Teacher transculturalism and cultural difference: Addressing racism in Australian schools

Niranjan Robert Casinader, Lucas Walsh

Abstract


The increasing cultural diversity of students in Australia's schools is one of the salient changes in education over the last 30 years. In 2011, nearly half of all Australians had one or more parents born overseas, with migration from China, the Indian subcontinent and Africa increasing during the early 2000s (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). However, despite these long established patterns of exposure to a multicultural environment, the incidence of racism experienced by children in Australian schools remains highly problematic. Recent research has shown that around 70% of school students witness or experience some form of racism (Mansouri, Jenkins, Morgan & Taouk, 2009). This paper argues that, although the reasons for this persistent marginalisation of cultural difference are multivariate, the background attitudes of teacher educators cannot be ignored. It posits that, in line with recent research (Casinader, 2014), the development and awareness of transcultural modes of thinking in educators, which are inclusive and reflective of different cultural approaches, are essential for modelling an educational environment for students in which cultural difference is accepted and prized, and not held up as a point of separation. It is also argued that such a transition will be facilitated only when the existing monocultural reality of the Australian teaching profession) is acknowledged and addressed.


Keywords


racism; Australia; transculturalism; schools; teachers

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