UBC Theses and Dissertations
From preservice teacher to emerging professional: constructing conceptualizations of teaching in a culturally diverse society Wong, Nellie Susan
At a time when schools are becoming increasingly diverse in composition, this study explored five student teachers' perspectives on the changing role of teachers in a multicultural society. By using a constructivist framework and qualitative methodologies, interviews were conducted with student teachers in a Canadian elementary teacher education program. Two data sets consisting of one-on-one interviews were collected. The first set was collected after students had completed a thirteen week practicum. The second set was conducted after the student teachers had completed program requirements and had graduated from university with an education degree. Students' conceptualizations of the teacher's role in culturally diverse classrooms are described in six categories: bridging gaps in knowledge; being proactive as a role model; nurturing self-esteem and personal pride in heritage; focusing on care, respect, and acceptance; creating a safe and inclusive environment; resisting the lure of assimilation and the status quo. Life experiences which were influential in the formation of the students' conceptualizations are also described and organized by theme. The results of the study demonstrate that conceptualizations traversed a range of philosophical arguments outlined by theorists, and students' beliefs reflect key elements of conceptions portrayed in the approaches used to meet the needs of culturally diverse classrooms described in the literature. The findings underscore the need for multicultural theory in teacher education and for a pedagogical approach which encourages students to become reflective practitioners who are able to examine and critique personal beliefs in relation to the evolving needs of a multicultural society.
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