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Making difference count: a demographic study of overseas born teachers.

This article reports on the findings of a demographic study which is part of an Australian Research Council funded case study. It seeks to better understand the experiences and challenges facing teachers who are overseas born and educated non-native speakers of English. The investigation has been carried out in Victorian government metropolitan, regional city and rural secondary schools. A statewide survey has provided data about this previously `invisible' population of teachers, their demographic location, their qualifications, backgrounds and the nature of their teaching experiences. The findings raise a number of concerns in relation to overseas born teachers of ethnic difference in rural schools where cultural and professional isolation may be of particular concern. We explore some of the implications for teacher education in the light of increasing numbers of overseas born students entering teacher education courses.


Recent Victorian government policies on teaching languages other than English (LOTE) have created a particular demand for teachers who can speak and teach Asian languages (Directorate of School Education, 1993). In many cases, native speakers of Asian languages most readily meet the language proficiency requirements for entry to LOTE teacher education. In response to this demand there seems to be a small but significant increase in the numbers of teachers who are overseas born and educated non-native speakers of English entering teacher education courses and then the teaching profession.

In our preliminary investigations of this teaching population we were struck by the fact that their presence is largely `invisible'. When we sought information about the demographic characteristics of overseas born and educated non-native English-speaking teachers, we were surprised to find so little available. One of the few studies which have documented teacher ethnicity was conducted almost ten years ago and developed a profile of Australian teachers taking into account a wide range of general characteristics beyond those of ethnicity (Logan, Dempster, Berkeley, Chant, Howell, & Warry, 1990). Teacher ethnicity has been a focus of research in North American and British contexts for many years, and the work of Zimpher and Ashburn (1992) and Rakhit (1998), for example, highlights the problem of racism directed towards teachers of colour from their colleagues. The lack of attention in an Australian context may be read as simply implying that the individuals comprising this group of overseas born and educated non-native English-speaking teachers make a successful transition to the Australian education system and that there is no problem here. However Santoro's study (1997) of the experiences of two Chinese born and educated student teachers on their three-week practicum in Melbourne secondary schools suggests otherwise. Santoro's investigation of the way student teacher identities were constructed by their supervising teachers showed strong links between the student teachers' performance, gender, ethnicity, and status as non-native speakers of English.

As the numbers of overseas born and educated non-native speakers of English graduating from teacher education courses continues to increase to meet the demand for LOTE teachers, the need to document the experiences of this particular group of teachers is made all the more urgent. As Troyna and Rizvi (1997) note:
 The failure to view the current representations of teaching as racially
 constituted is not only empirically impoverished, insofar as it turns a
 blind eye to the diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial mix of the teaching
 profession, but ... it is also illustrative of what Iris Marion Young
 (1990) calls, somewhat provocatively, `cultural imperialism'. This consists
 in a group's being invisible at the same time that it is marked out and
 stereotyped. (p. 263)

The authors' location as teacher educators makes us particularly concerned to attend to the nature and content of teacher education programs. In particular, we are concerned about the cultural and professional stresses experienced by overseas born and educated non-native English-speaking teachers. In a study of stress in career transitions to teaching, James (1997) notes:
 For most people entering teaching, the unpredictability of the classroom is
 likely to challenge a sense of ontological security (Giddens, 1991);
 exploring new practices often leads initially to a sense of inadequacy and
 loss of control (Schon, 1987); and changes in lifestyle require a major
 reorientation in strategies for coping. Identity changes and challenges to
 attitudes and values are additionally stressful (Freidus, 1992). (p. 22)

Given the fact that overseas born and educated non-native English-speaking teachers have the additional stress of cultural and geographic relocation, they are more likely than their Australian-born colleagues to be at risk. It seems to us that the assistance currently provided by most teacher education courses is inadequate for the demanding and multiple transitions faced by most overseas born teachers. To extend our understanding and better prepare our current and future teacher education students, we have sought to make visible the experiences of qualified and experienced teachers who are overseas born and educated non-native speakers of English.

