How preservice teachers perceive their readiness to work with diverse learners can indicate their future success in the classroom.
Using self-efficacy theory as a conceptual base, this study examined what factors contribute to preservice teachers’ self-efficacy level in addressing English Learners’ (ELs) cultural and linguistic needs, while adopting a multi-method design.
Data sources included a self-efficacy survey of a group of preservice teachers, written rationales for their self-efficacy ratings, and suggestions for improving their self-efficacy.
Data analyses revealed that the preservice teachers lacked self-efficacy in communicating with ELs while showing high self-efficacy in employing different learning modalities.
In addition, direct exposure through field and/or life experiences and curriculum emphasis were identified as key factors.
Findings further illuminate the preservice teachers’ incongruent understandings of mainstream school culture versus ELs’ cultures, the role of culture in academic versus social and emotional domains, and lack of interconnectedness between academic excellence and cultural competency.