Culturally diverse children in the classroom: Hidden cultural lives

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this chapter, I engage with Graham Nuthall's work from the perspective of a teacher educator. It was his commitment and approach to classroom research, with its focus on understanding the 'realities of students' classroom experiences' (Nuthall, 2005, p. 919), that first attracted me to his research. The research reported here is classroom based and draws on Nuthall's methods for collecting in-depth data of children's classroom interactions to explore the lived experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children at Years 5 and 6. Discourse analysis revealed the ways in which CLD children were positioned within the classroom discourses and their identity construction. Unlike Nuthall, my approach to understanding teaching and learning is underpinned by poststructuralist theories, in which knowledge and identities are understood as contingent, contextualised, fluid, multiple and constructed through language as people seek to make meaning of their worlds. I begin by outlining my situated view of Graham Nuthall's work with a brief critique of his work in relation to cultural and linguistic diversity. I then describe my understanding of poststructuralism as an alternative lens for interpreting classroom data. Using this framework, I present data from my doctoral research (Major, 2009) to consider how a poststructuralist lens may illuminate the complexity of identity construction that occurs within intersecting and sometimes conflicting classroom discourses. This chapter, which has a particular focus on how students are positioned in relation to classroom discourses, considers the identity work of one CLD child in a Year 5 to 6 classroom and ends with some social and educational implications of my findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding teaching and learning
Subtitle of host publicationClassroom research revisited
EditorsBaljit Kaur
Place of PublicationRotterdam
PublisherSense Publishers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789460918643
ISBN (Print)9789460918629, 9789460918636
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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