Pre-Service Teachers' Multicultural Competence

By: Panagiota Sotiropoulou  

Multicultural competence is a concept used frequently to describe teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to making educational experiences relevant to all students while also taking into consideration their diverse backgrounds. Despite featuring highly in academic literature and policy agendas worldwide, pre-service teachers’ multicultural competence and the factors influencing it are to-date rarely examined. This study uses a mixed-methods approach to capture more holistically the complex concept of multicultural competence and the factors influencing it. The empirical dataset comprises 356 questionnaires completed by final-year undergraduate students of Primary Education from three departments in Greece and six focus group discussions with students recruited out of the same pool of participants, conducted equally across the three departments in which questionnaires were administered. The study’s findings show that, although based crudely on the quantitative scalar measurements, Greek pre-service teachers’ multicultural competence scores are relatively high, their narratives present a more complex reality, revealing misconceptions around its practical manifestations and a general lack in multicultural teaching knowledge and skills with a social justice orientation. Moreover, the study traces webs of causal connections between multicultural competence and pre-service teachers’ sociocultural positionalities, experiences of international mobilities, multicultural encounters as well as experiences of both formal and informal curricula across diverse spaces of learning. In doing so, the study reveals the importance of thinking relationally about the spatialisation of multicultural competence and offers invaluable insights to the academic literature and policy debates around the best ways to prepare multiculturally competent educators.

Multicultural, Teacher, Training, Greece, Mixed-methods
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Panagiota Sotiropoulou

Lecturer in Geography, Geography, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
United Kingdom