The importance of culture in a New Zealand high school context: An exploration of whether the culture of overseas teachers is seen by students, in Years 12 and 13, to impact on the quality of their learning experiences.
Mitchell, I. (2010). The importance of culture in a New Zealand high school context: An exploration of whether the culture of overseas teachers is seen by students, in Years 12 and 13, to impact on the quality of their learning experiences. (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4313
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4313
New Zealand education has long been dependent on overseas teachers to fill vacancies in the secondary school system. Historically this supply of teachers tended to be from the UK, but as we move into the 21st century, the supply of teachers is now from a much wider group of countries. The focus of this work was to explore whether the multicultural nature of this workforce does have an impact on the learning experience of New Zealand students. The need for cultural responsiveness from both teachers and students is an important factor in classroom communication and teacher effectiveness. Although there is a large body of research on cultural responsiveness within New Zealand schools, therehas been little research on the student's perceptions of overseas teachers' levels ofcultural responsiveness. I believe that there is a need to study this aspect of the education system, given that the overseas teaching group make up a considerable percentage of teachers in the New Zealand secondary school system. The 30 students taking part in this study had experience of being taught by both New Zealand and overseas teachers and were from three high schools situated in a relatively isolated region of New Zealand. The questions asked of the studentswere in the form of a taped, semi-structured group interview, undertaken at the students' respective schools. The interviews focused on the students' experiences and beliefs on the quality of their learning experience. Overall, the teacher's cultural responsiveness was found to be most important to the quality of the student-teacher relationship. A secondary factor emerging was the students report that clarity was the aspect that impacted the most on the qualityof individual lessons. The study adds to existing understanding of the importance of culture within the New Zealand classroom. While this study used students from the general student body rather than a specific ethnic group, the findings supported recent research undertaken with such specific ethnic groups.
The University of Waikato
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