Category C: Preparation to Teach All Students in California Schools

Standard 9: Equity, Diversity and Access to the Curriculum for All Children

Through planned prerequisites and/or professional preparation, the teacher preparation program ensures the following:

Candidates examine principles of educational equity and diversity and their implementation in curriculum content and school practices for all students. 

Candidates provide all students equitable access to the core curriculum and all aspects of the school community. The program provides opportunities for candidates to learn how to maximize academic achievement for students from all ethnic, race, socio-economic, cultural, academic, and linguistic or family backgrounds; gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation; students with disabilities and advanced learners; and students with a combination of special instructional needs.

Candidates are prepared to effectively teach diverse students by increasing candidates’ knowledge and understanding of the background experiences, languages, skills and abilities of student populations; and by teaching them to apply appropriate pedagogical practices that provide access to the core curriculum and lead to high achievement for all students.

Candidates study and discuss the historical and cultural traditions of the cultural and ethnic groups in California society, and examine effective ways to include cultural traditions and community values and resources in the instructional program of a classroom.

Candidates develop the ability to recognize and eliminate bias in order to create an equitable classroom community that contributes to the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual safety of all students.The program includes a series of planned experiences in which candidates learn to identify, analyze, and minimize personal and institutional bias.

Candidates have the opportunity to systematically examine his/her stated and implied beliefs, attitudes and expectations about diverse students, families, schools, and communities, and to apply pedagogical practices that foster high expectations for academic performance from all participants in all contexts.

As our theme, “Leadership for a Diverse Community,” illustrates, diversity is a central consideration in the preparation of teachers in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.  Our vision is to prepare teachers “who advocate for high standards and democratic values with attention to professional ethics and diversity.”  (See school mission statement.)  In CI 151 Social Foundations of Education, the role of American schools in reducing social and economic inequalities and promoting a socially just and equitable society is one of the central issues treated. In CI 152 Psychological Foundations of Education, research findings regarding the impact of various socioeconomic and cultural variables on school achievement are reviewed. In LEE 159 Methods and Materials and LEE 154 Content Area Language and Literacy Instruction, classroom practices for promoting high achievement for diverse learners are studied and practiced.  In the two semesters of student teaching, EHD 155A and EHD 155B Student Teaching in the Secondary Schools, students are evaluated with regard to their ability to effectively instruct a diverse student population. (See syllabi for CI 151, CI152, and 159.)

Promoting high academic performance.

The methods courses, including the general and subject specific methods courses (CI 159 and 161) as well as LEE 154 Content Area Language and Literacy Instruction and SPED 121 Teaching Students with Special Needs in the Secondary General Education Setting all prepare students for applying pedagogical practices in student teaching that promote high academic performance for all students. 

The psychological foundations course (CI 152) sets the stage for diverse and appropriate teaching by introducing the concept of learning styles, as well as similarities and differences in cognitive, emotional and physical development. The general and specialized methods courses, however, are the primary courses in which students learn to diversify instructional strategies, activities, and materials to accommodate student differences. In the general methods course (CI 159) students read about, observe, discuss and practice various teaching models and strategies including cooperative learning, direct instruction, concept development, open-ended discussion, and inquiry. Diagnosis of students’ prior learning plays a part in each of these models or strategies. Candidates learn to select methods, activities, and materials that maximize the learning of diverse students in a heterogeneous classroom. For example, are they encouraging independent problem-solving for girls to the same degree as for boys, are they giving low achievers as much “wait time” as high achievers, and are they providing comprehensible “input” for language minority students?

In the special methods courses, CI 161 Methods and Materials in Secondary Teaching, teaching techniques and activities which appeal to diverse learners are also stressed; for example, hands-on activities in the science methods course, peer editing in the English methods course, and use of manipulatives in the mathematics methods course.  Multicultural materials are also surveyed in the methods classes.

In LEE 154 Content Area Language and Literacy Instruction, special attention is given to identifying, adapting, and developing materials to meet the needs of linguistically diverse learners. This course also teaches students to diagnose student interests (for example, to distribute an interest inventory) and to select reading materials that appeal to those interests. In the special education course (SPED 121), students learn to differentiate instruction for students with various types of exceptionalities. (See CI 159, CI 161, and LEE 154 syllabi.)

Knowing about student backgrounds and using appropriate practices for diverse students.

