Study on 'How initial teacher education prepares student teachers to deal with diversity in the classroom'

Despite the increasing heterogeneity of European classrooms, Europe’s teaching population has remained largely homogenous and ill-prepared for teaching students from diverse socioeconomic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and ill-equipped to reflect on the increasing diversity of society within its everyday teaching routine. Action was necessary to ensure that Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) could equip teachers more effectively with the relevant intercultural competences, linguistically responsive teaching competences, and the ability to reflect on their own beliefs, cultural and socioeconomic differences. The European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) commissioned a study to learn more about existing approaches to preparing teachers for diversity, at the level of both policy and practice, and about the main conditions for their effectiveness. 

To better understand the existing evidence base, PPMI conducted extensive desk research in multiple languages. This was complemented with a mapping of policies relating to diversity in initial teacher education in 37 European countries, as well as 15 illustrative cases studies on policies/initiatives aimed at preparing student teachers for diversity. PPMI then analysed the data and prepared a synthesis report on its findings, which also included a number of recommendations aimed at policy-makers and ITE providers at Member State level, key EU stakeholders, and relevant actors in improving the evidence base within this field.

This study helped to consolidate existing knowledge across Europe and beyond, and to gather new evidence on the levels of preparation among teachers for diversity in the classroom and in society. It provided concrete directions to policy-makers and ITE providers on ways to improve current ITE programmes to better reflect changing trends in society across Europe, and to better prepare teachers to foster tolerance, respect for diversity and civic responsibility among children and young people in the EU. 

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