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Preparing Minnesota Teachers for Diverse Contexts.

Minnesota demographics are changing rapidly, as urban, suburban, and rural areas alike become increasingly diverse. During the past decade, more than half the total population growth in the state has occurred among Asian, African American, Latino, and American Indian populations. As a result, Minnesota schools are more ethnically and culturally diverse than ever. At the same time, the teaching force in Minnesota remains predominantly White, creating a potential mismatch between teachers’ expectations and experiences and students’ cultural backgrounds and learning styles. Minnesota’s teacher preparation programs are becoming more sensitive to the changing needs of diverse school populations and seek to better prepare teachers by heightening awareness of cultural issues and providing for culturally-responsive pedagogy. As part of a collaborative effort among the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University at Mankato, and the College of St. Catherine (representatives of the three institutional systems that provide teacher preparation in Minnesota), Patricia Avery, Benjamin Jacobs, and Mistilina Sato (Department of Curriculum and Instruction) will examine the critical teacher preparations experiences that contribute to the standards-based instructional practices of first-year teachers who are graduates of the three institutions. Using surveys, interviews, classroom observations, and document analysis, the project will seek to determine the relationships among teacher preparation program elements, new teacher learning, teacher support structures, and classroom performance in ethnically and culturally diverse school and classroom contexts. Findings of this study will influence teacher preparation program design throughout Minnesota and nationally, suggest recommendations for policy related to new teacher support and retention, and improve learning opportunities for students in Minnesota schools.

Project Award Date: 
Community organization or agency: 
University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University at Mankato, and the College of St. Catherine
Reports and related files
Report or related publication: 
Sponsoring CURA Program: 
CURA Contact: 
Edward Goetz Director, CURA (612) 624-8737