Methodologies for Researching Cultural Diversity in Education

International perspectives

Paperback / softback, 138 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 Sep 2014
Trentham Books

Price: £24.99

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As teachers, education policymakers and school managers seek to meet the needs of students from cultures and language backgrounds different from the dominant majority's, research needs to reflect the perspectives of the students themselves and of their parents and teachers, while taking account of the broader socio-political context. This book brings together research conducted in Scotland, Australia, Canada, Norway, Italy, Ghana and Pakistan, which addresses the ethical conduct of education research in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts.

The relationship between researched and researcher is crucial, but it can be problematic when the researchers are from the dominant group and not the groups whose experiences they aspire to understand. These authors highlight the challenges of researching in culturally and ethnically diverse contexts, and describe innovative approaches such a mapping, shadowing and photography that give agency to the children who are being researched, rather than to the researchers.

The book is of interest to academics and to classroom teachers researching their own practice, and also to education students and social science researchers working in culturally diverse contexts.

  • Geri Smyth

    Geri Smyth holds a Chair in Education at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, where she is Director of Research in the School of Education.

  • Ninetta Santoro

    Ninetta Santoro has recently taken up a Chair in Education at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, having previously been Professor of Education and the Head of the School of Teacher Education at Charles Sturt University, Australia.

  • Joke Dewilde

    Joke Dewilde holds a position as Associate Professor in Education at Hedmark University College, Norway, where she is also Director of Studies for the teacher education programme for bilingual teachers.

  • Clea Schmidt

    Clea Schmidt is an Associate Professor of Teaching English as an Additional Language in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

  • Kathryn Edgeworth

    Kathryn Edgeworth is a Lecturer in the School of Teacher Education, Charles Sturt University, Australia, where she teaches education sociology and research methodologies.

  • Saeeda Shah

    Saeeda Shah is a Reader in Education at the School of Education, University of Leicester.

  • Antoinette Gagné

    Antoinette Gagné is an Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto.

  • Stephanie Soto Gordon

    Stephanie Soto Gordon is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, Toronto District School Board, a field partner with Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto, and an ESL communication consultant.

  • Giovanna Fassetta

    Giovanna Fassetta has over 20 years' experience as a teacher, having worked in Italy, Eritrea and the UK.

CONTENTS: Introduction; 1. Discursive shadowing as a methodological approach in a study of bilingual teachers, by Joke Dewilde; 2. Power and knowledge in research with immigrant teachers: Questioning the insider/outsider dichotomy, by Clea Schmidt; 3. Unsettling truths: Poststructural ethnography as a tool to trouble schooling exclusions, by Kathryn Edgeworth; 4. Being a socio-professional insider-researcher in Pakistan: Possibilities and challenges for educational research, by Saeeda Shah; 5. Overcoming barriers in researching diversity, by Geri Smyth; 6. Researcher as cartographer: Mapping the experiences of culturally diverse research participants, by Ninetta Santoro; 7. Participatory action research in a high school drama club: A catalyst for change among English language learners in Canada, by Antoinette Gagne and Stephanie Soto Gordon; 8. Children’s agency in research: Does photography empower participants?, by Giovanna Fassetta

This is a superb and timely book given the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity within society. It provides an excellent framework for researchers from the 'hegemonic mainstream' to examine and respond to the multiple dimensions of power evident when planning and conducting research involving participants from ethnic- and linguistic-minority backgrounds.

Professor Vini Lander, Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University, UK

A fascinating collection of research about social justice in education. These chapters, based in a diversity of settings, show new ways of accessing and sharing the experiences of minority students and teachers that minimize distortion, are respectful, and actively empower.

Dr Terry Wrigley, Visiting Professor, Leeds Metropolitan University

Woven through this unique and timely book is the proposition that research methodologies can no longer be seen as valid or appropriate in a vacuum. Instead, validity emerges from the complex process of negotiating relations of power, agency, and identity in specific contexts and with diverse actors. The original insights generated by the chapter authors in discussing their research attest to the important contribution this volume makes to our understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry.

Professor Emeritus Jim Cummins, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto