07 SES 02 B, Teachers' Beliefs on Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity in student population is a challenge for teachers because they have to deal with a variety of cultures and with interethnic interactions (Pels, 2012), which may cause inequalities in classrooms. In a superdiverse society it is not evident that the school culture fits the home culture and vice versa (Berlet, Bulthuis, Jacobs, Langberg, Wanner & Thijs, 2008). Personal growth, self-deployment, self-reflection and independence are characteristics that students should develop according to the school culture (El Hadioui, 2011) whereas these characteristics are less important in communities with a non-western migrant background where authority of parents, interdependent self-image and obedience are more important (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005; Eldering, 2014). Consequently a misfit may exist between the home and school culture. This misfit, as a result, may impact students’ well-being and school performance. For instance, research by Author (2010) showed that majority students performed better at school than ethnic minorities in the Netherlands. This difference in academic results between Dutch students and students with a migrant background is getting smaller over the years, but still remains, resulting in underestimation and misdiagnosis like learning disabilities of minority students (Santamaria, 2009). Hence, in a multicultural society, teachers should be aware of the challenges of culturally diverse classrooms and, hence, continue their professional development in order to better understand diverse students’ behaviour and the educational needs of various student groups (Banks et al., 2001). Berlet et al. (2008) argue that teachers’ professional development should include learning about diverse cultural backgrounds, cultural history, and existing cultural stereotypes. Moreover, equality in education and supporting identity development of students with a migrant background requires recognition and respect for cultural diverse roots and awareness of teacher’s own ideology and cultural roots (Rissanen, Kuusisto & Kuusisto, 2016). This will make teachers more competent in the area of cultural diversity, which may solve the underperformance, under expectations and misdiagnosis of students.
Professional learning communities (PLCs) are being known to improve teaching practices (Admiraal, Lockhorst & Van der Pol, 2010). In a PLC, teachers can explore different areas of the teaching practice such as how to change the content of a lesson or how to handle issues in a culturally diverse classroom, and share materials and teaching strategies (Brouwer, Brekelmans, Nieuwenhuis & Simons, 2011; Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012). In the present study, we motivate Dutch teachers to work in PLCs to improve multicultural competencies and their abilities in culturally responsive differentiation (CRD).
Poor performance, lack of well-being, underestimation and inequalities of students with a migrant background are crucial reasons to implement culturally responsive differentiation. By collaborating together about teaching and learning, teachers could learn from each other how to be culturally responsive. Participating in a professional learning community (PLC) may therefore help them to address the challenges of a super diverse classroom. In the present study, we investigated whether teachers were able to improve their multicultural competence by working regularly in a professional learning community. The research question of this study is: To what extent and in what way does a PLC improve teachers ‘multicultural competence?
Most studies in the field of multicultural education and culturally responsive teaching have been conducted in the United States (Fylknesnes, 2018). Little is known about the situation in Europe for example. Furthermore, to our knowledge there has not been any research that combines PLCs and professional development in culturally responsive differentiation. The present study was conducted in the Netherlands and may also be relevant for teacher educators and school principals in other countries to promote the professional development of teachers by working in PLC’s to learn how to deal with teaching in cultural divers’ settings.
Fourteen teachers from two Dutch preparatory secondary vocational schools participated in our research from September 2016 until June 2017. The teachers were grouped into PLCs that consisted of three/four teachers from one school each. The PLCs took place at the participating schools at six occasions during one schoolyear, next to a plenary start session and a plenary closing session. During the first PLC meeting teachers received an instructional manual to guide them through the meetings. All teams were instructed to collaborate, share knowledge and teaching practices and to reflect on individual teaching practices about cultural diversity. Furthermore, they had to collaborate on designing a culturally responsive lesson. In the first meeting, all teachers also received a document created by the authors with existing examples of culturally responsive lessons. Investigators were present during two or three PLC meetings were teachers could ask questions. During the plenary closing session teachers presented their work. Moreover, semi-structured interviews with 12 teachers took place. Teachers could subscribe themselves voluntarily for an interview and were asked for informed consent to audio-record the interview. The interviews took place at the schools and lasted 20 to 25 minutes each. The aim was to get a clear view of the teachers’ experience of the PLCs and the learning outcomes on the basis of the teacher professional growth model of Clarke and Hollingsworth (2002). Teachers were asked to describe what they have worked on and how they did that. Then they were asked to describe what the learning outcomes were. Firstly, teachers could answer to an open question and secondly we invited them to point their answer out on a professional growth model and motivate their answer. The interviews were transcribed and then coded, organized and analyzed deductively and inductively in Atlas.ti version 8. The development of our coding scheme comprised different steps. Firstly, existing theories helped us to frame our codebook. Theoretical concepts in the literature about culturally responsive teaching, multicultural education and professional learning communities were used to name codes (e.g., Gay, 2002, 2010 Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012; Ladson-Billings, 1995a, 1995b; Sleegers et al., 2013; Spanierman et al., 2011). Secondly, the interview transcripts were investigated to make a selection in the theoretical concepts. Thirdly, five interview transcripts were coded by two researchers to check for intercoderreliability and to refine the codebook. The statements for which full agreement was not reached wee discussed and recoded.
