Tag Archives: culture

025 – Using a cultural lens to explore challenges and issues in culturally diverse schools for Teach First beginning teachers: implications for future teacher training – Dr Alison Hramiak

Presenter: Dr Alison Hramiak, Owen 429, ext 6023 A.Hramiak@shu.ac.ukTheme: Supporting StudentsAnticipated outcomes: Dissemination of innovative good practice that better prepares students for placements by developing courses that better suit their requirements.

Session outline (or abstract):

This short paper explores the challenges and issues faced by Teach First teachers during their first year of teaching in a culturally diverse school, and describes the strategies they employ to overcome them. Using a variety of methods, both qualitative and quantitative data are collected, focussing on the perspectives of the teachers over the course of the academic year. Three common themes emerged from the findings; firstly, there is evidence from all data sets that cultural challenges exist for the participants, and that they have developed strategies for overcoming them during the course of the year. Secondly, the cultural gap revealed by the data is not necessarily seen as one between staff and pupils, but exists more between curriculum and pupils. Thirdly, while cultural differences have caused some problems for the participants, they have come to recognise that although they cannot change the whole culture of the school and its pupils, they can make a difference in their classrooms. The cultural lens provided ideas to better prepare future trainees for this type of situation in schools, and also added to a growing body of knowledge in this area. This in turn enables us to develop our future courses for such trainees in ways that better suit them, with more appropriate curriculum topics, and prepare them better for placement in doing so. Such enhanced preparation would also be applicable to other teacher training routes, and as such could be extrapolated to other situations such as PGCEs and Schools Direct Initial Teacher Education. In better preparing our own trainees for their work in schools, we might also better prepare ourselves as HE tutors in teacher training – an aspect of this work that would be worth further study. To engage with these changes, we may need to see culture differently, than we have previously done, and raise our awareness, and those of our trainees to the issues that might arise in situations like the one described here.

Session activities for engagement:

Interactive power point presentation that includes some short activities for audience to get them thinking about their own course and practice and how they might improve this in the light of the findings from this study.


AU, K. H. & BLAKE, K. M. 2003. Cultural Identity and Learning to Teach in a Diverse Community. Journal of Teacher Education, 54, 192-205.

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BRUNER, J. 1996. The Culture of Education, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.

EUN, B. 2011. A Vygotskian theory-based professional development: implications for culturally diverse classrooms. Professional Development in Education, 37, 319-333.

GAY, G. 2010. Acting on Beliefs in Teacher Education for Cultural Diversity. Journal of Teacher Education, 61, 143-152.

GORARD, S. & TAYLOR, C. 2004. Combining Methods in Educational and Social Research, Maidenhead, OU Press.

HAGGARTY, L., POSTLETHWAITE, K., DIMENT, K. & ELLINS, J. 2011. Improving the learning of newly qualified teachers in the induction year. British Educational Research Journal (BERJ), 37, 935-954.

HOBSON, A. J., MALDEREZ, A., TRACEY, L., GIANNAKAKI, M., PELL, G. & TOMLINSON, P. 2008. Student teachers’ experiences of initial teacher preparation in England: core themes and variation. Research Papers in Education, 23, 407-433.

MARX, H. 2011. Please Mind the Culture Gap: Intercultural Development During a Teacher Education Study Abroad Program. Journal of Teacher Education, 62, 35-47.

MCDONOUGH, K. 2009. Pathways to Critical Consciousness: A First-Year Teachers’ Engagement with Issues of Race and Equity. Journal of Teacher Education, 60, 528-537.

MUIJS, D., CHAPMAN, C., COLLINS, A. & ARMSTRONG, P. 2010. Maximum Impact Evaluation The Impact of Teach First Teachers in Schools Final Report. Manchester: University of Manchester.

NASH, R. 1999. Bourdieu, ‘Habitus’, and Educational Research: is it all worth the candle? British Journal of  Sociology of Education, 20, 175-187.

RUEDA, R. & STILLMAN, J. 2012. The 21st Century Teacher A Cultural Perspective. Journal of Teacher Education, 63, 245-253.

SLEETER, C. E. 2001. Preparing Teachers for Culturally Diverse Schools. Journal of Teacher Education, 52, 94-106.

25 It’s a balloon Sir! sept 2012 alison hramiak

261 – Successful TNE: Engagement or Positioning Theory? – Alison Macfarlane and Hazel Horobin

Anticipated outcomes: Participants will have an opportunity to consider what makes for meaningful and authentic learning in an international context

Session outline (or abstract): max 300 words

Much of the literature relating to teaching international students focuses on ‘managerialist’ issues associated with what is done to the learner and the efficiencies generated by activities such overseas teaching (Altbach, 2007).  Conversely, relatively little research exists in relation to the meanings generated for participants by that teaching (Edwards and Usher, 2008).  The current down turn in international student numbers into the Allied Health Department has prompted outreach work in the form of Transnational Education (TNE) in Asia that aims to continue to develop both recruitment and partnership working.  There are divided opinions on the issue of adaptability in transnational programmes.  Some suggest that pedagogic practice should be in line with the cultural context of the students (Kelly and Tak, 1998); others disagree and claim that the impact of cultural differences can be reduced by use of the principles of good teaching regardless of the course location (Biggs, 1997).

The authors have both successfully undertaken TNE this academic year and they discuss their approaches to TNE founded on theoretical constructs that align with opposite ends of the pedagogic discourse around adaptability.  Alison used an engagement approach aiming to generate a collaborative classroom, she and students pursued together worthwhile and meaningful answers to practice problems generated by the students.  The non-academic, ‘authentic’ activity and real skill development enabled the qualified physiotherapist participants to build on their previous knowledge as well as expand existing skills (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1999).   Hazel used an appreciation of positioning theory to challenge notions of traditional roles (Langenhove and Harré 1999) and shape classroom encounters and generate a positive and welcoming academic environment, consistent with good pedagogic practice  (Ryan and Viete, 2009).  The discussion demonstrates that both approaches have strengths, but also issues that need to be taken into consideration in complex teaching arenas.

Session activities for engagement: Discussion of how practices relate or not to theoretical constructs and explores the meaning of teaching and learning effectiveness in different contexts.


ALTBACH, P.G. (2007) ‘The Internationalization of Higher Education: Motivations and Realities’ Journal of Studies in International Education, 11 (3-4): 290-305

BIGGS, J.B. (1997). Teaching across and within cultures: the issue of international students. In Murray-Harvey, R. & Silins, H.C. (Eds.) Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Advancing International Perspectives, Proceedings of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conference (Adelaide), HERDSA, 1-22.

EDWARDS, R. and USHER, R. (1997) ‘27th Annual SCUTREA Conference Proceedings 1997.  Crossing Borders, Breaking Boundaries: Research in the Education of Adults.  Globalisation and a Pedagogy of (Dis)location’ [www] http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/000000225.htm

(Last accessed 20th December 2010)

KEARSLEY, G., & SHNEIDERMAN, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved March, 20013, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

KELLY, M.E., & TAK, S.H. (1998). Borderless education and teaching and learning cultures: the case of Hong Kong. Australian Universities’ Review, 41(1), 26-33.

RYAN, J and VIETE, R (2009).  Respectful Interactions:  Learning with International Students in the English Speaking Academy. Teaching in Higher Education. 14 (3), 303-314.

van LANGENHOVE, L. and HARRÉ, R. (1999) Introducing Positioning Theory.  In Harré, R. and van Langenhove, L. (Eds). Positioning Theory.  Oxford, Blackwell

Click to view presentation:  261 Successful TNE