Future Teachers’ Readiness To Work In Multicultural Environment

Abstract

The relevance of the studied problem is determined by the fact that the personality of the teacher is created during interaction with children in a multicultural educational environment. The process of self-realization of a teacher’s personality in conditions of multicultural communication and parenting provides the basis for intercultural communication, tolerance, focus on professional qualities of many cultural competencies, as well as respect for ethnic minorities. This article reveals the true self-realization of a teacher through a series of scientific judgments. There is a place to create new theoretical foundations in which the teacher’s personality is considered as a “new” set of characteristics, personal qualities and abilities, necessary for educational activities. Preparing future teachers for work in the children's multicultural environment of the university is able to be implemented as an organic part of the university. The basis will be the available educational programs, which take into account certain tasks of moral, intellectual, civil, humane, patriotic, spiritual education. In conditions of modern multicultural education, the university teacher plays an important role: it is the one who should help future teachers to master the philosophy of cultural identity, but it must be explained that each person can be at the intersection of several cultures, therefore, be a carrier of several cultures. No one doubts the idea that the multicultural literacy of a teacher begins with knowledge of the awareness of cultural affiliation. This material may be useful for teachers of preschool education and psychology, as well as for a wider audience.

Keywords: Future preschool teachersmulticultural trainingprofessional competences

Introduction

Federal Law 1807-1, dated 10 June 1991 (edition of 12 March 2014) "On the languages ​​of the peoples of the Russian Federation" emphasizes the inadmissibility of propaganda of hostility and neglect of any language, the inadmissibility of creating obstacles contrary to the constitutionally established principles of national policy, the inadmissibility restrictions and privileges in using the languages ​​of the Russian Federation. In the context of the implementation of this law, higher education institutions should train such specialists who could carry out multicultural education in a regime of respect for the linguistic cultures of different peoples from an early age.

The training of future teachers who are able to work with preschool children is of particular importance: the foundations of intercultural relations, tolerance and language competencies are laid in the child at an early age.

Analysis of the sources shows that the structure of multicultural education ( Sleeter, 1992; Cochran-Smith, 2003) consists of linguistic, cultural, ideological, technological aspects. The Republic of Tatarstan is multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural. Many nationalities live in Tatarstan; the culture of our state does not boil down to one language, despite the fact that there are two official languages in the region: Russian and Tatar.

The national composition of the Republic of Tatarstan also plays an important role in the development of multicultural education: in the percentage ratio for 2018, the Tatars make up 53.24%; Russians - 39.71%; Chuvash - 3.08%; Udmurts - 0.62%; Mordvinians - 0.51%; Mari - 0.50%; Ukrainians - 0.48%; Bashkirs - 0.36%; Azerbaijanis - 0.25%; approximately in equal shares there are such nationalities as Uzbeks, Armenians, Tajiks, Belarusians, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz.

The national composition of future teachers at the Kazan federal university for the academic year 2018-2019 is presented as follows: Tatars - 47%; Russians - 42%; Chuvash - 5%; Mari - 3%; Udmurts - 2%; the rest - 1% is shared by such nationalities as Bashkirs, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Armenians, Tajiks, Belarusians, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other nationalities.

The emergence of multicultural education

An analysis of global social development trends shows that, with high social diversity, the state acts as the main mediator in the search for consensus in various spheres of life. It is the search for the optimal measure of consent, mutual understanding that excludes the emergence and development of social and psychological risks, becoming one of the key tasks of state policy aimed at achieving social trust and tolerance as factors of social stability and personal security of citizens of the Russian Federation.

The emergence of multicultural education is associated with the harmonious introduction of ethnic minority students to the majority culture. Multicultural education is becoming the basis for the formation of the civic identity of students in many modern societies.

In Soviet pedagogy, there was a concept of international education, as well as the concept of teaching a culture of interethnic communication as a condition for the ideological unification of society.

In the 20th century, international upbringing and training became part of an authoritarian regime whose strategic goal was to achieve unanimity in all areas of activity, including education, and the complete exclusion of belonging to any national group.

Significant differences between multicultural and international education are the emphasis on the interconnection of ethnocultures, one of which is dominant, primarily considering the development of cultural and educational values, as well as coexisting in parallel with several cultures in the same social space. Accordingly, in multicultural education, taking into account national characteristics is more important than in international education ( Banks, 2008).

Problem Statement

In connection with the foregoing, in our study, several problems were found: a low level of multicultural training of teachers and the lack of technologies that can increase this level; the traditional system of raising children in a multicultural environment and the insufficient development of more effective methodological and technological aspects of this education; the need to take into account national and regional characteristics of education in the Republic of Tatarstan and the prevailing stereotype of teacher training without taking into account national characteristics of language and culture.

