01 SES 04 C, Collaborative Knowledge Building for Equity in Education
Over the last two decades many countries have grappled with the persistent problem of differential achievement between groups of students related to the students’ ethnicity, language, culture and socio-economic backgrounds (UNESCO, 2014). There have been many calls for teachers to practice in ways that lead to equitable outcomes for students. However, what does it really mean to teach for equity? What does this look like in practice? How can we develop shared understandings of what ‘to teach for equity’ looks like? How can we build teacher and teacher educator knowledge to transform practice towards teaching for equity?
Such questions have particular significance in Auckland, New Zealand (the context of this study) because of the increasing diversity of its population. According to the 2013 Census, the Auckland region accounted for approximately 11% of those who identified as Māori and two-thirds of New Zealand’s Pasifika population. Auckland is also the most culturally diverse region with 39% of Aucklanders born overseas, compared with 18.2% in the rest of New Zealand.
Our first step towards answering these questions involved a cross-international analysis of programmes of empirical research or syntheses of major programmes of research in order to identify teaching practices that promote equitable learner outcomes – broadly conceived to include social, emotional, civic, critical and academic outcomes. We limited our review to programmes/syntheses that worked from a complex, non-linear view of teaching and its outcomes. Our task in undertaking this analysis was two fold. First, we analysed international evidence about teaching practices that have a positive influence on students’ learning outcomes and opportunities. Second, we compared and contrasted the results of these analyses to determine commonalities across the findings from these different research programmes/syntheses in terms of teaching practice that has a positive influence on diverse students’ learning outcomes and opportunities. From this analysis we identified six facets of practice for equity (Grudnoff et al., 2015). These are:
(i) selecting worthwhile content and designing and implementing learning opportunities aligned to valued learning outcomes.
(ii) connecting to students’ lives and experiences
(iii) creating learning-focused, respectful and supportive learning environments
(iv) using evidence to scaffold learning and improve teaching
(v) adopting an inquiry stance and taking responsibility for further professional engagement and learning.
(vi) recognizing and challenging classroom, school and societal practices that reproduce inequity
We conceptualised these facets of practice as general principles rather specific strategies or behaviours, consistent with the notion that teaching, learning, and learning to teach are complex processes that are not fully predictable or linear (Cochran-Smith et al., 2014; Cochran-Smith et al., 2016).
The next step in our research around how to teach for equity was to explore the nature of these facets of practice for equity in the practice of some New Zealand primary school teachers – to build a rich understanding of the facets of practice for equity in context. As a collaborative inquiry community composed of teachers and teacher educators we wished to build, utilise, and share knowledge of practice for the successful teaching of learners from priority student groups. The collaborative inquiry community has brought together the different knowledge that teachers and teacher educators hold to build shared knowledge about a central problem of practice: what does it mean to teach for equity and how can this knowledge be used to transform practice? This stage of our research is the focus of this presentation. The questions underpinning the research are: What might the facets of practice look like in the practice of some New Zealand primary teachers? Do the facets derived from research literature capture the essentials of teaching for equity in New Zealand primary schools?
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., Grudnoff, L., Haigh, M., Hill, M., & Ludlow, L. (2016). Initial teacher education: what does it take to put equity at the center? Teaching and Teacher Education. 57, 67-78. Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., Ludlow, L., Grudnoff, L., Haigh, M., & Hill, M. (2014). When complexity theory meets critical realism: A platform for research on initial teacher education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 41(1), 105-122. Edwards, P., O’Mahoney, J. & Vincent, S. (2014). Studying organizations using Critical Realism: A practical guide. Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665525.001.0001 Grudnoff, L., Hill, M.F., Haigh, M., Cochran-Smith, M. Ell, F., & Ludlow, L. (2015, April 16–20).Teaching for equity: Insights from international evidence. Presented at American Education Research Association, Chicago, IL. Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2003). Knowledge building. In J. W. Guthrie (Ed.), Encyclopedia of education (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Macmillan Reference, USA. UNESCO. (2014). Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all. Author. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. London: Harvard University Press.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
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Network 10. Teacher Education Research
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Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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