In CI 151 Social Foundations of Education, students learn about the background experiences of several prominent cultural groups in California. They also study the ways in which teachers can learn more about the background experiences of any segment of their student population (e.g., home visits, participating in community celebrations, reading newspaper articles about the community life of various ethnic groups).

In both CI 151 Social Foundations of Education and CI 152 Psychological Foundations of Education, students study recent research findings on the impact of culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender on student learning. In the general and specialized methods classes, students learn to use varied teaching techniques and strategies to appeal to a diverse student population.  They also focus on ways to make the curriculum in their teaching field more multicultural in content and perspective. In LEE 154 Content Area Language and Literacy Instruction candidates develop an understanding of theoretical issues related to the language and literacy development of second language learners. In addition, in this course, candidates learn to develop instructional activities and strategies that will help these students develop language skills while increasing their ability to comprehend content area concepts.  In both this course and CI 159 Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary Schools, special attention is given to identifying, adapting, and developing materials to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners. [ See CI 151, CI 152, LEE, 154, and CI 159 syllabi.] In both initial and final student teaching ( EHD 155A and EHD 155B), students are evaluated on their ability to effectively instruct diverse learners. (See FAST assessments in theFAST Manual.)

Cultural traditions and the instructional program.

At CSU, Fresno, students begin their study of cultural traditions in their general education. Each student is required to take a Multicultural/International course which prepares them to live in an international, multicultural world. (See General Catalog, page 89.) In the credential program course, CI 151 Social Foundations of Education, students learn how the “deficit” model of culture has historically influenced American public schooling and about modern alternatives to ethnocentric education. This course also explores what candidates will need to learn about their students’ cultural backgrounds. For K-12 students who began their schooling outside the U.S., candidates learn that it is important to understand the nature of the student’s first educational system. For example, in some cultures the expected role for students is a passive one and classrooms are teacher-centered. A student-centered classroom, where students are expected to play a more active role, may be puzzling to a student from such a culture. Students review the current demographics of California schools in terms of racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity. They discuss the implications of this diversity including the importance of  (1) recognizing the history and contributions to American culture of various groups, (2) incorporating multicultural perspectives in the curriculum, and  (3) encouraging parent and community participation in the overall school program. They study schooling in its social, political, and economic context.  They are presented with a brief history of the most prominent ethnic groups in the community, with special emphasis on historical aspects that have the greatest significance for teachers. For example, candidates learn that Hmong students who have recently immigrated directly from camps in Thailand generally have very different educational backgrounds from Hmong students who immigrated from France.  The experiences of these immigrant groups on arrival in the U.S. are also studied. Questions such as What Factors have affected their adaptation to the mainstream culture? and What role has schooling played in this adaptation? are explored.

Bias and other obstacles to equity.

In the social foundations course, candidates study the concept of equity. They discuss different views of what it means to provide equal educational opportunity, and they gain an increased awareness of obstacles to equality of educational opportunity that can be associated with a student’s gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, or ability to speak English. They learn how teachers, individually, and schools, collectively, can promote educational equity.

In CI 159, the general methods class, candidates study classroom practices that promote equity. For example, candidates learn techniques for making sure that the quantity and quality of feedback that they give to males and females are equitable. They come to understand the special value of cooperative learning for students from cultures that place a high value on group membership and contributions to the common good. They learn to supply life experiences, when possible, which low income children may need to be successful learners (e.g., attending a performance of a play to better understand plays in a literary anthology). In LEE 154 Content Area Language and Literacy Instruction, students study a variety of techniques for ensuring that English learners have equal access to the curriculum. In observing classrooms during their various field experiences, candidates are asked to note how teachers recognize and affirm diversity of various types. This, of course, would direct their attention to any bias that they have observed as well. (See syllabi for CI 159 and LEE 154.)

Examining ones own beliefs.

Candidates have the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs as they examine topics related to individual diversity (psychological foundations) as well as family, school, and community diversity (social foundations).

For example, in the social foundations course (CI 151), candidates study issues related to gender equity. As they discuss causes of the gender gap, students gain increased self-awareness of their own beliefs regarding gender equity. The same is true for discussions of equitable teaching practices in their general and subject-specific methods classes. In both semesters of student teaching, students are required to evaluate themselves on a variety of teaching variables related to gender equity and discuss their perceptions with their university supervisors and cooperating (master) teachers. (See syllabi for CI 151, CI 159 and CI 161.)

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