The Public Policy and Management Institute (PPMI) has published the findings of a cross European study for the European Commission on "How Initial Teacher Education prepares student teachers to deal with diversity in the classroom". Prof Paul A. Bartolo, with the collaboration of staff from the Faculty of Education, was assigned the task to first report on the Maltese experience in this regard as well as to contribute one of 15 case studies in relation to teacher education in responding to diversity.
The final report of the study is available online.
Even though the diversity found in European societies is not a new phenomenon, its nature is rapidly changing. Europe is becoming increasingly diverse due to intra-European mobility, international migration and globalisation. These societal changes affect the educational landscape and organisation, and create both new opportunities and challenges for schools and other educational institutions. Recent studies show that intolerance and social exclusion are increasing both in schools and in society. The growing number of refugee, asylum seeker and migrant children entering Europe places specific demands on schools and teachers. Teachers and schools need to be able to provide support to newly arrived pupils, to address the specific needs of all learners, and to foster tolerance, respect for diversity and civic responsibility in all school communities.
The study sought to consolidate the existing knowledge base and to gather evidence on the way student teachers are prepared for diversity in the classroom. It examined the policies on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) for diversity and the way they are translated into practice in 28 EU Member States, EU candidate countries and EFTA States. The literature review also reflects on successful practices identified in non-EU countries (such as the US and Canada). The study primarily focused on how ITE prepares student teachers for diversity in primary and secondary education. The study also looked at the extent to which induction programmes can better prepare future teachers for diversity in the classroom. In addition, the study maps existing strategies on the preparation of teacher educators working in ITE providers and in schools, as well as teacher educators and mentors responsible for student teachers’ practical training or induction.