We have also taken account of the need to investigate the differences between the experiences of overseas born and educated non-native speakers of English in different cultural-geographical settings. Given recent attention to perceptions of teacher status among parents and students (Senate Employment, Education and Training Reference Committee, 1998), this study is important in identifying some of the potential difficulties faced by overseas born and educated non-native English-speaking teachers in rural schools where contact with ethnic minority groups is likely to be limited. Within the teaching profession itself, teachers who are marked as ethnically different can sometimes find acceptance difficult. Zimpher and Ashburn (1992) highlight the extent to which many people who choose to enter the teaching profession are often what they describe as `culturally insular', claiming that this `may be a function of limited access to diversity and little tolerance toward difference' (p.44). Current debate about the degree to which intercultural contact reduces stereotyping and prejudice is inconclusive. While there is substantial evidence indicating that increased contact reduces the incidence of racism (Zimpher & Ashburn 1992), other studies claim the reverse is possible (O'Driscoll, Hague, & Osaka, 1983).

Our study has two parts. The first is a demographic study of the population of teachers in Victorian state secondary schools who are overseas born, have completed at least secondary education overseas and are non-native speakers of English (hereafter referred to as `overseas born' for the purpose of brevity). We surveyed Victorian government secondary schools, the school sector where most of our own teacher education students are located during practicum. The information collected from the survey is designed to serve a mapping function, and to make visible the diversity, location and characteristics of overseas born teachers. As this demographic information is not currently available, it should be of use both to employers and educational policy makers. The second part is a case study of eight teachers from rural, regional and metropolitan areas, male and female, both currently and formerly employed. Although we discuss only the demographic study in this paper, the two aspects of our research design are clearly related, as the demographic study provides the ground against which particular case studies can be read. They form the focus of a subsequent paper.

The survey

After receiving ethics clearance from the Victorian Department of Education (DOE) and university ethics committees and piloting the questionnaire with volunteers, it was sent to every Victorian government secondary school in Victoria during term 1, 1998, directed to the attention of the principal. It was a self-administered questionnaire consisting of a combination of closed questions and open questions (linked to limited response items). Principals were asked to provide general details about the teachers on their staff, including questions about:

* total number of teachers on staff

* total number male/female teachers and of those, number employed part time or full time

* number of teachers who have ongoing, fixed term or casual employment agreement

* whether there are overseas born teachers currently on staff

* whether there have been overseas born teachers on staff in the past and if so, whether any have left the school in the past five years and for what reasons.

After the completion of these questions by the principal, the questionnaire was then passed to teachers at the school whom principals knew to be overseas born and educated non-native speakers of English. The teachers were then required to return the questionnaires to the researchers after completing the remaining 16 questions and anonymously providing details about:
1 gender
2 employment status
3 time fraction
4 age
5 qualifications
6 country of origin
7 date of arrival in Australia
8 mother tongue
9 other languages spoken
10 number of years teaching in Australia
11 number of years teaching in current school
12 method of recruitment to the school
13 current teaching subjects
14 year levels currently taught
15 positions of responsibility held
16 teaching experience in country of origin and
 if so, subjects taught

The analysis comprised descriptive statistics expressed as frequency distribution, histograms and averages and was conducted in two parts:

* the schools that responded to the survey

* the individuals who satisfied the criteria indicated (i.e. teachers who are overseas born, have completed at least secondary schooling overseas and are non-native speakers of English).

Statistical inference tests conducted were: Chi-squared test of independence on the cross tabulations t-tests; Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests; Least Significance Difference (LSD) post-hoc tests for significant ANOVA tests. Statistical inference tests with a p=value < 0.05 or f-prob =value < 0.05 mean the findings can be inferred to the wider population.

When the questionnaires were returned, the replies were sorted according to the schools' geographic locations. Our division of Victoria into three regions (metropolitan, regional city and rural) reflects our interest in developing a better understanding of the location of overseas born teachers in Victoria. We have been guided by the boundaries established by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and used by the DOE for its demographic planning. Schools outside the ABS metropolitan boundaries considered regional city schools are in the cities of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Shepparton, Traralgon, Warrnambool and Wodonga. All others outside the metropolitan boundaries are considered rural.

