Perspectives on primary school literacy in Australia: ESL parents and years 3-6 teachers
thesisposted on 31.01.2017, 04:55 by Sharma, Byanjana
Australian schools are increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse, with large numbers of immigrant and refugee students from English as a Second Language (ESL) backgrounds. This study explores the perspectives of six parents from India, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines, and five government school teachers on literacy pedagogy at a primary school in Victoria, Australia. The purpose of the study was to explore how their perspectives aligned regarding the education of ESL children. For this, research questions relating to parent perspectives, the practice of literacy pedagogy at the school, teacher perspectives, and home-school communication were posed. A qualitative case study approach was used to investigate the problem. Data were drawn from semi-structured group and individual interviews, a parent questionnaire, classroom observations, audio-recording of lessons, school newsletters, students‟ published work, photographs, the researcher‟s journal, and fieldnotes. The findings reveal that in some areas of literacy pedagogy, parent and teacher expectations and perspectives were closely aligned and in some areas they diverged. Both groups agreed on aspects of literacy, including its experiential nature, the use of multiliteracies, the level of teacher support needed, and the value of extensive reading and autonomous learning. Their views differed in regard to prescribed textbooks, classroom teaching approaches, daily homework, regular testing, and home-school communication systems. The implications of these findings shed light on the challenges of home-school partnerships with new ESL parents, and provide a framework to develop better collaboration between parents and teachers. It is expected that this study will make a contribution to the field of TESOL research, and to an understanding of literacy pedagogy in culturally and linguistically diverse schools. This will lead to improved home-school partnerships, which will in turn help to strengthen ESL children‟s literacy learning.