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Exploring the relationship between elementary education preservice teachers' dispositions toward diversity and their approach to curriculum and teaching

Mtshali-Dlamini, Sibongile M.
Scope and Method of Study: Using the culturally responsive teaching/teacher theoretical lens, this qualitative study sought to explore the relationship between elementary preservice teachers' dispositions toward diversity and examine how these dispositions relate to their curriculum content selection and teaching strategies when teaching student populations that are culturally linguistically, and socioeconomically different from them. Four White female elementary preservice teachers, conducting their clinical internship in a culturally diverse elementary school participated in the study.
Findings and Conclusion: There was a significant relationship between the preservice teachers' dispositions and their curriculum content selection and their teaching strategy selection. Findings indicated the following: (a) lack of awareness and lack of experience, (b) family influence, (c) active/silent resistance, (d) savior/missionary mentality, and (e) selective othering. From the findings, I concluded that since the participants did not have culturally diverse knowledge base, and skills, they were not able to select culturally relevant curriculum and teaching strategies for culturally diverse student populations. Teacher educators still have a challenge to prepare teacher candidates to work with diverse student populations.