Teacher Candidates at Buffalo State College are often white middle class females who have few experiences with diverse populations. In an effort to facilitate learning of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will help them go beyond teaching tolerance to becoming exemplary teachers in the diverse classrooms they will encounter as they enter the profession, the focus on cultural responsive teaching and multicultural education within the elementary social studies methods course has been expanded to include a rigorous reflective writing assignment. The CREED paper, electronic discussions, as well as class presentations address culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) and multicultural education. This study was conducted to determine the perceived effectiveness of the new assignment and related class presentations and discussions in preparing teacher candidates for the actuality of teaching in diverse classrooms. Fifty teacher candidates engaged in a semester of study and reflection that culminated with the CREED writing assignment. Focus group discussions and perception surveys were implemented at the conclusion of each semester to determine perceptions of competency and needed course revisions related to CRP. The results revealed a discomfort among the participants when reflecting on their own biases, but a strong commitment to making the necessary changes in order to teach in a culturally responsive manner. Additionally, the teacher candidates acknowledged a need for more information and strategies as well as experiences in schools with diverse populations of students to become culturally responsive teachers who will be able to embrace diversity in their own future classrooms.
|Keywords:||Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Diversity, Teaching Tolerance|
Associate Professor, Department of Elementary Education and Reading,, School of Education, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA
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