10 SES 06 B, Inquiry and Action Research for Teacher Learning: Examples from Netherlands, Turkey and Finland
In many countries around the world, teaching in culturally diverse context puts higher demands on teachers than teaching in mainstream classes because of all differences in cultural background. Many teachers teaching in such a classroom are concerned because they lack confidence and feel inadequately prepared to teach diverse students (Duhon and Manson, 2000; Hollins & Torres-Guzman, 2005). The cultural diversity in the classroom requires teachers to adapt their knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the challenges that emerge in these diverse contexts, so that the students in their classes are stimulated to learn (Ladson-Billings, 1995). In our previous research in the Dutch culturally diverse Senior Secondary Vocational Education and Training (SSVET), we found that teachers find it difficult to adapt to the cultural diversity of their classrooms. Many of the problems the teachers mentioned seemed related to cultural background due to differences in perspectives between the teachers and students. Specifically, we found a lack of communication between students and teachers as cause of conflicts and misunderstandings. Teachers found it difficult to consider different perspectives when dealing with students from a different cultural background. The students did not work optimal during collaborative learning due to their different perspectives about collaboration. Cultural background influences students’ perceptions and perspectives ( 'Author’ et al., 2003; Nguyen, 2008; 'Author’, 2012) in ways that are additional to the prevailing differences in perceptions between teachers and students. Considerable research in mainstream classes finds that teachers perceive their classroom relationship with their students differently than how their students perceive it ('Author’, 2005; Wubbels, 2005; Fisher and Fraser, 2006). However, in culturally diverse classrooms these differences appear even larger, and differences in perception also exist between different cultural groups. Many teachers are not even aware of those differences nor of their own perspectives. Many problems teachers encounter in multicultural classroom have to do with not being able to take different perspectives and being culturally insensitive. Teachers in culturally diverse classrooms should make sure that several cultural perspectives are presented whenever any issue is covered, and they must be able to view things from different perspectives and show multiperspectivity (Pinto, 2000; Banks and Banks, 2010), as one of the pillars of successful culturally diverse education. Professional development is a crucial component in nearly every modern proposal for educational improvement (Guskey, T.R and Huberman, E, 1995). Teacher inquiry is often seen as a potentially effective strategy for encouraging professional development and a very applicable strategy for teachers to become aware of the different perspectives that are inherent in culturally diverse classrooms, it may improve their multiperspectivity. For example, interviewing students about their perspectives might help teachers to bridge the different perspectives on the behavior of the students they encounter in their culturally diverse classrooms. There is little literature on teachers’ own inquiry in multicultural classrooms and even less on such research with a focus on multiperspectivity. The present paper aims to provide insight into the use of teacher inquiry for strengthening teachers’ multiperspectivity for the purpose of understanding their actual practice in the culturally diverse classroom. This study was situated in the context of an intervention trajectory that was conducted with teachers of a large culturally diverse SSVET school (over 80% of students have a non-Western European background), in the southern part of The Netherlands. Strengthening of teachers’ multiperspectivity can thus be very valuable
The central research question is: What do teachers report to learn from conducting teacher inquiry aimed at strengthening their multiperspectivity in multicultural classrooms?
