Challenges in Addressing Cultural Diversity: Approaches in Sydney Schools

By Nina Burridge and Andrew Chodkiewicz.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An essential challenge for school educators continues to be how to better represent and negotiate the complexities of classrooms and school communities that are increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse. Schools approach cultural diversity in various ways. Drawing on a qualitative study in a number of government schools, we report on three different approaches engaged by schools in three culturally diverse areas of Sydney. These approaches are often shaped by socio-cultural factors such as the nature of the school and its related community, the commitment of teachers, particularly the executive leadership and the localised issues that may impact on school and community programs. Findings suggest that it is time for school educators to renew their efforts - in a more strategic and focused way - to provide an integrated, resources rich, whole school approach to educating for cultural and linguistic diversity that builds relationships between our diverse communities and empowers all students to succeed at school.

Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Schools, Approaches, School Communities

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.281-294. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 656.151KB).

Dr. Nina Burridge

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Nina Burridge began her career as a high school teacher in History and moved into higher education as a teacher educator. She sees herself as both an academic and an activists. Her main research interests have been Indigenous education and the implementation of the policy of reconciliation in the education and community sectors. She has published papers and educational materials on how Indigenous education in school and on approaches to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in the current socio-political context. She has been the director of the Institute of Aboriginal Studies and Research at Macquarie University in Sydney and is currently lecturing in the Faculty of Education at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her emerging interests are in the areas of social justice and cultural diversity and she has been a campaigner for many issues related to refugee reforms and human rights at the local and national levels within the Australian community.

Andrew Chodkiewicz

Senior Researcher, Education, The University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Andrew Chodkiewicz is a Senior Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science at UTS with a Masters in Adult Education and a Bachelor of Economics (Hons). He has extensive experience in researching and writing in the field of school- community links and young people’s transition from school to work. Recent evaluation and research projects that he has collaborated on include an evaluation study of The Australian Government Quality Teaching Indigenous Project for the NSW Department of Education and Training; a research report on representations of cultural diversity in schools and the community and two NSW DET programs (Migrant Work Experience Program and Specialist Migrant Placement Officer Program) and the College of Law’s Online Course delivery. Through the former Centre for Popular Education at UTS he has assisted in organizing forums and conferences on educational issues in schools and the community.

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