Gorski, PC ).What We're Teaching Teachers Article Review

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Gorski, PC (2009).What we're teaching teachers: An analysis of multicultural teacher education coursework syllabi.Teaching and Teacher Education 25 (2009) 309 -- 318

In this paper the author explores quantitatively, the multicultural teacher education coursework syllabi. The work is therefore a quantitative analysis of the syllabi used for multicultural teacher education (MTE) courses being taught across the U.S. By means of a quantitative content analysis and on the basis of the existing multicultural education topologies, Gorski analyzed the theories as well as philosophies that inform the design of MTE courses. His analysis indicated that most of the MTE courses in the U.S. were designed in order to prepare the teachers with both personal awareness and pragmatic skills but conspicuously never prepared them in accordance with the basic principles of multicultural education. Elements such as commitment to educational equity and critical consciousness were conspicuously missing. The paper proposed a new 5-layer topology for multicultural educational education course design.


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In the introduction part, Gorski (2009) presented an extensive literature review on multicultural teacher education (MTE).For instance, he noted that extant literature has been dedicated to the broad study of multicultural teacher education (MTE) in the context of the U.S. educational sector. Most of these studies have focused on the exploration of both national and state policies (Gollnick,1995),the teacher educational curricula (Zeichner & Hoeft,1996), the approaches to multicultural teacher education (Jenks, Lee, & Kanpol, 2001; Moss,2008), the social as well as political aspects of multicultural teacher education (Weiner, 2000), the nature of the session offerings at the national MTE conferences ( as well as the body of related literature as seen in the work of Cochran-Smith, Davis, and Fries (2004) and Trent, Kea, and Oh (2008).

Article Review on Gorski, PC (2009).What We're Teaching Teachers: An Assignment

The scholars have a number of conclusions. They however have a consensus that in most cases, multicultural teacher education is never multicultural in accordance to the work of Banks (2004) on multicultural paradigm. Instead, the author noted that the works of Cochran-Smith (2004), Vavrus (2002), Gorski (2006) et al. noted that MTE initiative targeting degree programs, individual multicultural courses and staff development all tend to focus on understanding the cultural "others" and celebrating diversity.

This work also indicated that it is very unfortunate that very little research has been done on the empirical examination of the discrepancies' effect in practice. In order to fill this knowledge gap, the author embarked on the analysis of the syllabi for the teacher education courses on multicultural education programs across the U.S. The author has a specific focus on uncovering the methods used for framing as well as conceptualizing multicultural education. He investigated if the syllabi are designed to encourage both the pre- and in-service teachers with the requisite knowledge for practicing multicultural education in a way that celebrates diversity in manner which he described as "tokenizing ." He also investigated whether the if the authors present a multicultural education within a more critical and social reconstructionist framework which is consistent with the teaching foundations of critical and social pedagogy. The author then presents a new topology for MTE coursework.

Context of the study

The work of Gorski (2009) indicated that most of the published literature on MTE ca be grouped into one of the following four categories;

1. Literature that critically analyzes MTE from amore philosophical or theoretical position;

2. Literature in which the educators measure the effects of a workshop or class by analyzing the data gathered from the students

3. Literature in which the challenges that are associated with the raising of the levels of multicultural consciousness in the teacher education students with a focus on socioeconomic and racial privileges being considered.

4. Literature that critically analyzes general scholarly works that are related to MTE.

From the literature review, the author identified two issues;

1. Approaches on the issue of multicultural issues

2. The approaches to MTE have been discussed from philosophical and theoretical perspectives.

The author therefore noted that the existing MTE conceptualization and multicultural topologies vary. He noted there are a total of five defining principles for multicultural education. These are;

1. Multicultural education can be considered to be a political movement as well as process that attempts to secure elements f social justice to the disenfranchised and underserved students

2. Multicultural education makes recognition of the fact that while individual classroom routines are philosophically consistent with elements of multicultural education, the concept of social justice is an institutional matter that can only be secured through a comprehensive reform.

