Opinion
Equity & Diversity Letter to the Editor

Diversity Training in Clinical Settings Is Key for Teachers

June 07, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

A May 10 post on Education Week Teacher‘s Teaching Now blog cites a recent study which found that after a semester’s clinical experience in a diverse classroom, white teachers felt more comfortable with students of color but did not generally see a need to tailor their teaching practices to the needs of students from backgrounds different from their own (“Study: Teacher-Prep Programs Need to Deepen Educators’ Racial Awareness”).

The authors of the study proposed that teacher-preparation programs include more-explicit discussion of and reflection on race in the classroom. This good suggestion does not go far enough. Even when teacher-preparation programs integrate coursework on diversity and immersion in “diverse settings,” teacher-candidates still have too few clinical opportunities to work with teachers who bring a full spectrum of culturally relevant practices into their classrooms and who know how to reflect on this work.

It’s time for teacher-preparation programs to get specific about culturally responsive teaching and what it looks like. Cooperating teachers need to be carefully selected and prepared so that they can show novice teachers in clinical settings how to meet the varying needs of students in diverse classrooms.

Classroom-based discussions of “social justice” cannot take the place of real classroom practices that would ideally be influenced by race-sensitive pedagogy. This is a challenge on which school districts and universities must work collaboratively and purposefully. Both sides must theoretically acknowledge and concretely commit to a practice of teaching that sees and speaks to students’ array of backgrounds, learning styles, needs, and ways of connecting with knowledge.

Despite nearly a decade of laser-like focus on teacher quality, the United States has made few strides in improving academic outcomes for students of color. It is past time to show teacher-candidates, not tell them, how teachers work effectively with students who often come from backgrounds unlike their own.

Audra Watson

Director of Mentoring & Induction Strategy

Program Officer

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Princeton, N.J.

A version of this article appeared in the June 08, 2016 edition of Education Week as Diversity Training in Clinical Settings Is Key for Teachers

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
When SEL Curriculum Is Not Enough: Integrating Social-Emotional Behavior Supports in MTSS
Help ensure the success of your SEL program with guidance for building capacity to support implementation at every tier of your MTSS.
Content provided by Illuminate Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Two Okla. Districts Get Downgraded Accreditations for Violating State's Anti-CRT Law
The Tulsa and Mustang public school systems are the first to feel the sting of a state law that restricts discussion of race and racism in schools.
8 min read
Superintendent Deborah Gist speaks during a Tulsa Public Schools board meeting in Tulsa, Okla. on March 5, 2018.
Superintendent Deborah Gist speaks during a Tulsa Public Schools board meeting in Tulsa, Okla., in March 2018.<br/>
Joey Johnson/Tulsa World via AP
Equity & Diversity Florida to Schools: Don't Follow Federal LGBTQ Protections
Florida advised school districts to ignore protections for LGBTQ students the Biden administration is trying to implement.
1 min read
Participants with the Alliance for GLBTQ Youth march at the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade in Miami Beach, Fla.
Participants with the Alliance for GLBTQ Youth march at the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade in Miami Beach, Fla.
Lynne Sladky/AP
Equity & Diversity The Case of the Missing Data on AP Students
The College Board raised eyebrows by removing public racial and ethnic data on AP students. It will restore the data this fall.
5 min read
Image of data and demographics.
melitas/iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Backlash, Hostility, and Safety Fears: What It's Like to Be a Chief Equity Officer in the Anti-CRT Era
Three equity officers faced scrutiny, criticism, and personal threats, which intensified during the anti-critical race theory push.
14 min read
Dena Keeling, a former equity officer for the Orange County (NC) School District, now works for the University of North Carolina, which partners with Durham Public Schools for equity work.
Dena Keeling, the former chief equity officer for the school district in Orange County, N.C., now works for the University of North Carolina, which partners with a different K-12 school system on issues of equity.
Kate Medley for Education Week