In OECD countries with native populations as well as long histories of immigration (e.g. Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand), classroom diversity reflects the long-standing diversity of the population as well as new arrivals to the country. In other OECD countries, classroom diversity linked to international migration is a relatively new phenomenon. Across almost all OECD countries however, ongoing changes in social and economic patterns have generally increased diversity within schools, where students with different religions, languages, socioeconomic status and cultural values interact every day.
Increasingly multicultural societies have an impact on education and student achievement. Data from PISA 2003 and 2006 indicate that the educational challenges posed by family background, socioeconomic context, and migration status are strongly linked to student performance. A key argument is that schools can do better in building on the capital of all students and benefit from diversity as a driving source for enhancing learning. One way in which they can do this is to use the strength and flexibility of their teachers, but of course for this to be effective teachers need to be given appropriate support and training.
The goals of the Teacher Education for Diversity project are to:
The project aims to do this through identifying rigorous international research on effective teacher education for diversity strategies and challenges identified in their implementation, survey practitioner views and experiences, and examine case studies in participating countries.
The project began with analytical work on current research findings regarding effective teacher education for diversity strategies and the main challenges and benefits. It focused on issues such as the role of expectations and aspirations among/between communities, intercultural communication, linguistic barriers, and the values underpinning teacher education and how they are reflected in teacher education practice and policy.
The analytic work was complemented with an online consultation exercise with teachers, student teachers and teacher educators. The goal of this exercise was to hear the voice of those in the field regarding definitions of diversity, key challenges, best solutions, and creative practices. This consultation was undertaken in consultation with colleagues of the OECD TALIS project as well as teacher union representatives.
Following the previous step, interested countries/regions will be invited to take part in a series of thematic workshops that will allow for in-depth discussion of emerging issues relevant to particular contexts and traditions. Examples of possible themes include (e.g. attracting and retaining more minority student teachers, keeping the best teachers in schools that need them most, and working with teacher educators to increase their sensitivity to diversity. The TED team is currently actively searching for hosts for these meetings.
See the Calendar of Activities for more precise information on the timing and stages of the work.