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Ridenour-Wildman, Shannon Lynn. “A comparative study of indigenous content of multicultural teacher education textbooks in Canada and the United States.” Ph.D. Diss., The University of Oklahoma, 2004.


To better understand the manner in which teachers learn to conduct multicultural education, this study will examine multicultural textbooks used in multicultural teacher education courses in Canada and the United States. To address the issues of content, comparison, and implications effectively, this study is guided by the following questions: how are teacher education textbooks in Canada and the United States addressing issues of diversity as they pertain to cultural commonalities in indigenous populations; and what, if any, are the variations in content that address indigenous groups in textbooks within both countries?

This study involves a qualitative content analysis focusing on multicultural teacher education textbooks from Canada and the United States that have been used in Education courses. These textbooks (7 from Canada, 6 from the United States) span over a period of 20 years and were either listed on a course syllabus or confirmed as being in use by a professor. The study examines themes regarding indigenous world view and cultural commonalities as present in these textbooks. This study aims to contribute to a greater understanding of how indigenous groups, their culture, and their education are depicted in Canadian and American textbooks and how these textbooks address indigenous concerns similarly or differently.

This study found that there was a reasonably good discussion of cultural commonalities in terms of social, historical and political issues facing the indigenous population in both countries. However, the discussion of indigenous worldviews was nonexistent in Canadian textbooks and only found in one United States textbook in varying editions. For classroom teachers, this signifies a serious lack of a basic framework for understanding why their indigenous students see the world differently than they do.

This study includes a discussion of: multiculturalism in the Canadian and American contexts; a review of relevant literature concerning multicultural education research in Canada and the United States; a survey of the indigenous content of the textbooks;

This study focused on only two countries. Research on other countries could provide more information on the varied approaches to multicultural teacher knowledge presented across the globe. Similarly, studies interviewing professors to discuss what information they provide to their students about specific cultural groups through supplemental reading and other media could provide deeper insight into how students are prepared for teaching multicultural education. Further research could also examine what professors and students think is missing regarding content in multicultural teacher preparation courses.

Mary Chaktsiris