Optimising the professional transition of immigrant teachers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The global mobility and migration of teachers have affected the education environment worldwide. As one of the largest immigrant-receiving countries in the world, Australia has a long history of policies and programs to encourage qualified teacher migration. This study examines the professional transition of immigrant teachers in Australia, in particular, the growing group of immigrant teachers who migrated from Asia to Australia for professional reasons. While there have been studies on immigrant teachers in Australia, few have specifically explored in detail the experiences of the growing number of Asian immigrant teachers who are increasingly represented in Australian schools. This qualitative study aims to understand the professional transition of Asian immigrant teachers' experiences by exploring the enablers and inhibitors that optimise their professional transition.
Using a qualitative inductive approach, this study reports on the professional transition experiences of 10 teachers who migrated from Asia to Australia. Findings revealed that their professional transition is underpinned by a sense of belonging to their school community, which is constructed from three underpinning constructs: their professional identity, their sense of vulnerability, and their intercultural perspectives. The findings contribute to the literature on immigrant teachers by demonstrating that professional transition is a complex and multidimensional construct that involves the interactions between the cognitive (professional identity, intercultural perspective), emotional (sense of vulnerability) and psychological constructs (sense of belonging) and illuminating the behavioural consequences of these interactions (professional transition).
It is argued that there needs to be a more complex view of immigrant teachers' professional transition to replace the deficit perspective that frames the current support strategies that focus on getting immigrant teachers to fit in and conform to the local teaching habits and practices. A more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the phenomenon is necessary to clarify the constructs that affect professional transition and the interaction of these constructs. Such knowledge has the potential to increase the momentum for structural changes and harness the diversity of the teaching workforce by mobilising the strength and talent of immigrant teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2022
EventAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference 2022: Disrupting Teacher Education: Responsive, Reciprocal and Radical Conversations Around Research and Practice - Virtual/Online, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 6 Jul 20228 Jul 2022


ConferenceAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleATEA 2022
Internet address

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