Teacher competences 教师的能力: Wants and needs in the multi-cultural classroom多元文化教学的渴望与需求

Peter Broeder*, Mia Stokmans, Zhenxian Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientificpeer-review


    This presentation goes into qualification needs for teachers in socially and linguistically diverse classrooms. Language diversity and diversity in reading socialization both enhance differences in literacy competences, which is something that surfaces in daily teaching practice. Since language is central in teaching, we expect these differences to cause problems in all courses, while all pupils should have sufficient receptive as well as productive competences to finish any course successfully. In this study, we made a distinction between three receptive competences (understanding vocabulary, insight into syntactic, and semantic structures) on the one hand and three productive competences (knowing facts, voicing opinions, and bridging/reflection) on the other.

    In order to explore differences in literacy competences more closely, we conducted a survey among more than 300 primary and secondary school teachers in Europe (the Netherlands) and China (Beijing) in 2009 and 2010. We took the perspective of the teachers, since they are the ones who have to deal with the diversity in literacy and they can indicate what competences are required to be able to go about this successfully.
    For each competence, we asked the teachers to what extent pupils possessed the competence required, to what extent this was important for the course, what was the expected level of the competences and what the percentage of the pupils was that reached the required level for the course. Furthermore, we asked for different types of courses to what extent differences in literacy competence were problematic. In order to find out about the link between this diversity and society, we asked the teachers to indicate what kind of background variables of the pupils (language use at home and at school, reading socialisation, etc.) correlated with these problems.

    In the perceptions of Dutch teachers a clear picture emerges, which we will subsequently compare with the perceptions of the Chinese teachers. The first outcome of the analysis is that for all competences in the classrooms in the Netherlands, the extent to which teachers experience problems with receptive as well as productive literacy competences of the pupils is larger in heterogeneous classrooms. This difference in literacy competences occurred for all types of courses, whether it be language courses, courses in the social sciences, the natural sciences, or technical subjects.
    Secondly, when we looked at the expected level and the percentage of pupils that reached the required level, we also found marked differences between homogeneous and heterogeneous classrooms.. Dutch teachers of monocultural classrooms expected higher levels of receptive as well as productive literacy competences compared to teachers of multicultural classrooms. Furthermore, Dutch teachers of monocultural classrooms indicated that about 70 – 75% of the pupils reached the required level for the course, while this percentage was about 50% in multicultural classrooms.
    Thirdly, the perceived problems in literacy competences correlated with the background characteristics of the pupils. Dutch teachers of mono- and multicultural classrooms particularly associated these problems with boys in the first few years of secondary education whose parents have a low socio-economic status, are not in the habit of reading (bad reading climate at home), and have a low educational level. Teachers of multicultural classrooms also indicated that the problem is associated with the fact that Dutch is not a first language for the pupils in question.
    By the time the presentation takes place, the answers of the Chinese teachers will have been analysed.
    In the paper, the implications of these results will be elaborated on as barriers to and new opportunities for the specification and implementation of competence-based curricula proposals for pre- and in-service training of all teachers. More specifically a connection is made with recent initiatives in teacher training in China and Europe. An example is the EUCIM-TE project, in which a European Core Curriculum for teacher training has been specified (see www.eucim-te.eu).
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    Event16th World Congress of Applied Linguistics: Harmony in diversity: language, culture, society - Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China
    Duration: 23 Aug 201128 Aug 2011


    Conference16th World Congress of Applied Linguistics
    Abbreviated titleAILA 2011
    Internet address


    Dive into the research topics of 'Teacher competences 教师的能力: Wants and needs in the multi-cultural classroom多元文化教学的渴望与需求'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this