Identifying training needs for multicultural education of pre-school teachers : a Singapore case study
The purpose of this study is to Identify the training needs for multicultural education of pre-school teachers In Singapore. There are two tasks involved in this study. The first task Is to Investigate the concepts and issues related to multicultural education and pre-school teacher education In the context of Singapore. The second task is to use the results of the investigation in the first task as input for the design of a framework for a multicultural component to be conducted In the teacher-training program for preschool teachers in Singapore. While a review of related local and international literature was done to meet the first task, a survey was conducted to meet the second task. The survey was aimed at answering the overall research question, that is, What do pre-schoolteachers in Singapore already know or understand about multicultural education? The overall research question was further broken down into sub-research questions from which items for the questionnaire were drawn. A sample of about 60 pre-school teachers was selected and asked to complete the questionnaire to ascertain their level of understanding of and experience in multicultural education and its importance in early childhood, as well as their views on what they thought were the training needs In multicultural education for pre-school teachers. The data collected were analyzed using the Information gathered from the review of related local and International literature. The data showed that while most teachers believe that multicultural education is important and should be taught in the early years, they have a simplistic, narrow or superficial understanding of multiculturalism and multicultural education. The data also showed that while some teachers have a positive experience in multicultural environments and with multicultural people, their knowledge and experience was superficial and limited. Finally, the data also showed that the teachers agreed that a multicultural component be incorporated in the pre-schoolteachers-training program. These findings are Important in identifying the needs of pre-school teachers in Singapore as well as to develop a framework to meet their needs. This framework would then provide the basis for designing the multicultural component in the pre-school teacher-training program. This study could lead to further research on meeting the needs of pre-school teachers in other areas of teacher-training, as well as meeting the needs of preschool teachers in other teacher-training institutes in or outside Singapore. It could also lead to a new research on the effectiveness of the component on multicultural education for pre-school teachers.