07 SES 01 A, Teachers' Views on Diversity
This paper reports results of a longitudinal study in the framework of the government funded research project NOESIS (2010-2017) to evaluate the Austrian school reform program, the “New Middle School” (NMS). The overall goal of the reform is to limit marginalizing processes and to improve transitions and trajectories within an inclusive school setting. The reform suspends tracking in lower secondary schools with the policy goal of alleviating the problems of transition to upper secondary and providing better educational opportunities for all. Within this study the author focused on processes involving immigrant students, known to be more susceptible to marginalization, with a keen interest in questions revolving around teachers’ experience of teaching, acting and interacting in school settings where the heterogeneous set-up of student populations appeared to pose a challenge to inclusive schooling for all.
The paper is concerned about the ways in which school reforms striving for change leave teachers with challenges, potentials, dilemmas and choices. And it is concerned with the “shifting plotlines shaped in the larger society” as they “ripple both into schools and universities”, influencing both the contexts for teachers and students, but also our research and teacher education contexts (Clandinin, Downey & Huber, 2009, p. 142). In schools we catch sight of these shifting plotlines shaped in the larger society, perhaps most visibly in transnational flows of people, in children and youth ‘in-between’, and the diverse networks of relevance they introduce into everyday school life. A few facts and figures help to sketch out most recent flows of people, specifically in the European context. Around 4.8 million people migrated permanently to OECD countries in 2015, above the 2007 peak level and 10% more than in 2014. In 2015, there were 1.65 million new registered asylum seekers in the OECD, a record high. Almost 1.3 million of them came to European OECD countries. Austria, where this research proposal is situated, experienced a steep increase in asylum applications from 25 700 in 2014 to 85 500 in 2015, more than triple (OECD, 2016).
The inquiry is interested in language or vocabularies that serve to render teachers’ experience, and teachers’ being, acting and becoming on shifting landscapes visible, articulable, thinkable, and understandable. As Biesta (2005) affirms, we know at least since Foucault that „discursive practices delineate what can be seen, what can be said, what can be known, what can be thought and, ultimately, what can be done“ (p. 54). This is the reason why language matters in speaking about teachers and their current experiences because the language or vocabularies we have available determine to a large extent „what can be said and done, and thus what cannot be said and done“ (p.54).
Current discourses on, and proposals for, alternative and pioneering languages and metaphors for education, pedagogy and teaching will inform the inquiry. A few examples of such vocabulary include the language of “virtuosity”, the “gift of teaching”, “risk” and “weakness of education” in Biesta’s (2013, 2014, 2015) work, the concept of restrained teaching proposed by Hopmann (2007), and the language of “the offering of teaching” in Rocha’s (2016) Folk phenomenology, and the recent revival of pedagogical tact (Müller, 2015; van Manen, 2015). The research question is what language and which vocabulary lends itself to speak about teachers being, acting, and becoming on shifting landscapes. The working hypothesis guiding the exploratory inquiry is that teachers’ lifeworlds in the tension-laden inter-, multi-, transcultural classrooms (Adick, 2010) can be understood, articulated and theorized from a conceptual stance of the ‘risk’ and the ‘weakness’ of education, and a pedagogical vocabulary along the lines of ‘offering’, tact, and virtue.
Adick, C. (2010). Inter-, multi-, transkulturell: über die Mühen der Begriffsarbeit in kulturübergreifenden Forschungsprozessen. In A. Hirsch & R. Kurt (Hrsg.), Interkultur – Jugendkultur, Bildung neu verstehen (S.105-133). Wiesbaden: Springer. Atkinson, P. & Hammersley, M. (1994). Ethnography and Participant Observation. In N. K., Den-zin & Y. S., Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 248-261). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Biesta, G. (2005). Against learning. Reclaiming a language for education in an age of learning. Nordisk Pedagogik, Vol. 25, 54-66. Biesta, G. (2013) Receiving the Gift of Teaching: From ‘Learning From’ to ‘Being Taught By. In: Studies in Philosophy of Education, Vol. 32, 449-461. Biesta, G. (2014). The Beautiful Risk of Education. London: Paradigm Publishers. Biesta, G. (2015). How does a competent teacher become a good teacher? On judgement, wisdom and virtuosity in teaching and teacher education. In R. Heilbronn & L. Foreman-Peck (Eds.), Philosophical perspectives on the future of teacher education (pp. 3–22). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. Clandinin, D.J., Downey C.A. & Huber, J. (2009) Attending to changing landscapes: Shaping the interwoven identities of teachers and teacher educators , Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 37:2, 141-154 Müller, H. R. (2015). Zur Theorie des Pädagogischen Takts. In D. Burghardt, D. Krinninger & S. Seichter (Hrsg.), Pädagogischer Takt, Theorie – Empirie – Kultur (S. 13-24). Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. Hopmann, S. T. (2007). Restrained Teaching: the common core of Didaktik. European Educational Research Journal, 6(2), 109-124. OECD (2016), International Migration Outlook 2016, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/migr_outlook-2016-en Rocha, S.D. (2016). Folk Phenomenology: Education, Study, and the Human Person. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching Lived Experience; Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. London, Ontario: The Althouse Press. Van Manen, M. (1991). The Tact of Teaching: The Meaning of Pedagogical Thoughtfulness. Ontario: The Althouse Press. Van Manen, M. (2014) Phenomenology of Practice: Meaning-Giving Methods in Phenomenological Research and Writing. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press Van Manen, M. (2015). Pedagogical Tact: Knowing What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
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