Despite the growing diversity in school polulation, many teacher educators fail incorporating diversity-related content into the courses they teach. As a result, numerous preservice teachers lack quality learning opportunities to become well versed on issues of diversity in meaningful ways. This article reports the results of an international study which explores preservice teacher perceptions of opportunity to learning to teach in diverse inclusive classrooms. A questionnaire was used to document the perceptions of a cohort of kindergarten and elementary student teachers from Spain and the US. Results indicated that strong international differences existed in the perceptions of respondents towards opportunity to learn theoretical aspects of teaching for diversity (e.g., know intervention strategies to meet student diverse educational needs), opportunity to learning to teach inclusively (e.g., learn how to develop an inclusive curriculum), and opportunity to observe and analyse practical aspects of diversity teaching (e.g., conduct diversity-related field-work), all these differences favouring US respondents. The results highlight the need for increased attention to teaching diversity in preservice teacher education programmes. Implications for ongoing development of initial teacher preparation are discussed within the context of improving educators and student teachers’ training for diversity. Key words: Teacher education for diversity, opportunity to learning to teach, inclusive education, preservice teachers’ perceptions, international higher education.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport (Secretary of State of Education, Professional Training and Universities) within the framework of the Programme “State Programme for the Promotion of Talent and its Employability” I+D+i 2013-2016 (Ref. PRX16/00530), and by the University of Alicante, Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning (Ref. 2015/00003670).
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- Inclusive education
- International higher education
- Opportunity to learning to teach
- Preservice teachers’ perceptions
- Teacher education for diversity