A study of Australian community schools in action – invisible to visible

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Research depicting teachers often present them as ‘stick figures’ depicted to show the researcher’s view of effective practice (Carter, 1993). This paper uses phenomenology to describe each teacher personally, professionally, and contextually, attempting to avoid collapsing and romanticising the view of a teacher (Hargreaves, 1996). The presentation’s purpose is to use six teachers’ stories as a starting point for understanding and reflecting on the complex nature of community language teaching. The ‘voices’ of six teachers working in three of the largest languages – Chinese, Arabic and Greek – are researched. The study specifies and documents what teaching means to the six teachers and what it means to be a community language teacher from the perspective of a particular ethnic/language group. Rarely and in no cited research literature have such teachers been asked what they really do and need, or about the realities of their work with their students and the effects of policies and curricula they are asked to implement by federal, state and school mandates. This research presents findings on ‘ethnic identity’, ‘language attrition and maintenance’, and the silent everyday struggle that faces teachers in community language schools. This struggle manifests itself in the lack of resources, training, support and problematic nature of creating materials that engage and reflect the current language generational skills and knowledge of second- and third- and fourth-generation language learners. Through telling these community languages teachers’ stories, ‘insights into the particulars of how and why something works and for whom, within in the contexts of particular classrooms’ (Zumwalt, 1982, p. 235, cited in Corchran-Smith & Lytle, 1990) and schools are shared and analysed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational Conference on Language, Education and Diversity 2015 - The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 23 Nov 201526 Nov 2015
Conference number: 4th


ConferenceInternational Conference on Language, Education and Diversity 2015
Abbreviated titleLED 2015
CountryNew Zealand
Internet address

Cite this

Gindidis, M. (2015). A study of Australian community schools in action – invisible to visible. Abstract from International Conference on Language, Education and Diversity 2015, Auckland, New Zealand.