Teachers’ perceptions about their work with EAL/D students in a standards-based educational context.
Education in Australia is changing in ways that reflect increasing cultural and linguistic diversity of students and also teachers. Responding to increased cultural and linguistic diversity, Australian educators have recognised the importance of providing a diverse range of opportunities for social learning, multicultural engagement and support for students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D). However only a few studies examine the experience and work EAL/D teachers (Cruickshank et al., 2003; Hammond, 2014) especially in reference to the standards framework provided by the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST). In this case study teachers’ perceptions about their roles, as teachers of EAL/D students, are explored. The lens of activity theory and expansive learning is used to examine the tensions and conflicts they reveal especially in respect to the APST which are currently used to describe teachers’ work. Data was collected through both focus group and individual interviews across four sites. All the participants were teachers of EAL/D students working in public schools in NSW. It is hoped that this study will raise awareness of the professional learning needs of teachers who work with EAL/D students.
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