How Comfortable Are You Really? A Qualitative Analysis of Teacher Candidates Perceptions of Their Comfortability with Diverse Populations

Main Article Content

Patricia Kohler
Chayla Rutledge Slaton
Rachel A. Wingfield
Candice Dowd Barnes
Ashley Ward

Abstract

In an increasingly diverse school population, teachers find themselves facing students whose ethnicities, cultures, experiences, and religions are vastly different from their own. While this is a fantastic opportunity to develop a unique learning community, it is also challenging for teachers who may or may not have adequate training to meet the needs of all students. Using a survey designed to determine how comfortable an individual is in a variety of situations characterized by diversity, pre-service education candidates from the Elementary K-6 and Special Education K-12 degree programs from a mid-sized university in Arkansas were given a questionnaire on their comfortability with different diversity characteristics. The semester in which participants engaged in this survey included field placement. Results from the questionnaire indicated that the lowest average comfortability rating was for the HIV category, and the highest average comfortability rating was for the disability category. Qualitative information suggests that pre-service teachers perceive that they are "comfortable" with different groups of people, although previous research cautions against this comfortability. The authors suggest that teacher education programs, professional development, and staff in-service training on diversity topics should consider several practices designed to bolster how teacher candidates prepare to work with diverse populations of students.


Keywords: teacher candidates, diversity, perceptions, comfortability

Article Details

How to Cite
Kohler, P., Slaton, C., Wingfield, R., Barnes, C., & Ward, A. (2020). How Comfortable Are You Really?. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 7(4), 254-271. https://doi.org/10.14738/assrj.74.8121
Section
Articles
Author Biographies

Chayla Rutledge Slaton, University of Central Arkansas

PhD Candidate Psychology, Research Assistant

Rachel A. Wingfield, University of Central Arkansas

PhD Candidate Psychology Research Assistant

Candice Dowd Barnes, University of Central Arkansas

Associate Professor, Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education Department

Ashley Ward, University of Central Arkansas

Graduate Assistant

References

American Psychological Association (n.d.). Teaching tip sheet: Self-efficacy. https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/self-efficacy
American Sociological Association (n.d.). Race and Ethnicity. https://www.asanet.org/topics/race-and-ethnicity
Baker, D. S. (2010). Getting educated about homeless students. Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved from https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/getting-educated-about-homeless-students
Bloom, D. S. & Peters, T. (2012). Student teaching experience in diverse settings, white racial identity development and teacher efficacy. Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 2(2), 72-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jedp.v2n2p72
Carey, M. P. & Forsyth, A.D. (n.d.). Teaching tip sheet: Self-efficacy. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/self-efficacy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). HIV and Youth. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/age/youth/index.html .
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Managing Chronic Health Conditions in Schools: The Role of the School Nurse. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/chronic_conditions/pdfs/2017_02_15-FactSheet-RoleOfSchoolNurses_FINAL_508.pdf
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. (2013). CAEP Standards. http://www.ncate.org/~/media/Files/caep/standards/caep-standards-one-pager-0219.pdf?la=en
Definition of socioeconomic status | Dictionary.com. (2005). Retrieved 4 February 2020, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/socioeconomic-status
Finch, K., Watson, R., MacGregor, C. & Precise, N. (2013). Teacher needs for educating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the general education classroom. The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship, 2(2), 1-26. https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/josea/vol2/iss2/6
Ford, T. N. & Quinn, L. (2010). First year teachers education candidates: What are their perceptions about multicultural education? Multicultural Education, 17 (4), 18-24.
Holgersson-Shorter, H. (2010). Helping the homeless in school and out. Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved from https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2010/helping-the-homeless-in-school-and-out
Irving, D. (2014). Waking up white and finding myself in the story of race. Cambridge, MA: Elephant Room Press.
Johnson, P. (2018). Religion equity in schools - protecting students and their civil rights. Intercultural Development Research Association. Retrieved from https://www.idra.org/resource-center/religion-equity-in-schools-protecting-students-and-their-civil-rights/
Killman, C. (2013). The gender spectrum. Retrieved from
http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/summer-2013/the-gender-spectrum
Marchitello, M. and Trinidad, J. (2019). Preparing teachers for diverse schools. Bellwether Education Partners. https://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/Preparing%20Teachers%20for%20Diverse%20Schools_Bellwether.pdf
Mogahed, D. & Chouhoud, Y. (2017). American Muslim poll 2017: Muslims at the Crossroads. Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Retrieved from https://www.ispu.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/American-Muslim-Poll-2017-Report.pdf
National Council for the Social Studies Task Force on Teacher Education Standards. (2017). National Council for the Social Studies National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers. https://www.socialstudies.org/sites/default/files/media/2017/Nov/ncss_teacher_standards_2017-rev9-6-17.pdf
New estimates show that 150,000 youth ages 13 to 17 identify as transgender in the U.S. (2017). The Williams Institute UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/transgender-issues/new-estimates-show-that-150000-youth-ages-13-to-17-identify-as-transgender-in-the-us/
Pennell, S. M. (2017). Training secondary teachers to support LGBTQ+ students: Practical
applications from theory and research. High School Journal, 101(1), 62–72.
Pierre, D. (2017). Broadening understanding: students' perspectives on respecting all sexual
orientations and gender identities in university classrooms. Collected Essays on Learning
& Teaching, 10, 101–111.
Protheroe, N. (2008). Teacher efficacy: What is it and does it matter? Principal, 42-45.
Rabinowitz, K., Emamdjomeh, A. & Meckler, A. (2019). How the nation's growing racial diversity is changing our schools. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/local/school-diversity-data/
Sharma, S. (2005). Multicultural education: Teachers' perceptions and preparations. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 2(5), 53-64.
Subedi, B. (2006). Pre-service teachers' beliefs and practices: Religion and religious diversity. Equity & Excellence in Education, 39, 227-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/10665680600788495
Tamm, A., Tõnissaar, M., Jaani, J., & Tulviste, T. (2018). Associations between adolescent boys'
and girls' psychological adjustment and behaviour in school. Educational
Psychology, 38(4), 502–512.
Tuggy, D. (2020). Theories of Religious Diversity. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://www.iep.utm.edu/reli-div/
University of Houston. (n.d.) Diversity activities resource guide. Retrieved from https://www.uh.edu/cdi/diversity_education/resources/activities/pdf/diversity%20activities-resource-guide.pdf
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service, The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce, Washington, D.C. 2016.
U.S. Department of Education (2013). Civil rights data collection. Retrieved from https://ocrdata.ed.gov/StateNationalEstimations/Estimations_2013_14.
U.S. Department of Education (2017). National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/2017menu_tables.asp.
U.S. Department of Education (2019). National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp.
U.S. Department of Education (1991). Office for Civil Rights. Placement of School Children with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq53e9.html.