Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The gap between increased diversity of students and the level of multicultural competence of preservice teachers at a local university was investigated in this qualitative case study. The purpose of this study was to describe preservice teachers' experiences with multicultural competence in teaching diverse students. The study's conceptual framework was based on Dewey's theory of experience, Knowles's theory of adult learning, Kolb's theory of experiential learning, and Gay's culturally responsive teaching. Two models incorporating cultural competence by Mason, Benjamin, and Lewis and Pedersen were used to frame professional practice and develop understanding, acceptance, and skills in working with diverse students. Inquiry into how preservice teachers characterized their multicultural competence in relation to their experiences teaching diverse students formed the guiding research question. Data collection included semistructured, individual interviews with 10 preservice teachers selected by purposeful sampling. Lesson plans, class profiles from participants, and handwritten notes of participants' nonverbal expressions during interviews were also analyzed. Inductive data analysis results indicated that preservice teachers perceived a need for additional multicultural competence including increased awareness, knowledge, and skills in working with diverse students. A 3-day professional development workshop training project was developed to address cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills among preservice teachers in grades K-12. Preservice teachers' experiences revealed the need to build and strengthen multicultural competence in order to bring about social change by improving educational outcomes for minority culture students.