Minority teacher preparation in an ex-urban setting: The UTOP case study

Perry Richard Rettig, Marquette University


The purpose of this study was to examine a sample of the minority students from an ex-urban, upper Midwest community who were enrolled in a private college Urban Teacher Outreach Program (UTOP). This study sought to: (1) identify the sources of support used by these students; (2) identify the difficulties faced by the students to continue in the UTOP; and (3) describe student concerns about linguistic and other forms of cultural bias in standardized tests these students had encountered in the UTOP. The sample included fifteen students (four Hispanics and eleven Southeast Asians--primarily Hmong). Each participant was given an informational questionnaire in order to gather demographic data, as well as to assist in the development of interview themes. Interviews were then conducted with each participant. Cross-case analysis revealed that family played a key role in the support systems of all the individuals. Family support primarily came from spouses, children, and parents of the students. The assistance of informally recognized mentors was also important. The participants desired the help of mentors, either formal or informal. The students' own cultures, limited financial resources, and child-care were minor obstacles identified by some. Very clearly, linguistic bias, especially for the Southeast Asians, was the primary concern identified by the students. English was the second language for all the Southeast Asian students. Their English vocabularies were limited. Many of them continued to think and write in their native languages, and therefore translated lectures, text readings, and tests. Timed standardized tests thus were a difficult barrier for these students to overcome. Likewise, these same examinations may have actually measured more the students' English skills than their knowledge of the content being measured. The conclusions were as follows: (1) Family members were the main source of support for these students; (2) A mentoring program would be beneficial; (3) The students' cultures, financial resources, and child-care were only minor concerns; (4) While limited English vocabulary was somewhat of a concern for the Hispanic students, it was clearly the major concern for the Southeast Asian students; and (5) Timed standardized tests were biased in the view of the students.

Recommended Citation

Rettig, Perry Richard, "Minority teacher preparation in an ex-urban setting: The UTOP case study" (1994). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9505911.