The importance of educating educators in diverse classrooms
“I believe content on multicultural diversity should be taught regularly within the context of other subjects and skills; therefore I will incorporate information from African, Asian, European, Latino and Native American cultures and experiences (at the same time and for all students) as I teach word recognition, vocabulary, comprehension and interpretation in reading.”
This personal pedagogical creed is one of the surprising suggested methods for teachers needing to develop more positive beliefs about and behaviours toward diversity in a new report by the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), Educating Teachers for Diversity: Meeting the Challenge.
The current economic crisis has deepened the growing inequality of access to education by those who need it most. Teachers are challenged to help migrants and immigrants in OECD countries who are impacted by the crisis. Now, more than ever, there is a strong need for effective teaching practices that are adapted to diverse children from migrant and immigrant families.
The problem, however, is that often teachers do not have the training needed to address the specific needs of a multicultural classroom. With education budgets being slashed, teachers have more students and less time to address individual needs.
In the coming months, the OECD intends to release a teacher’s “toolkit” as a guide for teachers on how to teach in diverse classrooms. While this will be a valuable tool, a toolkit is not enough. It is time for policymakers to address the issue of training teachers for diversity. We no longer live in a monocultural society, and we must adapt our education systems to fit the needs of a globalized world.