Culturally relevant teacher education pedagogical approaches

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Preparing teachers for diverse contexts remains an urgent global challenge asstudent populations diversify in schools while teacher populations remain largelyhomogeneous (Sleeter, 2001; Zumwalt & Craig, 2005). Policy agendas seeking toincrease representation of minority cultures amongst teachers have not decreased the racial, ethnic and cultural distance between students and teachers. Gains have been eclipsed by rapid growth in minority student populations: the diversity gap, along with the achievement gap, has actually increased over the years (Gist, 2016; Ingersoll & May, 2011; Villegas, Strom & Lucas, 2012). A range of approaches to preparing teachers for increasing cultural diversity in schools has been proposed internationally by educational researchers concerned with social justice and equity. Their work aims to support success for marginalised and failing students in education systems that are neither relevant nor responsive to racial, cultural and linguistic diversity, or differences in student ability, class or gender. We note that the term ‘cultural diversity’ implies an unnamed point of comparison against which something or someone becomes diverse; and the power to mark this comparison rests with the normative cultural and linguistic majority in any context. This often produces deficit connotations emanating from essentialised binary constructions of difference – a knowledge stance frequentlycrystallised within teacher education curricula. This chapter focuses on approaches to teacher education that address cultural diversity, defined in the larger sense of difference related to social class, ethnicity, culture and language (Zeichner 1993), and argues the need for pre-service teacher education to engage more effectively with the extensive research base available to support culturally relevant pedagogy in teacher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sage handbook of research on teacher education
EditorsD. Jean Clandinin, Jukka Husu
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781526415486
ISBN (Print)9781473925090
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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