Learning to support and sustain cultural (and linguistic) diversity: perspectives of preservice teachers

Roxanna Senyshyn, Ann Martinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report on a collaborative project and study implemented by two teacher educators in an elementary education program. To prepare teacher candidates for field experiences and practicum in a diverse (bilingual) urban school, the program uses coursework to impart asset-based pedagogies and practices. Design/methodology/approach: In this mixed-method case study, this paper examined the awareness and perspectives of preservice teachers (n = 26) to cultural and linguistic diversity and relevant teaching and learning practices. In particular, this study gauged their engagement with multicultural children’s literature in a collaborative interclass activity. The data sources included beginning and end of semester survey responses, notes on participant interactions during the mid-semester collaborative interclass activity and participant retrospective reflections about the activity. Findings: This paper found that teacher candidates showed increased awareness and positive shifts in perspectives. This study also ascertaind that, in learning to become culturally (and linguistically) responsive and sustaining teachers, they benefited from collaborative peer work that focused on learning about multicultural children’s literature, analyzing it and planning to integrate it into their classrooms. Originality/value: Studies show that culturally relevant literature in schools is beneficial; however, teacher candidates often lack knowledge of such literature and how to use it. This need is especially critical and relevant when learning about and implementing culturally relevant and sustaining practices. The collaborative undertaking discussed in this study fills this gap through co-teaching and interclass activity that brings preservice teachers as a cohort to collaboratively learn about, discuss, reflect on and plan lessons as they prepare to work with students from different backgrounds than their own.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal for Multicultural Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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