Seven teachers, all teaching culturally diverse classrooms in different departments at the SSVET school, were contacted to participate voluntarily. The teachers wanted to expand their skills to face the challenges that emerge in their multicultural classrooms and to improve their classroom management. The school’s principal assisted in contacting the teachers and gave consent to work with the teachers. The teachers did not have experience with the practice of teacher inquiry activities. The intervention consisted of five sessions of three hours each, spread over a period of five months, in which the participating teachers explored a chosen problem they encountered in their multicultural classrooms and reflected systematically on it. During the intervention the participants worked in small groups of two or three teachers that they themselves formed, based on their common interest in the issues they mentioned in a semi-structured interview before the intervention started. Based on the inquiry cycles (Dana, N. F., Thomas, C., & Boynton, S., 2011). the five intervention meetings were organized with each meeting, as follows, specifically focusing on: meeting nr 1.formulating a question/developing a wondering, meeting nr. 2. collecting data, meeting nr. 3. analyzing data, meeting nr. 4.taking action, and meeting nr. 5.sharing findings. The empirical part of the research was structured as follows: First, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with all the teachers involved in this study before the start of the intervention. In these interviews, questions probed for problems they encountered during their lessons in culturally diverse classrooms and their expectations of the intervention. Second, directly after the last meeting of the intervention, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with the seven teachers. A variety of interview questions were asked in accordance with the inquiry cycle and Clarke and Hollingsworth’s Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth (2002) to determine the learning outcomes of a professional development trajectory. The interviews were later transcribed verbatim. To answer the research questions, the transcripts of the semi-structured entry and exit interviews conducted with teachers were coded using the software tool Atlas Ti (version 7.1.4). A coding scheme was developed to analyze the interview transcripts (Miles and Huberman, 1994). The four domains of change identified by Clarke and Hollingsworth (2002) – namely personal domain, domain of practice, domain of consequence, and external domain – were used as super categories at the starting point in coding the interview responses by the teachers.
Based on the results, we can draw the conclusion that the development of multiperspectivity was fairly successful for some teachers. As the results show, the “expected learning outcomes”, the “actual learning outcomes”, and the “link between teachers’ inquiry-based activities and teachers’ learning outcomes”, several teachers demonstrated in their comments a better understanding of their practice and the strengthening of their multiperspectivity, which could be considered a prerequisite for teachers of culturally diverse classrooms. As an example, Teacher Jane said at the end: “You see, my colleagues and I need this. That background information works very well. Then you just look at things much differently!” Another focus of this study was whether the teachers in this context could be successful in conducting inquiry-based activities. Our results showed a variation in the way teachers conducted the inquiry-based activities. There seems to be a correlation between their active participation in conducting inquiry-based activities and the richness of their data gathering, on the one hand, and their development of multiperspectivity, on the other hand. More active participation and rich data gathering generated more multiperspectivity. Although the teachers did not expect so much from inquiry as an activity, Peter reported how valuable conducting inquiry was for him in order to change his attitude toward his students. As can be seen in the following quotation by him, interviewing students as a part of the teacher inquiry helped him to become more interested in them. Peter: “And I have asked the students in recent weeks some things that have nothing to do with school. ‘How is it at home? Do you have fun here? How are you doing this year?’ etc. So really, just things not specifically to do with school results, but very occasionally you break through to someone and then comes all the information.”
Banks, J. A. & Banks, C. A. M. (2010). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. John Wiley & Sons. Clarke, D. & Hollingsworth, H. (2002). Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 947-967. Dana, N. F., Thomas, C., & Boynton, S. (2011). Inquiry: A districtwide approach to staff and student learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Duhon, G. & Manson, T. (2000). Implications for teacher education: Cross-ethnic and cross-racial dynamics of instruction. Lewiston, NY, Mellen. Fisher, D. L. & Fraser, B. J. (2006). A comparison of actual and preferred classroom environments as perceived by science teachers and students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 20(1), 55-61. Forsman, L. (2012). Investigating the cultural dimension in foreign language education - from transmission of facts to dialogical uptake. Educational Action Research, 20(4), 483-496. Guskey, T.R & Huberman, E (1995) Professional development in education: New paradigms andpractices . New York: Teachers College Press. Hollins, E. & Torres-Guzman, M. E. ( 2005). The preparation of candidates for teaching diverse student populations. In M. C. Smith & K. Zeichner (Eds.), Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education (pp. 201–225). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. London & Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Nguyen, P. M. (2008). Culture and cooperation: Cooperative learning in Asian Confucian heritage cultures - The case of Vietnam. Institute of Education (IVLOS). Utrecht: Utrecht University. Wubbels, T. (2005). Student perceptions of teacher–student relationships in class. International Journal of Educational Research, 43, 1-5.
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.