Encouraging Ethnic and LInguistic Diversity in the Teaching Profession


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Presentation delivered at the Scottish Teacher Education Committee conference 2009 by Geri Smyth, University of Strathclyde. The theme of the conference was 'What can teacher education do to encourage inclusion?'

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Encouraging Ethnic and LInguistic Diversity in the Teaching Profession

  1. 1. Encouraging Ethnic and Linguistic Diversity in the Teaching Profession Geri Smyth, University of Strathclyde g.smyth@strath.ac.uk
  2. 2. Summary • Teacher and pupil demographics in Scotland • Gaelic Medium Education • Recruitment of Ethnic Minorities Into Teaching • Refugees Into Teaching in Scotland • Barriers to increasing linguistic and cultural diversity in the teaching profession • Ways forward
  3. 3. English is second language for 10,000 pupils in Scotland  Almost 10,000 pupils in Scottish schools do not speak English as a first language, according to figures which have prompted calls for extra support in the classroom. The Scottish Executive report for the 2006 school year show there were 9486 pupils speaking 137 different first languages in Scotland, including Punjabi, Urdu, Cantonese, Polish and Arabic. Glasgow Herald ANDREW DENHOLM, Education Correspondent February 28 2007
  4. 4. 3500 pupils can’t speak English  Scottish teachers are having to cope with unprecedented numbers of pupils who have difficulty speaking English following a sharp increase in immigrants and asylum seekers. Glasgow Herald ANDREW DENHOLM, Education Correspondent February 27 2008
  5. 5. Scotland's Minority Ethnic Population • 1991: 60000 1.2% • 2001:100000 2% • Total population increase 1.3% • Total ME population increase 62.3% • 2005: 3.80% of pupils from minority ethnic groups, where ethnic group was known/ disclosed. • Pakistani (1.27%) Black Caribbean (0.02%) • 2005: 0.5% of all primary teachers BME • secondary school teachers 1.1% BME
  6. 6. Changing Linguistic makeup of Scotland since 1980s • Urdu, Punjabi, Cantonese – 2nd/3rd generation: inner city; community shift – suburbs • Far East inward investment: new towns • Postgraduate students: African; Pacific; Malay; Arabic – housing schemes • East Europe political changes – coastal areas • Immigration Act – asylum seekers’ dispersal: Africa; E. Europe – housing schemes • Expansion of EU – throughout Scotland
  7. 7. Pupils' linguistic diversity I’m Nilofar. I I’m Nabiha. speak Farsi and I speak English. Somali and English. I’m Landrine. I’m I speak Narinder. French and How many English. languages do you speak?
  8. 8. Bilingual teaching in Scotland
  9. 9. A new need? • Rampton Report ( 1981) expressed concern about the under- representation of ethnic minorities in the teaching population • Commission for Racial Equality ( 1995) urged the British government to take steps ‘to ensure that people from the ethnic minorities will be recruited for teacher training without unlawful discrimination’ • As long as the socioculturally marginalised are identified as ‘the other’ by the dominant group in society, then they will be subjected to cultural imperialism (Cummins, 1996). • The Carrington (1999) report recommended that there be more flexibility in the consideration of qualifications from outwith the European Union. • When the dominant ethnicity of the teaching workforce is white, it is difficult for cultural difference to be truly recognised, represented and respected in school (Lynch and Lodge, 2002)
  10. 10. Gaelic medium education • Gaelic spoken by 1.2 per cent of the Scottish population. • Gaelic (Scotland) Act, 2005 gave language 'equal respect' with English • 2004: 334 teachers report able to teach through Gaelic. 241 currently teaching Gaelic. • Glasgow Gaelic School, 2006: 75 primary 1 pupils • Johnstone (1999) indicated those pupils educated bilingually in Gaelic and English are performing better than monolingual peers in National Tests in English, by the age of 11.
  11. 11. REMIT • Recruitment of Ethnic Minorities into Teaching (REMIT) funded by the West of Scotland Wider Access Forum January 2006 – July 2008. • Make a Difference: Teach • Recruiting video • School and community work
  12. 12. RITeS: Refugees Into Teaching in Scotland • Based in Dept of Childhood and Primary Studies, University of Strathclyde. Funded by Scottish Government • Consortium of colleges, universities, local authorities, third sector agencies including Refugee Council and General Teaching Council for Scotland • Casework based – support, advice, liaison –www.strath.ac.uk/cps/rites
  13. 13. RITeS research • Research Officers: Henry Kum (replaced Heather Davison) • Funded by West Forum • Investigation of past and present and hopes for future • Comparison of experience • Lessons for best practice • 232 teachers (September 2008) • 40 languages (November 2007) • 34 countries (November 2007)
  14. 14. Differences in education systems • Mixed ability classes • Class size • Respect for teachers • Discipline • Parental involvement • Availability of resources • Use of more than one language
  15. 15. Personal barriers to teaching in Scotland • Lack of equivalence of qualifications • Limited proficiency in English • Limited knowledge of Scottish education system
  16. 16. Cultural barriers to teaching in Scotland • The teachers should accept integration. They should value people and be objective. The regular teachers should also take part in the induction. They should be told how to behave towards foreigners and the term refugee needs to be dropped. It creates prejudice and success is impaired by such prejudice. It plays in evaluation, inspection and reports. When teachers hear you are a refugee, a black for that matter, it looks like they want you to go for cleaning jobs. That is where they think you belong. They see your efforts to teach as straying into an area that is their domain and where you do not belong to. It is ignorance, it is racism and it is not healthy for a multicultural community where my children belong. You accept my kids, you want to teach them but you don’t accept me and you don’t want me to teach them and others. It’s such a shame. Female, Burundi, maths teacher
  17. 17. Structural barriers to teaching in Scotland The restriction on the 3 year stay here to benefit for funding and assistance is unfair and should be scrapped. You have to wait to get refugee status before you can train or teach. Your skills keep fading away because of lack of practice. Then when they give you leave to remain, you are discriminated for not having lived here for 3 years. When you have been accepted in a society, you need to be part of that society, not half of the society. That is a huge limitation to the retraining of refugee teachers. Male primary teacher, Zimbabwe
  18. 18. Recommendations • Recruitment of teachers who have access to teaching in more than the majority language, English, is essential to ensure that the linguistic capital of pupils in Scotland is built on and given status. • Bilingual skills of such teachers must be recognised. • Figures must be collected regarding teachers’ knowledge and use of the other languages spoken on a daily basis in Scotland. • Teacher education providers need to work in partnerships in local minority communities • Efficient and effective systems must be in place to provide immediate support in the event of any racial harassment • Provision of modules designed to enable bilingual teachers to use their skills to support the growing numbers of bilingual pupils in Scotland.
  19. 19. Conclusions • Slowly increasing number of multilingual, multiqualified, multiexperienced teachers entering the Scottish teaching profession – impact on teacher identity? • Develop a genuinely representative teaching workforce, appropriate to a contemporary democracy • As Gaelic Medium Education strengthens it is important to align the debates. • Truly bilingual teaching in Scotlandin more than one languageother than Gaelic in 10 years? • Reeal use of the linguistic capital of Scotland's children
  20. 20. Bilingual teaching Maktabad
  21. 21. Confident Bilingual Teaching in Scotland tomorrow? She doesn’t know English yet but she knows French. I did Lingala because it’s her best language.