The Refugee Action Support Program: Developing Understandings of Diversity

Dec. 25, 2009

Source: Teaching Education, Volume 20, Issue 4 (December 2009), pages 395 - 407.

In a world increasingly globalised, it is crucial that preservice teachers are equipped with a range of pedagogical knowledges, understandings and practices related to diversity and difference.

This article reports on the implementation and learning outcomes of a teacher preparation initiative in an Australian university called Refugee Action Support, which seeks to develop and enhance such awareness. The initiative provides targeted training to preservice teachers in the vital areas of literacy and numeracy tuition, with the specific aim of preparing them to tutor humanitarian refugee students in high schools in Western Sydney, Australia.

Drawing on key principles of academic service learning, the program promotes a context for reciprocal learning where young students are supported in their development of academic skills and sociocultural understandings while, simultaneously, preservice teachers gain an appreciation of the complex dynamics related to teaching, students and diversity.

Updated: Jan. 31, 2010