3. Multicultural education is a philosophy that emphasizes a comprehensive schoo, reform that can only be realized after a critical analysis of the power and privilege systems.

4. Multicultural education's main goal is the elimination of educational prejudices and inequalities.

5. Multicultural education is the best education for all students

The theoretical framework for multiculturalism in the pre-service teacher education system

The work of Gorski (2009) discussed three types of theoretical framework in regard to MTE. These include; conservative multiculturalism, liberal multiculturalism and critical multiculturalism.


This work employed a qualitative content analysis technique. The author analyzed a total of forty five syllabi from a group of multicultural education classes. He focused on the way multicultural education is conceptualized in the course descriptions, the course foals, the course objectives as well as other descriptive and conceptual texts.

Data collection

The data was collected from the syllabi via a sort of snow sampling method. The author posted e-mails to several listservs.These are the ones to which several people who are interested in multicultural education subscribe to.These included the ones that are hosted by EdChange, National Association for Multicultural Education and Rethinking Schools. The author then requested that people forward his message to their friends, peers and colleges who might have been willing to freely share their syllabi.

The inclusion criteria for the received syllabi ware as follows;

1. The primary focus of the course should have been multicultural education or any other topic which is directly related

2. The multicultural course must be offered in either a undergraduate or a graduate level education program

3. The syllabi be submitted with express permission for use in this study by te course instructor.

Data Analysis

Te analysis was limited to course description, objectives, goals as any other descriptive or contextual text which is relevant.The author then examined the data for specific keyword as well as phrases that suggested philosophical or theoretical orientations that are either consistent with liberal, conservative or critical multiculturalism.The overall language and framing was also considered.


Even though the primary objective of their study was to analyze the techniques that were being used for framing multicultural education, the author ended up coming up with an entirely new topology of approaching MTE.

Close to 16% of the syllabi that were analyzed were found to fall under the category of "conservative multiculturalism" as described by Jenks et al. (2001).

Close to 29% of the syllabi that were analyzed were found to fall under the category of "critical multiculturalism" as described by Jenks et al. (2001).This means that education was described within the context of sociopolitical reality and instances.

71% of the syllabi belonged to the "critical multiculturalism" category.

The new topology for approaching MTE

The author came up with anew topology that comprised of the following elements;

1. Teaching the "other" elements of multiculturalism

2. Teaching with cultural sensitivity and tolerance in mind

3. Teaching with multicultural competence

4. Teaching within a sociopolitical context

5. Teaching as a resistance as well as counter-hegemonic practice


The author concluded that there is a need for the educational program licensure and accreditation authorities to ensure that authentic MTE practices are included in the syllabi crafting practices from the level of professional competence and teacher education. This paradigm shift must be supported by government policies promoting multiculturalism in the classroom.


Banks, J. (2004). Multicultural education: characteristics and goals. In J. Banks, & C. Banks (Eds.), Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (pp. 3 -- 30). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cochran-Smith, M., Davis, D., & Fries, K. (2004). Multicultural teacher education: research, practice, and policy. In J. Banks, & C. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education (2nd ed.). (pp. 931 -- 975) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gollnick, D. (1995). National and state initiatives for multicultural education. In J. Banks, & C. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education. Old Tappan, NJ: Macmillan.

Gorski, P. (2006). Complicity with conservatism: the do-politicizing of multicultural and intercultural education. Intercultural Education, 17(2), 163 -- 177.

Gorski, PC (2009).What we're teaching teachers: An analysis of multicultural teacher education coursework syllabi.Teaching and Teacher Education 25 (2009) 309 -- 318

Jenks, C., Lee, J.O., & Kanpol, B. (2001). Approaches to multicultural education in preservice teacher education: philosophical frameworks and models for teaching. Urban Review, 33(2), 87 -- 105

Moss, G. (2008). Diversity study circles in teacher education practice: an experiential learning process. Teaching & Teacher Education, 24(1), 216 -- 224.

Trent, S., Kea, C.D., & Oh, K. (2008). Preparing preservice teachers for cultural diversity: how far have… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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