Is Ignorance Bliss? Pre-service Teachers' Attitudes Toward Multicultural Education
Abstract

In the United States, the number of school-aged students from diverse backgrounds is increasing, yet, according to research, the majority of teachers and those in teacher education programs continue to be predominantly Caucasian, middle class and English monolingual speakers. Studies have shown that many of those entering the field of teaching have a lack of knowledge of the experiences, needs, and resources of culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. As such, teacher preparation programs have developed and required that pre-service teachers complete a multicultural education course. This study explored the effect a multicultural education course has on pre-service teachers' attitudes about the experiences, needs, and resources of culturally and linguistically diverse student populations as well as the value they place on multicultural education. Using anonymous pre and post test surveys, we began by examining the initial attitudes of pre-service teachers' prior to taking a multicultural education course. We then studied the extent to which their attitudes changed subsequent to the instruction. The findings showed pre-service teachers' attitudes improved as they developed an increased awareness of and appreciation toward other cultures. Even with this increased awareness and appreciation of students' diverse cultures, the pre-service teachers expressed a sense of being ill equipped to teach students from diverse backgrounds. This sentiment also included a fear of being rejected by parents of minority students. Based upon the findings, implications and recommendations for program and curriculum revisions are discussed.


pdf