Getting World English Speaking Student Teachers to the Top of the Class: Making hope for ethno-cultural diversity in teacher education robust

August 2007

Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 35, Issue 3 August 2007, pages 291 - 309

This paper argues that the increasing diversity of multicultural Australia is now troubling teacher education due to the under-representation of world English speaking (WES) student teachers of minority immigrant backgrounds. This is now a concern of national significance to education policy-makers and researchers.

This paper summarises key findings from a study of higher education policy and practice which investigated issues concerning the education and retention of WES student teachers of minority (Asian Pacific) immigrant backgrounds. In doing so it presents an analysis of the report of the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training on teacher education, Top of the class.

In terms of policy action for the recruitment of WES student teachers it was found that this report recognises the significance of WES teachers, but that there is an under-enrolment and retention of WES student teachers. Evidence from the case study indicated that WES student teachers experienced pedagogical disengagement from their teacher education programs as contradictions in them becoming "Australian teachers". They experienced this gap between the hopes and happening in their teacher education programs; their practicum; the complexities of student behaviour management; the English language difficulties of their teacher educators, and most importantly the marginalisation of their language and thus their knowledge of education.

Updated: Jan. 09, 2008