Framing Multicultural Capital to Understand Multicultural Education in Practice

By Cristina Poyatos Matas and Susan M. Bridges.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Educational institutions are agents that can support culturally and linguistically diverse communities and promote transformative change in preparing global citizens. The degree of preparedness of citizens to deal with the new multicultural reality that constitutes modern life has real economic implications for a nation’s success. By adopting a multicultural capital framework that synthesises current capital theories across fields, we seek to understand how educational institutions can prepare students for a world in which the ability to move across cultures and languages significantly determines an individual’s ability to succeed. Middle schooling has been increasingly identified in educational literature as an identifiable stage in schooling that spans traditional notions of primary and secondary schooling and that holds distinct characteristics and needs. Drawing upon ethnographic data from a qualitative, exploratory study, this paper maps educational practices (both pedagogic and institutional) across six middle schools in urban Australia. By mapping these practices to the proposed multicultural capital framework, we identify how culturally proactive educational institutions productively draw upon multicultural capital to foster and promote a distinctly Australian perspective of what constitutes multicultural education.

Keywords: Multicultural Education, Multicultural Capital, Middle Schooling

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp.379-396. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.379MB).

A/Prof. Cristina Poyatos Matas

Senior Lecturer, School of Languages and Linguistics, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cristina is a senior lecturer at Griffith University in the School of Languages and Linguistics. Her interest in teaching innovations is internationally recognised, and she has twice been selected as a finalist in the prestigious Australian Awards for University Teaching, and, in 2003, she was awarded a HERDSA Teaching Fellowship. She was awarded the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual International Conference Prize, and in 2007 she received Research Excellence Award (with Dr Bridges) of the International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations. She has delivered workshops and keynote addresses to academics in France, Spain, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, England, and USA. Her research is in the areas of multicultural education, ethnolinguistics, student centred assessment, research supervision and academic well-being. She is currently PhD studies program co-ordinator for Griffith University’s School of Languages and Linguistics.

Dr. Susan M. Bridges

Assistant Professor, Dental Education and E-Learning, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, China

Susan Bridges has taught in mainstream and higher education for the past 25 years. She is currently an assistant professor with the Faculty of Dentistry at The University of Hong Kong where she works in curriculum design and e-learning. Previously, she was a research fellow with the Faculty of Education at Griffith University. Her research focuses on pedagogy, cultural and linguistic diversity and interaction. Recent co-authored publications on multicultural education and global academic movement have been recognised with Common Ground International Awards of Excellence in 2007 (winner) and 2008 (runner-up).


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