Learning to Teach Culturally Diverse Learners: Charting Change in Preservice Teachers' Thinking about Effective Teaching

Alfredo J. Artiles, Karen McClafferty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We explored the use of 2 measurement strategies - concept maps and surveys - to assess the effects of a multicultural education course on the cognitions of individuals and groups of preservice teachers. Participants included 17 preservice teachers enrolled in a 5-week multicultural education course required as part of a 1-year M.Ed. and credential program at a public university. Data were gathered before and after the course to assess preservice teachers' beliefs and conceptual changes in their representations of effective teaching for culturally diverse learners. Results suggested that 2 groups of students began the course with distinct beliefs and conceptualizations in this area, as indicated by differences in the density of their concept maps. Results also suggested that multiple indicators of cognitive change must be used to better understand the effect of these courses on preservice teachers' cognitions. Group B students had lower-density maps prior to the course than after the course. Specifically, although the density of Group B students' conceptualizations of effective teaching increased after the course - a pattern that has been traditionally associated with more complex understanding - other indicators of conceptual change showed that these students did not actively reorganize their conceptualizations. Group A students exhibited the opposite pattern. Moreover, the qualitative data analysis indicated that each group of students emphasized a distinct view of teaching. These findings suggest that teacher educators and others working in this field can use concept maps and surveys to assess cognitive transformations in individuals and groups of teachers. This is best achieved through the analysis of both quantitative and qualitative indicators of cognitive changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-220
Number of pages32
JournalElementary School Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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