Table 1 shows there was an overall return rate of 38 per cent. Of those returns, 38.5 per cent were from metropolitan schools, 45.4 per cent from regional city schools and 54.2 per cent from rural schools. We partly attribute this difference in response rates between the state areas to the design of the questionnaire. In schools where there were no overseas born teachers, principals were only required to complete the 13 questions on the first page of the questionnaire. In schools with overseas born teachers, responses by principal and teachers were required. Furthermore, where schools had several overseas born teachers, the time required to complete the questionnaire and co-ordinate the collection of individual responses would have been much greater. For rural and regional city schools where populations of overseas born teachers are smaller, the completion of the questionnaire was an easier task and therefore much more likely to be returned.


The findings have been divided into two major sections. The first section reports the findings based on data collected front principals and provides a demographic profile of the schools. The second section reports data provided by the teachers themselves, which we present as personal and professional profiles.


Of the total number of staff in the surveyed schools (n=5886) only 2.0 per cent (n=l18) are overseas born and of the responding 117 schools, 42.7 per cent have at least one overseas born teacher currently working at the school. Table 2 provides details of the location of overseas born teachers in schools across the three areas of the state.

Table 2 shows of the overseas born teacher population, 79.7 per cent are in metropolitan schools, 7.6 per cent are in regional city schools and 12.7 per cent are in rural schools. Of the schools which have more than one overseas born teacher, 64 per cent are metropolitan schools and 40 per cent are regional city schools. No rural schools have more than one overseas born teacher.

The substantially higher numbers of overseas born teachers in metropolitan schools is not surprising given Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA, 1996) statistics regarding settlement patterns of non-English-speaking background (NESB) immigrants in large urban centres and the associated cultural support services which continue to draw immigrants to these centres. However, the greater numbers of overseas born teachers in rural schools rather than regional city schools is more surprising. Given the smaller numbers of immigrants generally in rural areas, those overseas born teachers in rural schools are likely to be more culturally isolated, not only within their working context where they are likely to be the only overseas born teacher, but also within the community.

Overall, of the schools that responded to our survey, there are fewer schools currently employing overseas born teachers than had been the case in the previous five years. We selected a five-year time frame as an adequate indicator of staff retention and change most likely to remain within the institutional memory of the school. Of the 59 schools which have had overseas born teachers on staff in the past, 33.8 per cent no longer have them. Table 3 provides details of schools across geographic locations which previously had overseas born teachers but no longer have them.

Table 3 indicates that of metropolitan schools which have previously had over-seas born teachers on staff, 25 per cent no longer have them, 62.5 per cent of regional city schools which have previously had overseas born teachers on staff no longer have them and of the 16 rural schools, 37.5 per cent no longer have them. This change does not indicate a drop in the overall number of overseas born teachers, but rather in the number of schools that employ them. However, the decrease in regional city schools in particular might suggest that teachers from these schools are resigning or taking early retirement packages rather than transferring and/or being replaced. Later in this article we show that overseas born teachers in regional city schools are least likely to transfer or change schools and are most likely to be over 50 years of age.

Of the responding 117 schools, 28.2 per cent have had overseas born teachers leave in the past five years--a total of 98 teachers. Of those 98 teachers, 43 per cent have transferred to another school and 41 per cent have resigned from teaching in the state school system. Principals provided the following reasons for the resignation of overseas born teachers from their staff:

* took voluntary departure package;

* returned overseas;

* entered private business venture;

* left Victoria;

* retired;

* gone to private school.

As the survey did not collect data on the numbers of overseas born teachers in previous years, this study is unable to determine the percentage of overseas born teachers who have resigned from the teaching profession in the last five years. However, principals indicated in their responses that 34.7 per cent of what amounts to the current research sample in this study (118 teachers) have left the Victorian government education system within the last five years.

The teachers

Personal and demographic profile In contrast to the Victorian secondary teacher population as a whole which consists of a slightly higher percentage of females (54 per cent) (ABS, 1997), males constitute 51.4 per cent of the overseas born teacher population. Of all overseas born teachers, 42 per cent are aged between 40-49, 29.5 per cent are in the 50+ age group, 19.6 per cent are between 30-39 years of age and only 8.9 per cent are aged 20-29. Although it is not the focus of this research to compare overseas born teachers with the general teaching population, these figures would appear to reflect the age range of the wider Australian teaching population (ABS, 1998). Table 4 provides details of overseas born teachers' ages and their geographic location across the state.

