The characteristics of Asia-literate teachers and the implications for an Asia-literate teaching workforce.

Year: 2012

Author: Toe, Dianne, Halse, Christine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Preparing students for the 'Asian century' is a key strategy in the plan to increase Australians' Asia-relevant capabilities.  Part of this process involves establishing the characteristics, experiences, and practices of Asia-literate teachers and principals so that this information can be used to help develop a truly Asia-literate teaching workforce. This paper reports on a study that contributed to this goal.

The study involved online surveys of teachers and principals to identify the characteristics of Asia-literate teachers and principals and how they provide Asia-related teaching and learning experiences to students in their schools.

Survey construction involved five stages: a review of the literature review to identity the key domains of Asia literacy; an evaluation of the key domains by a panel of experts in the area of Asia and Asia literacy; question construction, evaluation and refinement by the research team; mapping of questions onto the AITSL teaching standards; and a final stage of editing and reformatting of questions based on triangulation and feedback of advice through all stages.

Among other areas, the survey sought to elucidate what teachers and principals understand as 'Asia literacy'; their understandings of Asia- related teaching and learning in terms of curriculum, teaching resources, assessment practices and professional knowledge; their attitudes and beliefs about Asia-related teaching and learning; and the sorts of professional learning and leadership strategies for supporting teacher and student learning about Asia.

The surveys were emailed to teachers and principals using an existing data-base of 'Asia-literate' teachers held by the Asia Education Foundation. In addition to identifying patterns across these domains and variations across primary and secondary teachers and principals, the survey identified interesting links between teacher background, beliefs and practices. These analyses will be discussed in relation to how these might help schools, school sectors and education agencies strengthen Asia literacy across the teaching and principals' workforce.