EDUCATING FOR DIVERSITY: HOW TO ENSURE TEACHER SUCCESS IN REACHING CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE POPULATIONS
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The number of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students enrolled in the United States education system has been on a steady incline, yet, teachers feel unprepared and unable to successfully reach CLD populations (Marbley, Bonner, McKisick, Henfield & Watts, 2007; Melnick & Zeicher, 1998; Richards, 2011). These sentiments impact teacher confidence and competence, which in turn influences classroom dynamics and teacher pedagogy. This influence could potentially lead to a lack of achievement for this population. Variables such as personal background and beliefs, professional development and training, school community and characteristics, and communication with stakeholders, play a role in teacher perceptions towards educating this population and towards their own abilities. Using a quasi-experimental within-participants one-group pretest-posttest design, this study seeks to understand the effectiveness of a three day training on cultural proficiency and efficacy on teachers. In order to conduct this research, 11 participants who taught various grade levels and specialist subjects at a large suburban public elementary school in the mid-Atlantic region, partook in a school-counselor-led PD series which included three 45 minute sessions that spanned from October to December of 2016. Results indicated that there is a correlation between targeted PD and cultural proficiency and teacher self-efficacy when working with CLD populations. These findings support the opinion that, when provided with proper PD and the proper mindset of openness, willingness to expand knowledge, and willingness to step outside of one’s comfort zone in order to better understand others within the PD setting, teachers are better able to increase cultural proficiency and self-efficacy when working with CLD populations.