Addressing Linguistic Diversity from the Outset

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Schools of education typically prepare their prospective teachers to work with amorphous “average students”—who are by implication middle class, native, English speaking, and White. They are then given some limited opportunities to adapt these understandings to students with diverging profiles—children of poverty, second language learners, and students of color. The authors argue that given the changing demographics of public schools, initial teacher education should be based on the understandings that teachers typically do not receive until the end of their programs or in add-on endorsements. They should be prepared from the outset to work with the wide diversity of language, culture, and class that they are likely to meet in public schools. Ten recommendations are presented for “What Every Teacher Should Do” to work effectively in the linguistically and culturally diverse settings they are likely to encounter.