Student-teachers who report greater awareness of and comfort with issues of cultural diversity in the classroom are better at building more positive classroom environments that help every student succeed, finds a new study in the Journal of Teacher Education.
Researchers from New York University Steinhardt surveyed 2,473 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in teacher-certification programs between 2010 and 2015, asking them about their multicultural beliefs. Master teachers then observed and evaluated about 60 percent of those preservice candidates in their first semester of student-teaching.
Researchers found a correlation between higher levels of multicultural awareness and the ability to foster more nurturing classroom environments. Black and Latino preservice teachers reported greater multicultural awareness than their white and Asian counterparts. Those who had experience working with diverse students also reported more initial multicultural awareness.
A version of this article appeared in the December 13, 2017 edition of Education Week as Diversity