Throughout the programs, curricula, practices, and in the ethos of the school itself, the School of Education is committed to addressing issues of race, ethnicity, class, cultural and linguistic diversity, religion, gender, sexuality, and special needs as well as to accommodating learner differences and styles. Extensive research has clearly demonstrated the relationships between student identities and the identities of those working with students and between attitudes and beliefs about various identities and educational policies and practices (Banks, 1997; Cochran-Smith, 1995; Cummins,1996; Delpit, 1995; Gardner, 1993; Ladson-Billings, 1995; McCarthy & Crichlow, 1993; Nieto, 1999). Educators must be aware that their understandings of and tacit assumptions about their own and others’ race, ethnicity, class, culture, linguistic diversity, religion, gender, sexuality, and disabilities have a dramatic influence on their work with students, parents, and colleagues (Sapon-Shevin, 1999). Furthermore, educators must understand the importance of demonstrating in their own practices, curricula, and classrooms, a sensitivity to, understanding of, and willingness to engage with issues of race, ethnicity, class, cultural and linguistic diversity, religion, gender, sexuality, and disabilities. Knowledge of and sensitivity to one’s own and others’ identities and subject positions are central to effective teaching (Dilg, 1999; Darling-Hammond, 1999; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Ovando & Collier, 1998). The commitment to diversity and to the development of cultural competency is manifest in the core operations of the School of Education as well as in the education of its students.

Countless writers have addressed how education can meet the needs and aspirations of a multicultural society (Derman-Sparks & Ramsey, 2000; Hernandez, 2001). As Banks has noted, “A major goal of the school should be to help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to function effectively within the national macroculture, their own microcultures, and with and across other microcultures” (1997). In order to assist students in acquiring these skills, attitudes and knowledge, faculty and prospective practitioners start with self-awareness about their own attitudes, assumptions, expectations, and beliefs about diversity (Zeichner & Hoeft, 1996).We believe that such self-awareness and understanding ought to permeate the preparation of professionals, not only in academic classroom settings, but also in field placement experiences (Zeichner & Melnick, 1995).


Our teacher candidates and other school personnel:

  • reveal in their practices a sensitivity to, knowledge about and understanding of their own and others’ racial, ethnic, religious, class, sexual, gender, cultural, and linguistic identities;
  • are prepared to integrate multicultural educational theories and approaches into all dimensions of their professional practice;
  • demonstrate a capacity to understand students’ families, cultures, and communities, and use this information as a basis for connecting instruction and professional practices to students’ experiences;
  • make appropriate provisions for individual students who have particular learning needs, differences, or varying abilities; and
  • bring to their critical reflective practices an ability to examine educational policies and practices in ways that take into account race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, linguistic and cultural diversity, and special needs.


Banks, J. (1997). Educating Citizens in a Multicultural Society. New York: Teachers College Press.

Cochran-Smith, M. (1995). “Uncertain allies: Understanding the boundaries of race and teaching.” Harvard Educational Review 63.4: 541–70.

Cummins, J. (1996). Negotiating Identities: Education for Empowerment in a Diverse Society. Los Angeles: California Association for Bilingual Education.

Darling-Hammond, L. (1999). A License to Teach: Raising Standards for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Darling-Hammond, L. (1999). Teaching as a Learning Profession: Handbook of Policy and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Delpit, L. (1995). Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. New York: New Press.

Derman-Sparks, L. and P. Ramsey (2000). “A framework for culturally relevant, multicultural, and antibias education in the 21st century.” Approaches to Early Childhood Education. Eds. J.L. Roopnarine and J.E. Johnson. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill/Prentice Hall. 379–404.

Dilg, M. (1999). Race and Culture in the Classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. Basic Books.

Hernandez, H. (2001). Multicultural Education: A Teacher’s Guide to Linking Context, Process, and Content. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers for African-American Children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). “Multicultural teacher education: Research, practice, and policy.” Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education. Eds. J. Banks and C. Banks. New York: Macmillan. 747–49.

McCarthy, C. and W. Crichlow, eds. (1993). Race, Identity and Representation in Education. New York: Routledge.

Nieto, S. (1999). The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities. New York: Teachers College Press.

Ovando, C. and V. Collier (1998). Bilingual and ESL Classrooms: Teaching in Multicultural Contexts. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Sapon-Shevin, M. (1999). Because We Can Change the World: A Practical Guide to Building Cooperative, Inclusive Classroom Communities. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Zeichner, K. and K. Hoeft (1996). “Teacher socialization for cultural diversity.” Handbook of Research on Teacher Education, 2nd ed.. Eds. J. Skula, T.J. Buttery and E. Guyton. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan. 525–47.

Zeichner, K. and S. Melnick (1995). “The role of community field experiences in preparing teachers for cultural diversity.” A paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Washington, D.C.

Brooklyn. All in.