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A LONGITUDINAL MEASURE OF THE PERCEPTUAL IMPACT OF A CULTURAL DIVERSITY TEACHING PRACTICUM ON THE INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCY OF STUDENT TEACHERS Lloyd C Bell Associate Professor University of Nebraska Abstract The purpose of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal effect of a planned in school practicum experience addressing cultural diversity on the self perception of student teachers regarding their interpersonal competency in such situations Subjects of the study were eighteen student teachers of agricultural education and six student teachers of family and consumer science enrolled in the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Human Resources and Family Sciences respectively Evaluation was accomplished through the administration of a multi cultural attitudinal inventory to all subjects prior to immediately after and at least one year after the experience Subscale evaluation included the areas of teaching skills knowledge of cultural diversity teacher student relationships and cultural awareness Findings of the s t u d y indicated perceptual change of interpersonal competency occurred within subjects in all subscale areas measured The area of greatest gain was teacher student relationships The area of least gain and regression over time was cultural awareness Introduction Theoretical Framework develop democratic racial attitudes and behaviors Because they bring their own cultural perspectives values hopes and dreams to the classroom they are in a position to strongly influence the views conceptions and behaviors of students Banks 1995 p 333 The rapid change in the ethnic demographics of the United States has made diversity one of the most significant social facts of this society No longer is the occasion for an inter cultural encounter most likely when one leaves ones own country Avery 1992 p 3 Banks 1994 identifies four categories of knowledge in which teachers require a solid background in order to acquire attitudes perceptions and

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