Pedagogical practices and diversity in the classroom

Authurine Graham-Young

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine if there are differences in the multicultural pedagogical practices of public school teachers based on demographic characteristics such as: school level, race, age, degree earned, school district description, location of school district within the state, multicultural workshops attended, multicultural college courses taken, and the presence of a school policy supporting multiculturalism. Participants included teachers in public elementary, middle/junior, and high schools during the 2003-2004 school year in a southern state. Data were analyzed to assess cultural responsiveness as measured by each subscale on the TIPS survey instrument. Four multiple regression equations were examined using the above demographics as predictor variables. The overall regression for the criterion variables: Assimilation, Instructional Modification, Bridging Home and School Connections, and Teacher/Student Interaction were statistically significant. The predictor variable, school district policy was statistically significant for Assimilation. The Instructional Modification scores were statistically significant for grade level, race, multicultural education workshops attended, location of school districts, and school district policy. For Bridging Home and School Connections, scores were statistically significant for grade level, race, multicultural education college courses taken, and school district policy. The Teacher/Student Interaction scores were statistically significant for race and school district policy. The results from this study indicated that school districts multicultural pedagogical practices of public school teachers are based on individual school practices rather than school district policies. These practices that began at the lower grade levels should be taught consistently throughout the school district at every school level. Therefore, as the nation prepares to meet the needs of a continuously growing culturally diverse student population, teachers should be provided adequate, on-going training relative to multicultural pedagogical practices and school administrators should develop practices and procedures of cultural inclusion in a school environment that is a culturally comprehensive blend of multiculturalism that includes all students.