Exploring Multicultural Education and Culturally Responsive Practices in an International School context: A case study of one school.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
In most educational systems around the world, teaching practices are dominated by the majority culture. This means that often the learning needs of minority groups is not taken into account, which can compromise their educational attainment as indicated by trends in national and international data. International schools are an increasingly popular option in what is fast becoming a globalised education system. These schools have significant student diversity in terms of cultural background and languages. This study investigates how multicultural education and culturally responsive practices are implemented in an international school context. Most research on diversity in education is based in monoculture schools. Therefore, this research study sought to understand what is done in international schools to cater for diverse learners. This study was conducted as an exploratory case study of an international school by engaging with a sample of teachers and key administration members of the school. Interviews, fieldwork and classroom observations were conducted to answer the overarching research question: How are multicultural education and culturally responsive practices being implemented in an international school context? As a teacher in the school, I undertook this study from the role of an ‘insider observer’ where I was immersed within the community and able to participate in their daily life. The findings from the study show that while there is some alignment with multicultural and culturally responsive practices, there is little explicit focus on, or support for, these practices by administrators and teachers. These findings suggest there are both implications for practices in international schools and for furthering research within international schools, such as the need to pay more explicit attention to Professional Development, and Data Recording. There is also a need for more research on international schools that examines school and classroom practices.