Culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy: What does it look like in initial teacher education?

Year: 2021

Author: D’warte, Jacqueline

Type of paper: Symposium

This paper explores how culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy is potentially situated in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). In this paper, the voices of Pre Service Teachers (PSTs) are heard through survey data, individual interviews and language maps collected in a mixed method study of PSTs Linguistic 'Funds of Knowledge' (Moll et al., 1992). This study undertaken in two metropolitan university programs, explored participants' views of their linguistic funds of knowledge, how their funds translated into future teaching and how the program and university recognised their skills. Attention is given to how institutional practices and PSTs' own attitudes and beliefs about their linguistic knowledge intersected to facilitate culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy. Gay (2010) defines culturally responsive pedagogy as teaching "to and through [students'] personal and cultural strengths, their intellectual capabilities, and their prior accomplishments" (p. 26). Gay suggests this involves "close interactions among ethnic identity, cultural background, and student achievement" (p. 27). Recently Paris (2012) has questioned if the terms "relevant" and "responsive" go far enough in their orientation to the languages and literacies and cultural practices of marginalized communities and offers the term culturally sustaining pedagogy to promote "linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of school" (p. 93). In the context of Australian classrooms, Morrison, et al. (2019) and Rigney et al. (2020), offer strong theoretical and pedagogical models of culturally responsive practices that have enhanced and improved teaching and learning for students and teachers. Yet little research examines how culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy is employed in ITE.At least one third of Australian university students training to be primary or secondary teachers speak one or more non-English languages (Moloney & Giles, 2019). State education authorities require ITE to ensure that beginning teachers can work effectively with students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (AITSL 2017). Correspondingly, should ITE programs be directed to work effectively with their culturally and linguistically diverse PSTs? In the Australian educational landscape, bilingualism and bilingual education have been privileged when the acquisition of particular languages are seen as influential and valued (e.g., Asian languages: NALSAS strategy). In contrast, the maintenance and development of home languages does not receive such validation, often positioned as signally disadvantage. This paper examines the enactment of culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy in ITE, and the need for new forms of applied knowledge on how educational sectors can actively capitalise on Australia's multilingual capabilities.