Of the overseas born teachers in metropolitan schools, the vast majority are in the 40-50+ age group (71.9 per cent), and of those in regional schools, 87.5 per cent are in the 40-50+ age group. In contrast, only 60 per cent of overseas born teachers in rural schools are in the 40-50+ age group. Of the youngest teachers (20-29 age group), 90 per cent are from Asia whereas 62.5 per cent of teachers from the Indian sub-continent are in the 50+ age group.

The findings indicate that it is the youngest overseas born teachers who are working in rural areas. Younger staff are probably less financially established and have fewer family ties than older teachers and are more able to seek employment away from metropolitan and regional city areas. There may also be greater opportunities for teachers to find employment in rural areas. The greatest growth, for example, reported in the provision of LOTE instruction over 1995 was 6.4 percent for country schools (non-metropolitan) for Year 9 students (DOE, 1997). Given the relatively low numbers of immigrants of non-English-speaking background and associated support networks in rural areas compared with the metropolitan and regional city areas, job opportunities rather than lifestyle may be the main attraction for shifts to rural Victoria.

There is significant diversity in the range of countries from which overseas teachers originate. The 40 countries listed by participants are: Algeria, Austria, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey, USSR, Vietnam, Yugoslavia. For ease of analysis, Table 5 divides these countries into five demographic and cultural regions: Europe, Asia, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, and Other. The last category comprises South American countries, Pacific Islands and African countries.

The majority of overseas born teachers are Asian 36.0 per cent, European 27.2 per cent, Middle Eastern 17.5 per cent, Indian subcontinent 12.3 per cent and `Other' 7.0 per cent. These findings differ from those of the Australia-wide survey conducted by Logan et al. (1990) which indicated that the majority of overseas born teachers were born in Europe (67.5 per cent). The significant increase in teachers from countries other than those in Europe, particularly Asia, is not surprising given the recent development of LOTE policies. The introduction of Asian languages to Victorian schools has seen an increased demand for teachers who can speak and teach Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian and, to some degree, Korean. In response to the DOE 1996 LOTE survey, regional Victorian schools (rural areas including regional city) expressed a strong desire to develop two Asian language programs, in particular--Indonesian and Japanese (DOE, 1997). Native speakers of these languages who satisfy LOTE language proficiency requirements for entry to teacher education courses have recognised the employment potential in Victorian schools and are increasingly completing teacher education courses and entering schools as teachers of LOTE. Numbers of younger Asian teachers also reflect Australia's recent immigration patterns (DIMA, 1996). Many of the teachers from Europe and the Middle East have been in Australia since the early 1960s when there were large numbers of immigrants from these regions.

There is a significant difference in the countries of origin of overseas born teachers and their teaching location p=0.002). The majority of overseas born teachers in rural schools are Asian whereas regional city schools have the fewest Asian teachers. Teachers from the Indian sub-continent are predominantly in regional city schools as are teachers in the `Other' category. All Middle Eastern teachers are located in metropolitan schools.

Although the population of overseas born teachers certainly appears to represent a diverse range of countries of origin, it does not reflect the vast range of non-English-speaking countries from which Australia receives immigrants (DIMA, 1996), nor is the percentage of overseas born teachers (2.0%) reflective of the numbers of people who are overseas born and educated non-native speakers of English living in the community. This is problematic for two major reasons. First, according to Rizvi (1992), the relatively low number of bi-cultural, bi-lingual overseas born teachers in Australian schools is one of the reasons teachers often fail to `recognise the role schools play in the perpetuation of racism' (p.73). Secondly, teachers of ethnic difference may counter the tendency of teachers of Anglo-Australian background to see multicultural education as simply a way to give students of language background other than English (LBOTE) a means to display their culture through celebratory activities rather than as a set of values that challenge the `ethnocentricity implicit in the content of the conventional curriculum and organisational practice' (p.74).

