07 SES 01 A, Teachers' Views on Diversity
Culturally diverse schools have become a reality in Europe. This requires formal education to enhance its sensitivity and competence on cultural diversity in order to promote inclusion and well-being and widespread school effectiveness and achievement (Alleman-Ghionda, 2009): therefore, teachers play a crucial role. Moreover, according to OECD (2010), there is a lack of research on how teachers deal with diversity and what their needs in terms of training in this field are. Finally, studies on teachers’ beliefs about cultural diversity show ‘significant gaps in the body of knowledge’ (Gay, 2015) and according to Biesta, Priestley & Robinson (2015), teachers’ beliefs highly influence their agency.
Teachers’ beliefs have intensely been studied during the last years by psychologists and sociologists: several authors contributed defining beliefs as implicit or explicit, stable or dynamic or understanding them as individual or a part of a system. The result is a messy and inconsistent construct (Fives & Buhel, 2012) that we would like to clarify trough the research theoretical level.
In addition, we also refer to the Model in Pedagogy (Dalle Fratte, 1986; Agostinetto, 2013), that is a helpful lead to follow in planning educational activities and it is also useful in order to verify the coherence of the transition between purposes and actions in all the educational events.
The incongruity in the academic success between students from native and non-native families (OECD, 2012) and the highest in Europe teachers’ needs for professional development for teaching in a multicultural setting (OECD, 2015) should be considered as evidence of a significant gap between what the theoretical acquisitions are and their practical achievement. The transition from theory to practice has always been considered one of the most difficult and crucial points in all educational events, so the question is “what happens in this transition?” Among all the things that could meddle, we chose to focus on beliefs. The focus of the research is the relation between the teachers’ beliefs about diversity, and their teaching activities. Moreover, the purpose is studying the meaning of the belief in the educational context and in reference to the diversity content: the aim of the research is investigating both the theoretical and the empirical levels.
AbdallahPretceille M. (2013). L'education interculturelle. Paris: Presses Universitaires De France – Puf. Agostinetto, L. (2013). Educare. Epistemologia pedagogica, logica formativa e pratica educativa, Lecce: Pensa MultiMedia Editore. Alleman Ghionda, C. (2009). “From Intercultural Education to the Inclusion of Diversity: Theories and Policies in Europe.” In The Routledge International Companion to Multicultural Education, edited by J.A. Banks. London: Routledge. Biesta G., Priestley M., Robinson S. (2015). The role of beliefs in teacher agency (pp. 624-640). In Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Volume 21, Issue 6, 2015. Special Issue: Teachers’ Professional Agency in Contradictory Times. Taylor & Francis. Fives, H., Buhel, M. (2012), Spring cleaning for the “messy” construct of teachers’ beliefs: what are they? Which have been examined? What can they tell us? In Educational Psychology Handbook: Vol. 2. Individual Differences and Cultural and Contextual Factors, K. R. Harris, S. Graham, and T. Urdan. Gay G. (2015), Teachers’ Beliefs about Cultural Diversity. Problems and Possibilities. In Fives H., Gill M. G., International Handbook of Research on Teachers’ Beliefs. New York: Routledge. OECD (2010). Closing the Gap for Immigrant Students: Policies, Practice and Performance. Paris: OECD. OECD (2012). https://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/PISA-2012-results-italy.pdf OECD (2015). Helping immigrant students to succeed at school – and beyond. Paris: OECD.
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