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Teacher cultural beliefs of diversity
Lesson study
Teacher professional learning
Issue Date: 
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Jiang, H., Lee, C. K.-E., & Choy, B. H. (2020). Reconstructing differences in lesson study: Shaping teachers’ beliefs about teaching culturally diverse students in Singapore (Report No. OER 18/15 JH). National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
The urgency of teaching diverse learners is aptly demonstrated in many parts of the world as the ethnic, racial, class, and linguistic diversity grows rapidly. Such diversity not only brings about opportunities for creative teaching, but also challenges for ensuring educational equity and providing high-quality teaching for all students from diverse backgrounds, especially those presently underserved by the educational system (Buehl, & Beck, 2014; Civitillo, Juang, & Schachner, 2018). Researchers have found that teachers prepared for working with students from diverse cultural backgrounds need to embrace beliefs that recognize the strengths of cultural diversity (Anagnostopoulos, 2006; Banks et al., 2005; Fives & Buehl, 2014; Gay, 2010). Thus, exploring and challenging teachers’ beliefs about cultural diversity should constitute a major objective in teacher professional learning. However, only a few studies have examined how in-service teachers’ beliefs are enacted and shaped in professional learning community practices (Little, 2003; Tam, 2015; Turner, 2011), and focused even less on teachers’ beliefs about cultural diversity (Pang, 2005; Sleeter, 1992). There are a few studies examining teachers’ cultural beliefs about diversity in Singapore, and found that Singaporean teachers are influenced by prevailing political ideologies, and have ambiguous perceptions towards students from less advantaged backgrounds (Anderson, 2015; Alviar-Martin & Ho, 2011; Dixon & Liang, 2009; Ho & Alviar-Martin, 2010; Ho et al., 2014; Lim & Tan, 2018). However, these studies discussed teachers’ individual perceptions of disadvantaged learners without further exploring how these perceptions are mediated by influences from professional development practices, where teachers’ cultural beliefs about diversity issues are in (inter)action as ideas emerge, clash, change, and (dis)agree with each other when teachers work together.
Note: Restricted to NIE Staff.
Project number: 
OER 18/15 JH
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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