Investigating the cultural competence of preservice teachers: comparisons and considerations

Suzanne Elizabeth Macqueen, Ruth Reynolds, Kate Ferguson-Patrick


Cultural competence is an important skill for 21st century teaching and learning, and as such it features in various international teacher standards and accreditation documents.  Teachers must be culturally competent so they can cater for diversity in their classrooms, and so they can prepare their students to live and work in a global economy/environment.  Preparing preservice teachers for this role is not a particularly easy task, made more difficult given that diversity among teachers does not always match diversity of students in schools; and cultural competence is a contested concept.  In this paper we consider issues in the assessment of cultural competence from the research literature and focus on findings from one survey with preservice teachers at a regional university in Australia.  Comparing these data with findings from an earlier study of American preservice teachers, we discuss significant differences from the two cohorts in responses to some survey items. Some findings raises issues around the suitability of cultural competence instruments across different contexts.


Cultural Competence, Assessment, Preservice Teachers, Diversity, Teacher Education

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