London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Primary and early childhood teacher education and multicultural efficacy

Author(s) Spinthourakis, J., 1 Aktan, E. & Korhonen, R.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2010  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship  
Age group -  
Society is ever more characterized by increasing mobility, swift social and technological transformation. The number of children from immigrant and migrant families attending schools throughout many European countries has increased during the last two decades. This increase has changed classroom demographics moving them from cultural and linguistic homogeneity to one more markedly heterogeneous. Teachers dealing with the changing landscape of the culturally diverse class have to be in a position to address the needs, recognize the experiences and ways of thinking of their students to help them become active citizens. It should be noted though that serious concerns have been voiced about teachers’ readiness to meet these new realities. In many cases these concerns focus on who well their training has prepared them to meet these challenges. Several researchers appear to argue that teachers are inadequately prepared to teach culturally diverse students. Research evidence suggests that teachers who have not been adequately trained to work with diversity tend to have lower efficacy in terms of working with children different from themselves. Important issues in this area have to do with the multicultural efficacy of future teachers, what types of experiences positively influence the development of this efficacy and what role university teacher education preparation programmes play in relation to this. This paper discusses the definition of multicultural efficacy and its relationship to active citizenship, and presents the qualitative analysis of data derived from a multicultural efficacy questionnaire administered to teacher education students at three European universities and the type of courses offered at each institution. The paper concludes with suggestions on the how these findings can be used by teacher educators to enhance university and continuing education courses in an effort to develop the multicultural efficacy and active citizenship of teacher education candidates. Key words: Teacher education, Multicultural efficacy, Three country study

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