Migrant maths teachers: deficit, translanguaging, and growing authority

Benson, Alan (2022) Migrant maths teachers: deficit, translanguaging, and growing authority. Languages, 7 (2(136)). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2226-471X


This article draws from a longitudinal case study of trainee (the term used in official documentation related to Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in England and with some reservations throughout this paper) and early-career teachers (ECT) of mathematics. The sample represents migrant teachers that the Immigration Act of 2020 seeks to attract to the UK to address national shortages identified by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The analysis examines how multimodal semiotic repertoires of language, bodies and pedagogical practices are entangled in classroom encounters. It shows how the ideology of Standard English can create an uncomfortable sense of different deficits amongst multilingual professionals and evidences how these can be addressed through a model of authority in which teachers get the right mix of mathematical subject knowledge (epistemic authority), the use of school practices and expectations (practical authority), and individual biography (personal authority). It uses translanguaging spaces to examine how teachers use communicative repertoires to orchestrate semiotic resources and manage their identity positions in ways that promote intercultural competencies during the daily encounters of teachers and their pupils.

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