Globalising imperatives and teaching in a cross cultural context : teachers’ work in aboriginal communities located in Saskatchewan
A growing body of literature has drawn attention to the ways in which contemporary education reforms are changing how teachers perform their work, but less attention has been paid to what this means for particular social contexts, including the schools and communities attempting to improve learning for Aboriginal peoples. Teachers are increasingly subject to the dynamics of the global economy, and citizens’ expectations that public schools can solve social and economic problems. Governments have demanded too much from schools and educators given their capacity to be both more productive in education, and to provide more social care than before to Aboriginal students and families, while at the same time achieving the improvement of educational attainment for Aboriginal children and youth. Educational researchers suggest there is evidence that global-productivity and local-community imperatives are contradictory objectives in educational change. Despite the resources and attention given to Aboriginal education, and a more recent resurgence in support for elementary and secondary schooling, teachers have known for some time that citizens’ expectations are goliath in comparison to the actual resources that schools have at their disposal for educational improvement. In contrast with the lack of attention given to educators’ perspectives in literature on school reform, teachers are identified in critical analysis within the sociology of education as key agents crucial to the actualisation of educational improvement for Aboriginal peoples This thesis draws on data from a number of studies pertaining to teachers’ work in Aboriginal communities, conducted between 2002 and 2005, to determine: What do teachers, working in Aboriginal communities located in Saskatchewan, identify as the main factors driving their work? According to teachers, how are the main factors driving their work affected by policies to improve education for Aboriginal students in Saskatchewan? How, if at all, are educators managing to balance the seemingly oppositional policy and program logics of productivity and community while attempting to achieve educational improvement for Aboriginal students in Saskatchewan? Informed by teachers’ perspectives regarding their work in Aboriginal communities, I argue that teachers working in cross cultural contexts, and where governments share jurisdiction over education with Indigenous peoples, may undergo changes in their professionalism which situates them as cultural mediators in the community. Teachers may mediate between the competing demands of governments, parents, students, and even the demands of competing policy and program logics intended, when combined to improve Aboriginal peoples’ educational outcomes.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeKachur, Jerrold; Monture, Patricia; Walker, Keith; Zong, Li; Schissel, Bernard
Copyright DateJune 2009