Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr. Goli Rezai-Rashti


As classrooms become more diverse, there is an increasing need to prepare teachers to work with a culturally and racially diverse student population. This research investigated pre-service teachers’ experiences working with a culturally and racially diverse student population as they progressed through their teacher education program. The focus was on participants who were enrolled in an equity education course and were interested in making a difference in the lives of minority and immigrant students. The purpose of this study was to examine whether pre-service teachers felt that they were prepared to teach in diverse urban classrooms. The research was primarily based on in- depth interviews with three pre-service teachers to gain insight into their experiences. The research drew on anti-racism as a theoretical framework because it addresses institutional and systemic issues that we encounter in the education system. The findings o f the research show that these pre-service teachers became more aware of issues related to teaching racially and culturally diverse students. However, they still struggled with how to close the gap between theory and practice and how to address issues of diversity in their daily practice. The main themes discussed were 1) the characteristics and needs of students in diverse environments, 2) the understanding and practice of equity, 3) the idea and practice of inclusivity and 4) changes in perspective as a result of the equity course and in the context of the teacher education program. The pre­ service teachers believed that the equity education course, as part of their teacher education program, expanded on their knowledge about teaching in culturally and racially diverse classrooms and served as a stepping stone for them to critically think about equity issues.



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