Connections among school contexts, teaching contexts and the quality of teaching

Year: 2006

Author: Amosa, Wendy, Cooper, Sharon

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The question of "what matters most" in terms of impact on student achievement has long been an issue of political and academic focus in Australia, as elsewhere. Current debate separates this discussion into two main factions - those who do, and those who do not believe that quality teaching can compensate for the socio-cultural and socio-economic factors that impact on student achievement. The problem with a debate which separates belief in context and belief in teacher quality, is that it effectively removes consideration of the possible effects of the interaction between these factors, implying that they are mutually exclusive.

In this paper, we investigate the connections between socio-cultural and socio-economic factors as they impact on various school contexts, teaching contexts and the quality of teaching. By investigating these connections, not only do we inform the "what matters most" debate, but we provide insights to guide both local and systemic efforts to improve pedagogy that attend to the specifics of context.