Scaffolding teacher learning: Examining teacher practice and the professional development process of teachers with culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
Teachers work in complex and demanding times with an increasing number of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CLD) in classrooms. These students are over represented in statistics of under achievement. All teachers are teachers of academic language, and while no child is born with school language as a first language, for some students the match between home and school is more closely aligned than for other students. Teachers are expected to be culturally responsive, ensuring the languages and culture of students is visible in the classroom environment and the classroom curriculum.
Despite the increasing knowledge about the specific strategies and approaches that will most effectively support CLD students in classrooms, the teaching of CLD students within mainstream contexts remains far from ideal. Teachers need support to access the principles of effective teaching of CLD learners that are available, and importantly to transfer the knowledge into classroom practice.
Professional development and learning is linked to improved teacher practice and student learning outcomes. When teachers have opportunities to be engaged in successful elements of in-depth professional learning such as in-class modelling, observation and feedback, and co-construction of teaching and planning they are able to demonstrate improved pedagogical content knowledge. Their beliefs may also need to be challenged.
The study was conducted in two schools in a large city in New Zealand where I am employed as an ESOL and literacy adviser. Using an action research method I was able to examine how a professional development and learning process shaped my own knowledge and practice as well as teacher knowledge and practice.
The study fills a research space to gain insights into the effective professional learning processes that impact on teacher strategies and approaches with their CLD learners A central tenet of this research is that teachers can improve their practice of teaching CLD students and they can specifically learn strategies and approaches that are considered effective for them.