culturally diverse student population, particularly people of color. In an effort to meet the challenge of training educators to effectively teach culturally diverse students, we have created a culture specific pedagogical counseling (CSP) model. It is designed to address the construct of diversity-sensitive training as a possible factor for the P-12 prospective teachers' lack of efficacy toward teaching culturally and racially diverse students.

Thus, the goal of the CSP model is to increase the comfort level of White preservice teachers (or teachers of any cultural, racial, and ethic background with limited exposure to culture differences) when interacting with people of color and people from diverse backgrounds. That is, the aim of the model is to provide multicultural training and experiences that challenge, stretch, and expand preservice teachers's wordviews, axiologies, and epistemology without harming or scaring the bright and gifted teachers away from working with student from low socio-class and minority backgrounds.

Before introducing the model, in a section on teacher preparation, we provide the reader with background information (e.g., philosophy, theories, and history) that influence the shaping of the model. This includes culture specific pedagogy and Black pedagogy theories, counselor and teacher education diversity training models, teacher preparation, historical and current demographic trends, and segregated schools and the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision.

Teacher Preparation

Teacher preparation remains center stage, both literally and figuratively, as the nation struggles with implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (United States Committee on Education and the Workforce, 2002). Educational reform movements past and present continue to scrutinize teacher preparation programs in SCDEs. The scrutiny of SCDEs gained momentum in 1983 following the National Commission on Excellence in Education's report, A Nation at Risk. Suppositions about the quality of teacher preparation programs, the faculty attached to them, and students enrolled in them continue to fuel the debate about an educational system that does not seem capable of meeting the needs of the fastest growing subgroups in the nation's schools.

Regardless of the reform initiatives invoked to focus the country's attention on how poorly some of our nation's schools are educating our children, teacher preparedness has consistently emerged as a central issue in educational reform initiatives that began ostensibly with A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) and continues with No Child Left Behind (United States Committee on Education and the Workforce, 2002). …

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