The objectives of multicultural education are:

  • preparation of future teachers for active and full-fledged cooperation in the modern multicultural world, the creation of conditions and technologies for adaptation and self-realization of a person in a modern multinational society;

  • familiarization with the traditions of the native culture, their processing in the framework of the new culture, as well as providing assistance and support to representatives of contacting ethnic cultures, fostering mutual openness, interest and tolerance;

  • ensuring constant comparison of two or more cultures for the development of the ability to find and critically rethink ethnocultural values, as well as form an individual culture;

  • formation of an active position in relation to inequality, ensuring the development of a critical perception of stereotypes related to the culture of the surrounding ethnic minority;

  • development and establishment of harmony in relations between students and teachers.

The significance of multicultural education in this approach consists in introducing one's own people and other ethnic nationalities into the culture ( Hill, 2003).

Research Questions

Research questions are presented in the following aspects: universities require special multicultural technologies for preparing future teachers to work in a multicultural environment for children; development of psychological, pedagogical, ethnocultural and methodological foundations for the design and implementation of this technology is required. This begs the question: what are the pedagogical conditions for the design and implementation of multicultural training technology for future teachers to work in a multicultural environment for children?

Purpose of the Study

Teachers seem to see multicultural experience primarily in terms of the race only ( Berthelsen & Nirmala, 2011). At the same time, the multicultural training of future teachers becomes the paramount condition for the democratization of the process of education. Hence, an important goal for multicultural education is that students gain the appropriate knowledge, attitudes, and skills to enable them to participate successfully in a pluralistic and democratic society. Moreover, teachers need to be able to communicate with people from different cultures in order to build citizenship and morality for the common good of the society they live in ( Banks, 2004). Are teachers ready for these challenges? Based on this, the study’s main research question was: what is the level of readiness of primary future teachers to work in a multicultural environment?

Research Methods

The research sample consisted of N=297 participants of whom n=152 were first-year students and n=145 second-year students enrolled in the teacher training program at the Kazan federal university in Russia. The readiness to work in a multicultural environment included the following main competencies: the communicative core, the development of critical thinking, the case-study as a method for analysing multicultural situations, the learning in a multicultural environment. The communicative core competence aimed at the development of future teachers’ ability to interpret the features of the communicative behaviour of representatives of different ethnic groups on the basis of cross-cultural studies. The critical thinking competence consisted of skills in solving problems related to cross-cultural communication. The case study competence addressed understanding of the universality as well as national and cultural peculiarities of the linguistic picture of the world. The learning competence focused on the conscious application of the knowledge gained in a multi-ethnic educational environment. The competencies were assessed after teachers engaged in an activity addressing the given competency in a multicultural setting based on the following five levels:

  • I know (I have an idea about the activity);

  • I understand (I can comprehend the activity);

  • I act (I can apply the activity);

  • I know nothing (about the activity);

  • Not sure (difficult to answer).

Findings

The communicative core competence was assessed as follows: only 10% of participants responded “I know”, 10% - “I understand”, 9% - “I act”, 36% - “I know nothing”, and 35% - “Not sure”. The critical thinking competence was assessed by participants as follows: only 14% of participants responded “I know”, 20% - “I understand”, 10% - “I act”, 23% - ‘I know nothing”, and 33% - “Not sure”. The case study competence was assessed as follows: only 12% of participants responded “I know”, 21% - “I understand”, 7% - “I act”, 18% - ‘I know nothing”, and 42% - “Not sure”. Finally, the learning competence was assessed as follows: 17% of participants responded “I know”, 20% - “I understand”, 15% - “I act”, 12% - ‘I know nothing”, and 36% - “Not sure”. Overall, the study results revealed that future primary teachers do not possess competencies to successfully work in a multicultural environment. The communicative core competence had 71% of responses either at the level of “I know nothing” or “Not sure”. A similar picture occurs for the other competencies: the critical thinking – 56% of responses at the levels of 4 and 5; the case study – 60% of responses at the levels of 4 and 5; and the learning competence – 48% of responses at low levels.

Conclusion

The cross-cultural educational space unites all subjects of the educational process across different ethnic groups, such as migrants, refugees, and internally displaced persons, and the indigenous population. The main findings of our study suggest that future teachers are not ready to work in a multicultural environment. They need a specifically designed training and curriculum to recognize and value cultural identities on the basis of acceptance and respectful attitude to diverse cultures. The study suggests that multicultural training of future teachers should be designed to correct dominant national ideals, values, and stereotypes to equalize them by providing a vast array of ethnic training to meet the cultural needs of national minorities ( Banks, 2004).

Acknowledgments

The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

23.01.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.01.79

Online ISSN

2357-1330