The majority of the participants in our study reported a change in their attitude and beliefs towards, and knowledge about, cultural diversity while participating in the PLC. However, less teachers mentioned changes in teaching skills and applying culturally responsive differentiation in their classrooms. Teachers seemed to become more conscious of the cultural differences in their classrooms and in society. Some teachers mentioned that the PLC stimulated them to change their teaching practice (skills). For example, a group of five teachers in Rotterdam decided to develop a lesson on actuality to develop critical consciousness in students. Teachers explained that, at first, students had difficulties arguing their points of view when talking about politics for example. Two participants exemplified: ‘The students say that Trump is a jerk, but they cannot explain why they think this’. As actuality is a subject that involves all cultures, the teachers decided to let their students participate in discussions during the first 15 minutes of the lesson to teach their students to discuss their opinion and to listen to and respect opinions of others. A noteworthy result was that a stable PLC group where the whole group (three to four teachers) came together regularly, fostered collaboration between teachers. It was striking that in these stable groups teachers not only shared experiences but also reflected on their lessons and (tried to) developed culturally responsive lessons. This result suggests that teachers that participate in PLCs that are primed to work on CRD are able to develop multicultural competencies, i.e., multicultural attitudes, knowledge ánd skills. A common view amongst teachers was that they had difficulties to put their attitude, beliefs and knowledge about cultural diversity into practice (skills). Teachers mentioned lack of time and the need for more specific examples of how to implement culturally responsive differentiation (e.g. lesson plans).
Admiraal, W., Lockhorst, D., & van der Pol, J. (2012). An expert study of a descriptive model of teacher communities. Learning Environments Research, 15(3), 345-361. doi: 10.1007/s10984-012-9117-3 Banks, J.A., Cookson, P., Gay, G., Hawley, W.D., Irvine, J.J., Nieto, S., ...& Stephan, W. G. (2001). Diversity within unity: Essential principles for teaching and learning in a multicultural society. Phi Delta Kappan, 83(3),196-203. Berlet, I., Bulthuis, F., Jacobs, H., Langberg, M., Wanner P. & Thijs, A.(2008). Omgaan met culturele diversiteit in het onderwijs. Retrieved from, http://www.slo.nl/downloads/2008/Omgaan_20met_20culturele_20diversiteit__webversie.pdf/ Brouwer, P., Brekelmans, M., Nieuwenhuis, L., & Simons, R. J. (2012). Communities of practice in the school workplace. Journal of Educational Administration, 50(3), 346-364. doi: 10.1108/09578231211223347 Clarke, D., & Hollingsworth, H. (2002). Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and teacher education, 18(8), 947-967. doi: 10.1016/S0742-051X(02)00053-7 Fylkesnes, S. (2018). Whiteness in teacher education research discourses: A review of the use and meaning making of the term cultural diversity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 71, 24-33. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2017.12.005 Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education-Washington, 53(2), 106-116. Gay, G. (2010). Classroom practices for teaching diversity. In Educational Research and Innovation (pp. 257-279). Retrieved from, http://www.oecdilibrary.org/docserver/download/9610051e.pdf?expires=1484222946&id=id&accname=ocid194328&checksum=A18A7AC33ED2F6CF9A404ABA7C10448E Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming eaching in every school. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Ladson‐Billings, G. (1995a). But that's just good teaching! The case for ulturally relevant pedagogy. Theory into practice, 34(3), 159-165. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995b). Toward a theory of culturally relevant edagogy. American educational research journal, 32(3), 465-491. Pels, T. (2012). Diversiteit en de pedagogische functie van het onderwijs. edagogiek, 32(2),180-195. Rissanen, I., Kuusisto, E., & Kuusisto, A. (2016). Developing teachers' ntercultural sensitivity: Case study on a pilot course in Finnish teacher ducation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 59, 446-456. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2016.07.018 Santamaria, L.J. (2009). Culturally responsive differentiated instruction: Narrowing gaps between best pedagogical practices benefiting all learners. The Teachers College Record,111(1), 214-247. Sleegers, P., den Brok, P., Verbiest, E., Moolenaar, N. M., & Daly, A. J. (2013). Toward conceptual clarity: A multidimensional, multilevel model of professional learning communities in Dutch elementary schools. The Elementary School Journal, 114(1), 118-137. Spanierman, L. B., Oh, E., Heppner, P. P., Neville, H. A., Mobley, M., Wright, C. V., ... & Navarro, R. (2011). The multicultural teaching competency scale: Development and initial validation. Urban Education, 46(3), 440-464.
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
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
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
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.