Title

A Moral Imperative for Ensuring the Academic Success of Diverse Student Populations

First Presenter's Institution

Dalton State College

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This presentation supports the “HEART: Social & Emotional Skills strand of the National Youth At-Risk Conferences as increasing diversity in today’s public education systems is having an adverse effect on overall student achievement and is forcing educators to question their own beliefs and prejudices.

Brief Program Description

Accepting moral and ethical needs for improvement, Teacher Education Programs (TEPs) must answer how they should address demands stemming from changing demographics, changing professional rules and identities, and an increase in poor student outcomes. The presentation of this study seeks to open the doors of multicultural thinking and consider the new roles for ourselves in the classroom.

Summary

Given the ever-increasing diversity of the student population in public education classrooms, and the devastating impact on those students if future teachers enter the profession without the cultural competence necessary to ensure students success, TEPs have a moral imperative to re-conceptualize the multicultural education component of their programs. Clearly, inaction is not an option. Infusing culturally responsive pedagogical training and practices into TEPs will serve to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability. Achieving success in creating culturally responsive classrooms is a transformative process of the American educational system. The process will take some time and requires systematic, in-depth research investigations of cultural markers and intervention outcomes.

The purpose of this study was to examine preservice teachers’ perceptions towards multicultural education and teaching of culturally and linguistically diverse learners in a New Latino Diaspora (NLD) area in northwestern Georgia and the value of diversity and/or difference. This study shows that pre-service teachers are keenly aware of the challenges immigrant and other minority students especially linguistically and culturally diverse students face in K-12 schools. Results indicate that preservice teachers have the willingness to study and to be aware of multicultural awareness for them to operate and teach with less difficulty in the teaching and learning process. The purpose of multicultural education based on the objective of this study is to identify factors from pre-service teachers and consider how these factors might serve to transform educational institutions to reflect diverse cultures and perspectives.

The goal of this study has not been to define explicitly the ways in which TEPs should redesigned to embrace cultural competence as an expected outcome for all program completers. Rather, the presentation will serve as a beginning point for the self-reflection as TEPs seek out collaborative partnerships with K-12 schools to support the change process within all education programs. This presentation will also include specific content ideas for affecting instruction as take-home learning opportunities for participants of the conference.

Evidence

The trend of increasing diversity in United States classrooms continues to grow especially in urban schools where there is an increasing population of immigrants and other minority students in those K-12 schools. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, by the year 2040, White non-Hispanics will make up less than half of the school-aged population. In 2010, the Hispanic population was projected to account for 43% of United States population growth. A recent National Center for Education Statistics (2010) report reveals that students of color, described as Latina/o, African American, and Asian, are now the majority of students in K-12 public schools in the United States (Maxwell, 2014). It is evident that K-12 schools in the U.S. are becoming increasingly diverse including culturally, linguistically and underrepresented diverse learners.

The issue of diversity in U.S. K-12 schools requires significant training and experiences for preservice teachers to recognize the importance of students' socio-cultural, religious values, and the influence their cultural background have in their quest to succeed in the educational endeavors. The southeastern United States is no exception, as this region has several communities that can be described as the New Latino Diaspora [NLD] (Durand, Massey, & Capoferro, 2005). An NLD is defined as a geographical area of the United States where Latinas/os have traditionally not settled (Murillo & Villenas, 1997). The city of Dalton and Whitfield County, Georgia are powerful examples of an NLD area.

Moreover, there are 16,604 Latina/o students in Whitfield County. Between 1990 and 2000, Whitfield County, Georgia experienced a 694% increase in its Latina/o population and an 81% increase between 2000 and 2011. Whitfield County currently has a Latina/o population of 33,387, which is 32% of the county’s population. This county’s percentage far surpasses Georgia’s overall Latina/o population percentage of 9% (US Census Bureau, 2011). The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that, between 1979 and 2008, the number of school-aged children (children ages 5-17) who spoke a language other than English at home increased from 3.8 to 10.9 million (NCES, 2009). NCES (2010) reports that during 2007-2008, about 58% of public school teachers of grades 9 through 12 were females with 83.5 % defined as belonging to the “White” race/ethnicity category, while the categories of Hispanic constituted 6.6 % and Black 6.9% of the teacher population. The implications of the difference between the number of students with diverse backgrounds and the number of diverse teachers available to meet the needs of these students demands new calls for research to explore the attitude, knowledge, and perceptions of pre-service teachers about culturally, linguistically, and underrepresented minority students.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Roben Taylor currently teaches at Dalton State College. Her research interests include differentiating instruction, responsive teaching, and students at risk. Dr. Taylor has over 20 years of teaching experience.

Keyword Descriptors

Multicultural education, culturally and linguistically diverse learners, pre-service teachers, diversity

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-6-2018 4:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2018 5:30 PM

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A Moral Imperative for Ensuring the Academic Success of Diverse Student Populations

Accepting moral and ethical needs for improvement, Teacher Education Programs (TEPs) must answer how they should address demands stemming from changing demographics, changing professional rules and identities, and an increase in poor student outcomes. The presentation of this study seeks to open the doors of multicultural thinking and consider the new roles for ourselves in the classroom.