Overseas born teachers are multilingual. They speak an average of 3.3 languages each (including English). This linguistic and cultural knowledge is an enormous resource which may well be underutilised in schools, given that 7.3 per cent of LOTE teachers (2.5 per cent of total overseas born teacher population) teach only one language. Although many of the languages spoken by overseas born teachers are not languages which are currently taught in school LOTE programs, many of the teachers indicated on the questionnaire that they speak several of the languages which are currently on offer.

The number of years the overseas born teachers in this Victorian sample have been in Australia ranges from 2 years to 40 years. The average is 17.1 years. Overseas born teachers in metropolitan schools have been in Australia an average of 18.5 years, in rural schools an average of 12.4 years and in regional city schools an average of 21.3 years. These figures appear to be related to current and former immigration patterns. The older teachers who have been in Australia for longer periods of time are European or Middle Eastern, having immigrated during the 1960s and 1970s. The more recent immigration from South East Asia occurred during the 1980s and the 1990s.

Professional and teaching profile The educational attainment of overseas born teachers does not appear to be vastly different across regional city, rural and metropolitan regions. Most teachers have bachelor degrees (79.1%), followed by masters degrees (15.7%), diploma (3.5%) and doctorate (1.7%). Table 6 documents the teaching subjects of overseas born teachers, many of whom teach across several curriculum Key Learning Areas (KLA), with some nominating three to four different subjects on the questionnaire.

Although the majority of overseas born teachers are teachers of LOTE (36.3%), their numbers are not greatly different from the numbers of teachers teaching Mathematics (32.7%) and Science (29.2%). Information technology teachers are the next most highly represented group (17.7%) followed Studies of Society and the Environment (SOSE) (16.8%), English (15.9%), PE/Health (10.6%) and Arts (2.7%).

This distribution of teaching areas is similar across regional city, rural and metropolitan regions. However, in regional city schools, the majority of overseas born teachers teach science (33.3%) followed by mathematics (26.7%). Fifty-one per cent of teachers of LOTE are Asian.

Teachers nominated several year levels in which they teach, but are more likely to teach the year levels which require greater class management strategies and which are often regarded as the less prestigious year levels to teach. Thus, only 36.6 per cent teach Year 12 even though they are generally of mature age with 12 years teaching experience in Australia. Of overseas born teachers, 79.5 per cent teach Year 9, 76.8 per cent teach Year 8, 71.4 per cent teach Year 10, 64.3 per cent teach Year 7 and 50 per cent teach Year 11.

Of the respondents, 17.7 per cent have positions of responsibility with the majority being LOTE coordinators (7.6%). Of LOTE teachers, 21 per cent are also LOTE coordinators. Although it is impossible to clearly draw comparisons between overseas born teachers and the wider teaching population with regard to positions of responsibility, these findings suggest overseas born teachers have a significant chance of taking on positions of responsibility as LOTE co-ordinators. In many cases, the LOTE coordinator may also be the only LOTE teacher in the school, particularly in smaller rural schools. This situation increases the chances of professional isolation, already compounded by limited access to subject associations and other support networks.

Overseas born teachers' employment status is similar to the surveyed sample of `other' teachers in their schools. Of overseas born teachers, 81.7 per cent are employed on an ongoing basis and 14.7 per cent of overseas born teachers are employed on fixed term agreements. This compares with 83.7 per cent and 16.3 per cent of other teachers respectively. However, while only 0.59 per cent of the wider population of teachers are employed as casual relief teachers, 3.7 per cent of overseas born teachers have casual employment. There is a significant difference between ongoing employment status of overseas born teachers and their geographical location (p=0.003). In rural schools, only 53.3 per cent of overseas born teachers, compared with 88.9 per cent in regional city schools and 85.9 per cent in metropolitan schools, are employed on an ongoing basis.

The casual employment status of overseas born teachers in comparison with others is of concern. Overseas born teachers who are LOTE teachers might be expected to be relatively secure in their positions in schools (that is, in ongoing or contract positions) given the demand for teachers of LOTE, especially in non-metropolitan schools. However the percentage of casual appointments reflects what might be seen to be active discriminatory practice where overseas born teachers are employed almost on a provisional basis.

