This paper aims to explore the intersection of generational traits of millennial teachers, multiculturalism and teaching in an era of Uncertain Times. Uncertain Times, as a framework for the paper, characterizes changing aspects of the current era in which we live, such as the rise of the internet and interconnectivity, globalization and demographic diversity. The examination of millennial traits works to conceptualize how millennial teachers’ generational traits are always in a reciprocal relationship with Uncertain Times.
This paper draws upon life history (Cole and Knowles, 2001; Goodson and Sikes, 2001) and narrative methodologies (Bruner, 2002; Clandinin and Connelly, 2000; Mishler, 1990; Reissman, 2008) as methods appropriate for investigating how millennial teachers understand multicultural teaching in Uncertain Times. In presenting the analysis, a case-centered analysis with the aim of theorizing from the case (Stake, 1995) is pursued.
The paper highlights the complexity of millennial teachers’ openness to diversity and multiculturalism. Three themes are illuminated within the findings: the significance of millennial teachers’ generational ethos in their response to multiculturalism; a commitment to teaching “all students”; and teacher education’s role in re-framing multiculturalism in Uncertain Times.
Millennial teachers may understand diversity and culture through internal processes (belief systems, inclusion, thoughts and feelings) and may also process how the external realities play a part in shaping understandings of diversity. Yet, it may be difficult for them to place the external and the internal in relationship to each other. The paradox that Castells (2010) articulates – of diversity as a uniting but also a dividing force – may be a site of struggle for millennial teachers.
The paper recommends that teacher educators and teacher education programs re-frame multiculturalism in relationship to Uncertain Times, thereby providing novice teachers with ways to nuance their understanding of and commitment to multicultural education today.
Teacher educators and teacher education programs must work to prepare novice teachers for understanding the salience of diversity. This means going beyond an understanding of diversity and multiculturalism as merely honoring difference. Instead, it means placing these concepts in relation to the external context of Uncertain Times. This will assist novice teachers with recognizing the reciprocal relationship between one’s generational ethos and the external context in which one lives.
Throughout this paper, the external context in which teachers live and work is characterized through a framework of Uncertain Times, which depicts changing aspects of the current era in which we live. The following factors have been noted as significant: the rise of the internet and interconnectivity, globalization and demographic diversity. This paper considers how millennial teachers (those entering the teaching force today) consider the salience of multiculturalism in Uncertain Times.
Hallman, H.L. (2017), "Millennial teachers and multiculturalism: considerations for teaching in Uncertain Times", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 194-205. https://doi.org/10.1108/JME-10-2016-0055Download as .RIS
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