Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Multicultural Education: The Relationship Between Preservice Teachers' Multicultural Self-Efficacy and Cultural Awareness When Teaching in Multicultural Classrooms

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick Pauken (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Katherine Brodeur (Other)

Third Advisor

Arthur Bridges (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Paul Johnson (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Mathew Lavery (Committee Member)


Multicultural education (MCE) is a difficult topic with regard to how schools are to foster it. It is a controversial and foreign topic to many educators who have not been properly trained to handle students that do not look, talk, or think like them (Banks, 2001; Banks, 2006). Today's classrooms include students who come from a variety of backgrounds - in terms of race, language, gender, religion, and ability. Even though the number of students of color continues to increase in K-12 classrooms, their teachers remain predominantly white (84%), of which 75% are female (U. S. Department of Education, 2010). Some of these teachers are not equipped with the knowledge and skills or are not committed to teaching multicultural students, elements that are vital to teaching culturally diverse students. The questions remain: are colleges and universities preparing teachers to teach students whose backgrounds, cultural awareness and worldviews differ from their own, and how can they develop their multicultural self-efficacy and incorporate activities into the curriculum to ensure that all students are comfortable and successful in their educational pursuits?

Students of the global village need to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills required to become effective citizens in the global community. They need to function in their cultures and beyond where they should be able to participate in the construction of a national civic culture that is moral and just. Therefore, teachers who are entrusted with the responsibility of teaching these students must be prepared with the right mindsets, knowledge, and skills that would help them meet these challenges and beyond. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether preservice teachers' self-efficacy is related to their cultural awareness when teaching multicultural students, and to further investigate whether the level of experiences/interactions with multiculturalism predicts preservice teachers' self-efficacy when teaching multicultural students.

Results on question 1 indicated that cultural awareness has a strong, significant, and positive relationship with preservice teachers' self-efficacy, while results on question 2 indicated that three variables are significantly predictors of preservice teachers' multicultural self-efficacy. The variables are cultural awareness, teen contact, and race/ethnicity. Based on the results from the present study, there are implications for colleges and universities that prepare preservice teachers. These implications are more exposure to cultural awareness, teen recruitment, minority recruitment, leadership (cultural awareness), and future research.