Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Joseph Warren

Abstract

Problem. The rapid growth of diverse populations is affecting the educational system, and teachers often have not received training in multicultural education. The goal of this study is to document the multicultural teaching experiences of elementary Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) teachers in the United States and Canada.

Method. Survey questionnaires were sent to elementary school teachers to ascertain training, goals, paradigms, and challenges in teaching students from diverse cultures. Through a purposive sampling process, three teachers were chosen for in-depth interviews and observation.

Results. Seventy percent of the 1,780 questionnaires sent out were returned. Many teachers reported receiving training in their formal education or during in-service training while 40% reported never having any training. Five multicultural paradigms describe the strategies used by the teachers. The self-concept development paradigm and the ethnic additive paradigm were used by the majority of the teachers. The least used paradigm was the language awareness paradigm. Observations and interviews corroborated the data from the survey. The various paradigms (Banks, 1994) were not closely related to goals (Nel, 1993). The greatest challenges experienced by teachers were language related. Other challenges included teachers’ sensitivity to students’ needs, difficulty in dealing with parents, and several learning barriers. Learning barriers included students’ low self-esteem; lack of academic preparation or motivation; fear of failure, lack of role models; race rivalry and prejudices.

Conclusions. The teachers in this study tend to primarily utilize the human relations approach in their multicultural classrooms rather than the social reconstructionist approach.

Subject Area

Multicultural education--North America.

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