Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fifth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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An exploratory study of early career teachers as culturally responsive teachers
Donna Tangen, Denise Ann Beutel, Rebecca Spooner-Lane

Last modified: 24-06-2019


The purpose of this study was to advance understanding on how early career teachers imagined themselves to be culturally responsive and how their beliefs and ideologies about teaching a diverse range of learners were challenged and refined during their early years of teaching. This qualitative, exploratory study was conducted in a large, secondary school in eastern Australia that has a highly diverse population of students. Findings indicate that, while these early career teachers lacked preparation for working with diverse learners,  building relationships on multiple levels (with students, with fellow beginning teachers, and with senior staff which includes ongoing support and mentoring from colleagues) is essential for the development of early career teachers as culturally responsive practitioners. Findings are discussed in relation to Garmon’s (2005) six key factors for teaching diverse groups of students: openness, self-awareness, commitment to social justice, having intercultural experiences, have support group experiences, and recognising individual growth.  These findings have implications for schooling systems in how they can better transition early career teachers to classrooms and for higher education teacher preparation programs in Australia and many other countries with a growing number migrant and refugee students coming into the school system.

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