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Beyond barriers: the challenge of cultural diversity for nurse academics in the Australian context

By Vicki Parker and Margaret McMillan

Abstract

In spite of the increasing significance of cultural diversity for nursing, some Australian nurse teachers are not well prepared for the challenges they face, nor have nursing curricula been re-conceptualized to meet the changing needs of society and more specifically nursing students. Although numerous teaching and learning programmes for inclusion of diversity are reported in the literature, both within Australia and overseas, there appears to be little commitment to the adoption of a more fundamental change in curricula and teaching and learning practices. In particular there appears to be little attention to how teachers negotiate meaningful social dynamics within multicultural learning contexts. This article reports on the findings of a study carried out across two Schools of Nursing in Australia. The purpose of the study was to explore why schools have been reluctant to move to more culturally diverse models of teaching and learning. This paper reports on the findings of focus groups with teachers about their experiences of teaching in the context of cultural diversity. Study findings explore teachers’ perceptions of cultural diversity and its impact on teaching and learning nursing. Teachers reported a range of tensions arising from lack of a shared philosophical view about curricula generally, lack of consideration of diversity as a significant issue for both teachers and students, limited perceptions of community as a key driver of curricula and a reluctance to address the difficult and contentious issues arising from diversity in the classroom

Topics: cultural diversity, curriculum, teaching, diversity, difference
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.colegn.2008.07.001
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