07 SES 09 A, Minority Teachers Part 1
Paper Session to be continued in 07 SES 11 A
Over the last few decades, there have been huge changes in the European social and political landscape by European integration efforts, intensified interconnectedness and increased migration flows within Europe and beyond. Against this background, the question arises whether these developments lead to new potentials for the teaching profession: Teachers with belonging structures beyond national borders may bring an open orientation in dealing with diversity into schools that may contribute to schools becoming increasingly ready for their diverse student population (Donlevy, Meierkord, & Rajania, 2016).
Studies have shown that there are indeed numerous indications for such a potential (Mantel & Leutwyler, 2013; Santoro, 2013). However, many questions have remained open. One of them is the question on who actually does or does not develop what kind of potential and how this potential is translated into the pedagogical orientation. Therefore, the presented study investigates the following research questions:
- What kind of pedagogical orientations towards dealing with national-ethnic-cultural diversity is connected to having experiences with an international migration history?
- What kind of belonging constructions go along with these pedagogical orientations?
The objective of this research is to gain a differentiated picture about this assumed potential in order to deduce consequences for the support of teachers in their pre-service and in-service education.
As theoretical framework, a social constructivist approach has been chosen: Wimmer (2013) has only recently published an interesting theory on ‘ethnic boundary making’ – drawing on the theories by Weber (1921-1922), Bourdieu (1983) and Barth (1969) – that has proven to be highly rewarding as a ‘sensitising concept’ (Glaser, 1978) for the analysis of this study. Questions of belonging are conceptualised as a dynamic process, in which the social world is divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Depending on the individuals’ position within power relations and depending on their way of dealing with these social dynamics, different belonging constructions are being experienced. These belonging constructions may refer to ethnicity, nationality or culture as well as to other categorisations such as socioeconomic class, religion or gender, which often become relevant in an intertwined way (Crenshaw, 1991; Walgenbach, 2011).
Concerning the methodology, a qualitative approach has been pursued, generating the data with biographical-narrative interviews according to Schütze (1983), following the logics of ‘theoretical sampling’ by Glaser and Strauss (1998 ). The sample comprises 19 respondents having been interviewed for about 4 to 7 hours each, usually divided into two meetings. All respondents are teachers on the primary school level in the German speaking part of Switzerland, and they differ in their countries of family origin, teaching experience, socioeconomic background, age, gender as well as different aspects of ascription such as skin colour and ‘foreign-sounding’ surnames. The data was analysed with hermeneutical approaches according to Schütze (1983), adding insights provided by Rosenthal (1995). The analytical scheme by Schütze has been chosen, as it is particularly rewarding with its distinction between ‘active behaving’ (‘aktives Handeln’) and ‘reactive suffering’ (‘reaktives Erleiden’) of individuals. This distinction allows a differentiated analyses of the teachers’ ways of dealing with difference and belonging which includes moments of ‘non-acting’ (‘nicht-handeln’) or – using Schütze’s terminology – of ‘suffering’ (‘erleiden’).
The outcome shows that there are at least three different types that can be identified. These types show different kinds of pedagogical orientations in dealing with diversity, that are closely linked to their family migration history, the experienced boundary making that came along with it as well as the constructions of belonging that they have developed. Interestingly, there is a gap between their potential of dealing with diversity and their actual realisation of it in their pedagogical orientation. This gap can be explained as restriction that derives from the fact that their migration history leads to precarised forms of belonging. These experiences of precarity in their belonging within the Swiss society and of uncertainty in their recognition as teachers hinders them to exploit their full potential. From these findings at least two consequences for teacher education can be deduced: There is evidence that the potential that can indeed be found, needs more support to be seen, reflected upon and brought into practice. However, above all, this study shows that there is a great need to sensitise the majority teachers and the majority in general. It largely depends on their attitude and behaviour, whether diverse teachers will find fuller recognition and will therefore experience the necessary conditions to bring their resources into practice.
Barth, F. (1969). Introduction. In F. Barth (Ed.), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference (pp. 9-38). London: Allen & Unwin. Bourdieu, P. (1983). Ökonomisches Kapital, kulturelles Kapital, soziales Kapital. In R. Kreckel (Ed.), Soziale Ungleichheiten (pp. 183-198). Göttingen: Otto Schwartz & Co. Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1299. Donlevy, V., Meierkord, A., & Rajania, A. (2016). Study on the Diversity within the Teaching Profession with Particular Focus on Migrant and/or Minority Background. Final Report to DG Education and Culture of the European Commission. Brussels: European Union. Glaser, B. G. (1978). Theoretical Sensitivity. Advances in the Methodology of Grounded Theory. Mill Valley: The Sociology Press. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1998 ). Grounded Theory. Strategien qualitativer Forschung [engl. Orig.: The Discovery of Grounded Theory]. Bern: Verlag Hans Huber. Mantel, C., & Leutwyler, B. (2013). Lehrpersonen mit Migrationshintergrund: eine kritische Synthese der Literatur. Beiträge zur Lehrerbildung, 31(2), 234-247. Rosenthal, G. (1995). Erlebte und erzählte Lebensgeschichte. Gestalt und Struktur biographischer Selbstbeschreibungen. Frankfurt/Main: Campus. Santoro, N. (2013). The drive to diversify the teaching profession: narrow assumptions, hidden complexities. Race Ethnicity and Education, 1-19. Schütze, F. (1983). Biographieforschung und narratives Interview. Neue Praxis, 13(3), 283-293. Walgenbach, K. (2011). Intersektionalität als Analyseparadigma kultureller und sozialer Ungleichheiten. In J. Bilstein, J. Ecarius & E. Keiner (Eds.), Kulturelle Differenzen und Globalisierung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Weber, M. (1921-1922). Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Wimmer, A. (2013). Ethnic boundary making. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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