Crossing cultural borders: The negotiation of value conflicts by migrant teachers of mathematics in Australia

Year: 2001

Author: Seah, Wee Tiong, Bishop, Alan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Migrant teachers’ negotiation of cultural value differences and conflicts during their respective professional socialisation experiences is explored from a social constructivist perspective in this paper, based on Bishop's classification of approaches to cultural conflicts. Successful negotiation of these conflicts contributes towards increased teacher efficacy, and thus promotes students’ cognitive, affective and behavioural developments. On the other hand, education involves teachers’ inevitable portrayal of values related to the curriculum subject and its pedagogy, in addition to other more general values. This applies too to school mathematics; afterall, mathematics and mathematics pedagogy are socio-culturally referenced. This paper examines two migrant teachers of mathematics, being part of an ongoing, larger study which investigates the nature of value conflicts and the range of teacher responsive strategies in the secondary mathematics classroom. A qualitative case study methodology which gathered data from document analyses, lesson observations and interviews has been adopted. The different negotiation strategies adopted by the teachers implied the operation of these strategies as a function of teacher-perceived educational context compatibility, and highlighted the role of overriding values. Implications for teacher practice are outlined.