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Multicultural competencies in teaching: a typology of classroom activities

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This study explored pre-service teachers' perceptions of 'multicultural education' and types of activities considered to be 'multicultural' in the context of teaching young children. The data were collected over a period of three semesters from three groups of students participating in a clinical seminar in a mid-western US university. The students answered two questions, one on their understanding of multicultural education and the other on children's activities they considered to be multicultural. For each semester, students answered the first question three times--in the beginning of the semester, in the middle of the semester and at the end of the semester. During the semester the students listed activities they considered 'multicultural'. The data were analyzed as soon as they were collected, and compiled over the three semesters. Students' definitions of multicultural education were slightly more descriptive and inclusive at the end of the semester compared with the beginning of the semester. This change indicated, as would be expected, that the students experienced some growth in the course of the semester, with regard to their perceptions of 'multicultural education'. The activities considered to be multicultural were analyzed and organized into levels of comprehensiveness in incorporating young children's cultural backgrounds in the classroom for effective learning. The eight levels are discussed and suggestions for further research are given.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Northeastern Illinois University USA

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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