07 SES 06 B, Teacher Perceptions
Within a globalised university context, academics have become a highly mobile group and there has been an increase in the cultural diversity present in many faculties and departments, including education. Furthermore, those that draw their workforce from the professions, such as teaching, have experienced a small but not insignificant increase in the number of academics from outside the hegemonic cultural mainstream. In some cases in education these changes signify attempts to diversify the academic population for reasons of social justice, to meet increasing pressures to internationalise the profile of the academic workforce and to bring culturally diverse perspectives to curricula.
In Britain, Europe, Australia and North America there has been a growing interest in the nature of teacher educators as a professional group, their work histories prior to joining academe and their experiences within schools and faculties of education, both as researchers and practitioners (Mayer, Mitchell, Santoro & White, 2011; Murray, Swennen and Shagrir 2008). However, there is very little research that has investigated the professional experiences of academics in the discipline of education who are from minority ethnic and racial groups, despite the increasing international mobility of academics (Maadad 2010; Shaikh 2009; Saltmarsh & Swirski 2010). Little is known about how they experience work in academe, how they draw upon different cultural understandings and practices to shape pedagogical practices and research agendas within the field of education.
The study on which this paper reports will contribute to filling a gap in the literature and will provide empirical evidence from Australia and Britain that will facilitate better understandings of the work of academics from culturally diverse contexts and how they are positioned within academe and particularly, in schools and departments of education.
The research aims to explore the following main concerns:
- What are the professional experiences of culturally diverse teacher educators in Australia and England?
- How does their cultural knowledge inform teacher education curriculum and pedagogy? How does it shape practice and policy within academe?
- What is the nature of their career progression?
Drawing on poststructuralist understandings of identity as multifaceted and evolving (Davies 2000; Reay 2001; Watson 2006), we consider the ways in which ethnic and racialised identities evolve and intersect in complex, and sometimes contradictory ways, to constitute ‘the academic self’. We consider the implications of this on the work of culturally diverse faculty.
Davies, B. 2000. Eclipsing the constitutive power of discourse: The writing of Janette Turner Hospital. In Working the ruins, feminist poststructural theory and methods in education, eds. E. St. Pierre and W. Pillow, 179-222. London: Routledge. Mayer, D., Mitchell, J., Santoro, N. and White, S. (2011) Teacher educators and ‘accidental’ careers in academe: an Australian perspective, Journal of Education for Teaching, 37:3, 247-260. Murray, J., A. Swennen, and L. Shagrir. 2008. Understanding teacher educators’ work and identities. In Becoming a teacher educator, eds. A. Swennen and M. Klink, 29–43. Dordrecht: Springer. Maadad, N. (2010) Cultural Experiences in the workplace of International Academic Staff in a South Australian university. Paper from The 2nd International Conference on Entrepreneurship, Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia 11-12 Oct. Saltmarsh, S. & Swirski, T (2010). ‘Pawns and prawns’: international academics’ observations on their transition to working in an Australian university, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(3), 291-301 Shaikh, S.A. (2009). A survey of migration of academics in higher education and their impact on host institutions. Reflecting Education, 5(1), 16-30. Watson, C. 2006. Narratives of practice and the construction of identity in teaching. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice 12, no. 5: 509–526.
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