Overseas born teachers in regional city schools have been living in Australia for the greatest period of time (21.3 yrs) and those in rural schools for the least amount of time (12.4 yrs). There are significant differences between geographic location and (a) period of time teaching in Australia (f-prob= 0.0007) and (b) period of time teaching in current school (f-prob=0.02). Overseas born teachers in regional city schools have been teaching in Australia for the longest period of time (17.2 yrs) and have been in their current schools for the longest period of time (9.5 yrs). Those teachers in rural schools are the least experienced, having taught in Australia for the shortest period of time (7.3 years) and having been employed in their current position for an average of 3.6 years.

The ways in which overseas born teachers have found positions in schools is also of interest. Overseas born teachers are recruited to schools by either transfer (35.1%), advertised vacancy (37.8%) or other means (27.0%). The `other' category includes recruitment through casual relief teaching. Rural teachers are more likely to be recruited through advertised vacancy (46.7%), regional city teachers are least likely to be recruited through advertised vacancy (11.1%) and metropolitan teachers are recruited fairly evenly across all categories of recruitment. Overseas born teachers in rural schools have generally entered the state education system at a time when transfer or centralised appointments have been abolished in favour of school-based recruitment through newspaper advertisements.

Of the respondents, 44.1 per cent of teachers were previously teachers in their countries of origin. Of those who taught science, 88.9 per cent currently teach science, 80 per cent of those who taught English before now teach LOTE, 87.5 of those who taught mathematics currently teach mathematics. Rural teachers are more likely to have been teachers previously (53.3%) and regional city teachers least likely (33.3%). Rural teachers are more likely to be currently teaching LOTE than the subject they taught in their country of origin. This is not surprising given the demand for LOTE teachers and the increased job opportunities in country schools which can generally find their LOTE staffing requirements more difficult to fill. The gap between arriving in Australia and beginning to teach (see Table 8) might suggest overseas born teachers were involved in re-training or in the process of having qualifications assessed by government authorities. We can assume, therefore, that most overseas born rural teachers have undergone teacher education in Australia (as would most overseas born teachers across all state areas), but they are more likely to have undergone re-training in a totally different subject area. Anecdotal evidence suggests that native speakers of foreign languages which are in demand are often asked to teach these subjects to fill a shortfall in staffing, regardless of whether they have obtained formal language teaching qualifications. For these teachers, the task of teaching LOTE without adequate professional preparation would be an extremely challenging task.

Implications for teacher education

Our findings suggest two key implications for teacher education and teacher educators. First, we need to acknowledge that many overseas born teachers have taught in their countries of origin and that we need to value and accept their previous teaching experiences. We need to assist them to adjust to a system which might be vastly different from that in which they have previously worked. Some overseas born teachers have never been in Australian schools prior to their first practicum and their understandings of everyday practices in Australian schools may be limited. Teacher education courses often assume rather than make explicit this knowledge. Providing exactly the same teacher education as for student teachers who have been schooled in Australia may not be appropriate in many cases.

Secondly, we need to better understand the professional and cultural isolation overseas born teachers may experience in rural and/or small communities (Kamler, Santoro, & Reid, 1998). In particular, we need to ensure the adequate preparation of student teachers who may find themselves professionally isolated if they are LOTE teachers in small schools. They will need to be resourceful and independent professionals who will often be working alone as the school's only LOTE teacher and without the support available to those teachers working in faculties with several colleagues. They need to develop effective class management strategies given the likelihood they will teach the more junior year levels in schools. Many teachers will struggle in their early years of teaching to cope with the demands of what might be a new way of working, and the extra responsibility of establishing LOTE programs and taking on the duties of subject co-ordination--a task normally reserved for more experienced teachers. Overseas born teachers who take jobs working outside the metropolitan area may find themselves culturally as well as professionally isolated. If overseas born teachers are to remain teaching and make effective contributions to schools, it is essential that such stresses are covered in teacher education programs.
Table 1 Questionnaire returns by geographic area

 Total schools in state Responding school
State areas (n) (n) (%)

