Future pre-school teachers trained to deal with diversity
New materials are being introduced to 14 university colleges across Flanders to help student teachers understand the challenges of diversity and poverty in pre-schools
Little Kids, Big Opportunities
Education experts have for some time been emphasising that teachers often don’t know how to handle the increasing diversity in schools. About 130,000 children in Flanders live in poverty.
Teachers often see children with concentration problems as disinterested or lazy, but the reason can be as simple as an unbalanced diet, Crevits pointed out. Children can also be unaware of common words in Dutch because they don’t speak Dutch at home. Parents also often avoid contact with teachers and schools because of language challenges.
“It’s essential to introduce teachers to diversity and poverty issues during their studies and their first year in the classroom,” said Crevits. The earlier signals are recognised, the better the chance that children can overcome these problems, she said.
Methods and materials will be developed to support teacher educators, new teachers and future teachers. Every team at university colleges will create a customised plan to make adjustments in their studies. Klasse, the Flemish education department’s multimedia platform, will set up a campaign to convince teachers to use the tools and methods provided.
Photo courtesy Gazet van Antwerpen
million school-going children in 2013
million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013
percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma