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Abstract

In a climate that acknowledges the need for teacher educators to prepare new teachers for culturally diverse student bodies, the study examines the extent to which selected features of an urban school environment affect a preservice teacher's willingness to teach in the school. A survey was administered to 48 preservice teachers after they completed a 7-week student teaching experience in a large urban school district. The survey sample was drawn from a northeastern university which enrolls 90% Caucasian education students. The study pursues the following research questions: does race/ethnicity, gender, program level, school location and major relate to the preservice teachers' willingness to teach in the urban school? What school environment factors have the strongest association with preservice teachers' willingness to teach in the school? Is preservice teachers' willingness to teach in a school related to their perceptions of a culturally responsive school environment? Survey results show that willingness to teach in the school is moderate and positively related to preservice teachers' perception that the school climate is culturally responsive. However these perceptions concerning willingness and responsive climate do not appear to hold for the relationship between willingness and culturally responsive teaching. Interpreting these results, the author raises additional questions for research regarding preservice teachers' understanding of cultural diversity as well as their perception of the need for culturally responsive teaching.

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