Metropolitan 170 45 (38.5)
Regional city 33 15 (45.4)
Rural 105 57 (54.2)
Total 308 117 (38.0)
Table 2 Geographic location of teachers

 Overseas born Teachers
State areas % (n)

Metropolitan 79.7 (94)
Regional city 7.6 (9)
Rural 12.7 (15)
Total 100 (118)
Table 3 Schools which previously had overseas teachers
but no longer have them

 Schools which have had Schools which have had
 overseas born teachers overseas born teachers
 in the past in the past but do not
 have them in 1998
State areas (n) (n)

Metropolitan 35 9
Regional city 8 5
Rural 16 6
Total 59 20
Table 4 Overseas born teachers' ages and their
geographical location

 50+ age group 40-49 age group
State area % (n) % (n)

Metropolitan 31.5% (28) 40.4% (36)
Regional city 37.5% (3) 50.0% (4)
Rural 13.3% (2) 46.7% (7)

 30-39 age group 20-29 age group
State area % (n) % (n)

Metropolitan 21.3% (19) 6.7% (6)
Regional city 12.5% (1) -- (--)
Rural 13.3% (2) 26.7% (4)
Table 5 Overseas born teachers' countries of origin
and teaching location across areas of the state.

 Europe Middle East Subcontinent
State area % (n) % (n) % (n)

Metropolitan 28.9% (26) 22.2% (20) 6.7% (6)
Regional city 22.2% (2) -- (--) 22.2% (2)
Rural 20.0% (3) -- (--) -- (--)

 Asia Other
State area % (n) % (n)

Metropolitan 33.3% (30) 8.9% (8)
Regional city 11.1% (1) 44.4% (4)
Rural 66.7% (10) 13.3% (2)
Table 6 Teaching subjects
 Overseas born teachers
Key Learning Areas (n) %

LOTE (41) 36.3%
Mathematics (37) 32.7%
Science (33) 29.2%
Information technology (20) 17.7%
Studies of Society and the Environment (19) 16.8%
English (18) 15.9%
PE/Health (12) 10.6%
Arts (3) 2.7%
Table 7 Employment status of overseas born teachers in
comparison with other teachers

 Overseas born teachers Other teachers
Employment status % %

Ongoing 81.7% 83.7%
Fixed term agreement
 (contract) 14.7% 16.3%
Casual 3.7% 0.6%
Table 8 Overseas born teachers' period of residency in Australia,
teaching experience and geographic location

 Period of time Period of time
 living in Australia teaching in Australia
State areas Years (mn) Years (mn)

Metropolitan 18.5 12.2
Regional city 21.3 17.2
Rural 12.4 7.3

 Period of time teaching
 in current school
State areas Years (mn)

Metropolitan 6.3
Regional city 9.5
Rural 3.6
Table 9 Teacher profiles the three demographic areas

 Metropolitan Regional city

In comparison with their rural In comparison with their rural
and regional city colleagues, and metropolitan colleagues,
overseas born teachers in overseas born teachers in
metropolitan schools are regional city schools are more
more likely to: likely to be:

* be fairly experienced within * male
 the Australian education * aged 40+
 system * South American, South
* transfer schools Pacific Islander or of African
* be European or Middle background
 Eastern. * very experienced teachers
 within the Australian
 education system
 * stable and not transfer or
 change schools
 * a long-term resident of
 * non-teachers in their
 countries of origin but, if
 they have been, will probably
 still be teaching the same
 employed on an ongoing


In comparison with their
regional city and metropolitan
colleagues, overseas born
teachers in rural schools are
more likely to be:

* female
* in the 20-29 age group
* Asian
* teachers of LOTE
* casually employed
* part time
* teachers of science in their
 countries of origin and
 therefore are more likely to
 have undergone re-training
 in LOTE education
* inexperienced teachers
 within the Australian
 education system
* employed in their current
 schools for short periods of
* reasonably recent


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Ninetta Santoro is a Lecturer in the School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education, Deakin University, Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125. JoAnne Reid is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2350. Barbara Kamler is an Associate Professor in the School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education, Deakin University, Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125.
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Author:Kamler, Barbara
Publication:Australian Journal of Education
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 1, 2001
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