“I Actually Learned A Lot from This”: A Field Assignment to Prepare Future Preservice Math Teachers for Culturally Diverse Classrooms

Jayne A. Downey, Georgia A. Cobbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Teacher education programs are cognizant of the need to prepare preservice teachers (PTs) to work effectively with children from diverse cultural backgrounds. Well-constructedfield experiences can help PTs develop awareness and gain understanding of important cultural considerations related to effective teaching and learning (Sleeter, 2001). This paper describes a unique field assignment created for an Elementary Math Methods course in which 61 PTs were trained to conduct a semi-structured interview with a student whose cultural background was different than their own. PTs transcribed their own interviews and completed a guided reflection on their experiences. Reflections were submitted and analyzed for emerging themes. Analyses suggest that the structured interview component of this field assignment provided PTs with increased insight into mathematics instruction and the learning needs of diverse students. We also discuss the value and limitations of this instructional innovation and propose avenues by which to continue to help PTs grow toward becoming culturally relevant pedagogists (Irvine, 2003).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-403
Number of pages13
JournalSchool Science and Mathematics
Volume107
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2007

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