The impact of a multicultural educational in-service training program on elementary teachers' knowledge, incorporation, and attitudes concerning the philosophy of cultural pluralism
Walton, Loretta Jean
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The purpose of this investigation was to determine the relationship between participation in a multicultural educational inservice training workshop and the extent of change in public schools teachers' knowledge concerning multicultural education; the extent of change in incorporation of culturally pluralistic content, activities, and materials in their teaching; and the extent of change in attitudes toward three racial/ethnic groups. Procedure The sample consisted of 52 teachers from two schools which had racially diverse faculties. The teachers in the sample varied in teaching experience, degree, sex, race/ethnicity, grade level, and classroom type (self-contained or special subject). Twenty-six of the teachers were assigned to the experimental group, and twenty-six were assigned to the control group. In order to assess knowledge, incorporation, and attitudes, the investigator used three basic procedures. To assess the amount of knowledge actually gained during the training period, a checklist concerning procedures and materials involving multicultural education was developed and administered to both groups of teachers before and after the training period. A teacher-training module, which was developed and administered to the experimental group over a five week period by the investigator was used to demonstrate to teachers how to incorporate the philosophy of cultural pluralism in daily instruction. The extent of incorporation was based on a detailed scrutiny of the objectives, materials, and activities which the teachers included in thier lesson plans. To assess the teachers' attitudes toward children of different ethnic groups, an attitude inventory was developed and administered to both groups of teachers before and after the training period. This inventory consisted of eighteen bi-polar adjectives which were indicative of the cultural characteristics of Anglo-American, Afro-American, and Mexican-American students. Conclusions 1. In-service training reflective of the philosophy of cultural pluralism had a very positive inpact on elementary teachers' cognitive (knowledge) and psychomotor (incorporation) domains. 2. Male and female teachers demonstrated a positive change in knowledge and incorporation. 3. Afro-American teachers demonstrated a positive change in knowledge and incorporation, while Anglo-American teachers only demonstrated a positive change in knowledge. 4. While intermediate teachers (grades 4-6) demonstrated a positive change in knowledge and incorporation, prinrsry teachers (grades K-3) demanstrated a positive change in knowledge and no change in incorporation. 5. While the teachers with 0-5 years of experience demonstrated a positive change in knowledge and incorporation; the teachers with six plus years demonstrated a positive change in knowledge and no change in incorporation. 6. The teachers with both bachelors and masters degrees demonstrated a positive change in knowledge and incorporation. 7. The teachers who taught in a self-contained classroom and a special subject, both demonstrated positive changes in knowledge and incorporation. 8. There was no positive change in the teachers' attitudes toward three racial/ethnic groups on either of the intervening variables (e.g. sex, grade level, etc.). Recommendations 1. There is a need for an intensive racial awareness training workshop which specifically focuses on the teacher attitudes toward various racial/ethnic groups. This workshop could involve discussions and activities concerning individual prejudices, the effects of negative attitudes in the classroom, and techniques for changing these attitudes. 2. A crucial area of interest would involve a study which assesses the impact of a multicultural educational workshop on the degree of knowledge acquired, the extent of incorporation, and the manner in vhich teachers interact with the students in the classroom. 3. There is a need for the development of more innovative techniques for altering negative teacher attitudes toward children of different cultures. This is necessary in order for teachers to become more accepting, understanding, and aware of other racial/ethnic groups so that they may plan instruction accordingly. 4. Since the teachers in the study demonstrated a decrease in attitudinal change and an increase in knowledge and incorporation, it would be of interest to assess the inpact of attitudes in relation to the extent to vhich the teachers incorporate culturally pluralistic activities in the classroom. 5. It would also be of interest to investigate various methods and procedures for assessing teacher attitudes in order to determine their attitudes toward different racial/ethnic groups. 6. There is a need for a long term follow-up of the teachers' knowledge and extent of incorporation after participation in a multicultural educational worlcshop. This is necessary to attempt to determine whether the teachers continue to practice what was emphasized in the workshop. 7. There is a need to develop an instrument for measuring teacher attitudes toward children of varied racial/ethnic groups.