Multilingual Primary Classrooms: An Investigation of First Year Teachers’ Learning and Responsive Teaching

From Section:
Beginning Teachers
May. 15, 2012

Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 35, No. 2, May 2012, 213–228.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This research explores the perspectives of newly qualified primary teachers (NQTs) who worked in multilingual classrooms in their first year of teaching. The key question was:
how do new primary teachers develop their pedagogy in multilingual classrooms?

The participants were 26 newly qualified primary teachers (NQTs) in one multilingual city in England, towards the end of their induction year.
Data were collected through semi-structured interviews.


The findings reveal that three themes aroused from the analysis:
developments in pedagogic practice, collaboration with colleagues, and resolutions for change or development.
Detailed thematic analysis confirmed that NQTs were engaged in reflection about how to respond to diversity, in some cases building on awareness raised in teacher education.
They suggested that they reflect on pupils’ needs and interests and then try to tailor provision to engage pupils in formative challenging activities.

Twenty one NQTs believed that they had begun to develop responsive forms of teaching, aided by support from and collaboration with other colleagues, including teaching assistants, many bilingual. They reported taking practical account of diversity and promoting equality and inclusion in their teaching, becoming more responsive as they developed in their teaching.

The authors conclude that teacher education programmes should consider how we can simplify and structure programmes so that they address key challenges of linguistically responsive teaching against which NQTs have to present portfolios of evidence.

Updated: Feb. 16, 2022
Beginning teachers | English (second language) | Multilingualism | Reflection | Student diversity | Teacher education programs