Have conceptual reforms (and one anti-reform) in preservice teacher education improved the education of multicultural, multilingual children and youth?

Dec. 15, 2007

Source: Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Volume 13, Issue 6 December 2007, pages 543 - 564

This article examines three conceptual reforms in US teacher education (competency-based teacher education (CBTE), reflective teacher education (RTE) and constructivist teacher education (CTE)) for their effects on the education of multicultural, multilingual youth, as well as considering alternative certification (AC), known here as an 'anti-reform'.

The author suggests that although each reform made incremental improvements in the ways that preservice teachers are prepared to teach multilingual and multicultural learners, none significantly altered the education of under-served children and youth. For instance, CTE points out the importance of prior knowledge, but fails in connecting its core concepts with culturally relevant instruction. CBTE, while also generally failing to alter teacher preparation for multicultural learners, did try to make explicit connections for preservice teachers. RTE made explicit the moral consequences of working in diverse communities but fell short when it altered the apprenticeship-mentor relationship. AC of teachers is presented as the work of neo-liberals whose largely successful efforts to deregulate teacher preparation offer both an improvement and retrenchment for urban children and youth.

Finally, the article links the field's focus on the preparation of teachers for diverse students and the moral dimension of teacher education, concluding that such a connection may be the only way to maintain the professional school preparation of teachers

Updated: Mar. 04, 2008