The experiences of overseas-born, ethnic minority early childhood student teachers in New Zealand

Janet Moles

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This qualitative study draws on feminist, poststructuralist perspectives to investigate the experiences of overseas-born, ethnic minority early childhood student teachers in New Zealand. Data collection includes interviews with three early childhood lecturers and eight Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) or Diploma in Teaching (ECE) graduates.Findings show that differences in pedagogical understandings appeared to make it difficult for lecturers to convey new concepts to overseas-born students. Most students found that there was little they could relate to, so they were unable to understand the concepts and practices expected. Moreover, the power of mainstream discourses caused many students to negotiate contested identities because of expectations that contradicted their cultural and gender perspectives. This proved particularly challenging during practicum placements because participants were unfamiliar with the role of the teacher in child-centred pedagogies. However, when their cultural knowledges, skills and competencies were incorporated, students were able to make links between existing and new understandings. To offer ethnic minority students equitable opportunities for learning, it appears critical that lecturers and Associate Teachers recognise different perspectives of teaching and learning and are critically aware of the influences of different understandings that shape students' learning. Findings showed that friendships with other students were instrumental in the retention and success of participants. However, differences in social expectations and communication caused delays for students in forming friendships and a reluctance to ask lecturers questions and contribute in class. Furthermore, oral and written English competencies were frequently found to be inadequate to cope with the academic requirements.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Santoro, Ninetta, Principal Supervisor
Award date01 Jun 2011
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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