Implications for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programs in preparing mainstream teachers for culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21153/tesol2023vol32no1art1827

Abstract

With a rising percentage of English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) learners in Australian schools and recent policy changes, increasingly these students find themselves learning curriculum content in mainstream classes without appropriate language learning support. Professional standards for teachers in Australia require graduates to demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds, including Indigenous learners. However, teachers report being ill-prepared for teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. It seems that Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses may not be consistently equipping preservice teachers with the necessary knowledge, dispositions, skills, and expertise to be responsive to EAL/D learners’ needs. This study analysed video-recordings of five practising EAL/D teachers responding to questions posed by ITE students from an Australian university. Using Fairclough's (2003) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and a sociocultural lens, research results offer insights into knowledge and practical implications necessary for successful EAL/D student engagement in mainstream classrooms. This timely research presents five recommendations that will inform higher education institutions when developing ITE courses for preparing preservice teachers for culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Insights are shared for already practising mainstream classroom teachers.

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Author Biographies

Jennifer Smith, School of Teacher Education and Leadership, Queensland University of Technology

Jennifer Smith is a lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at the Queensland University of Technology. She is an applied linguist and qualitative researcher in the area of second language teaching and learning. Her teaching experience includes teaching undergraduate students how to teach EAL/D learners in the mainstream classroom and developing TESOL specialists in the Master of Education course.

Lynn Downes, School of Teacher Education and Leadership, Queensland University of Technology

Lynn Downes is a lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at the Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests focus on language, specifically language variation and change and sociolinguistics. Lynn’s interests also include Critical Discourse Analysis and English language and literacy in the primary school context. At present Lynn is researching oral language practices and skills of young people from birth to 8 years.  

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Published

2023-11-23

How to Cite

Smith, J., & Downes, L. (2023). Implications for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programs in preparing mainstream teachers for culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. TESOL in Context, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.21153/tesol2023vol32no1art1827
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