Learning to Attend to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners Through Teacher Inquiry in Teacher Education

Jul. 01, 2012

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 114 Number 7, 2012.

Purpose of Study

In this article, the authors sought to understand how student teachers (STs) in a teacher credential program with a history of attention to diverse learners were learning about their culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students through Teacher inquiry (TI).

Research Design
The authors examined data collected from 80 STs over a 6-year period, including 80 TIs; STs’ data analysis field memos; questionnaires with reflections on TI processes and products; and taped ST peer discussions and conferences with instructor.
Data also documented TI instruction, classroom culture, and opportunities to develop learning related to conducting TI.

Drawing on research and theory, the authors developed, tested, and used a rubric of 17 indicators of attention to CLD learners as a means to examine the range of ways and the extent to which STs attended to CLD students through TI.


STs took actions of various kinds to learn about diverse students: researching contexts and histories; examining student work and performance at full-class, subgroup, and individual levels; and asking and listening beneath the surface to students’ reasoning, attitudes, beliefs, and concerns about school learning and other issues.

Various assessment and inquiry tools supported the process, helping STs develop data literacy to attend to CLD learners.
However, TI elements were used to varying degrees, in various ways, and with varying levels of success.

Two cases illustrate the range of TI tools that STs used to learn about their CLD learners, to generate data and evidence about learning, and to act in ways responsive to what they learned about students.


This study was grounded in an assumption that such crosscutting analyses accumulate knowledge to disseminate to larger audiences, challenging conceptions that values of TI are purely local, serving only those directly involved.

Updated: May. 28, 2012