The Internationalization of Education and its Effects on the Self-Efficacy of Rural Secondary Mathematics Teachers in Supporting English Language Learners
English Language Learners , English as a Second Language , Secondary Education , Rural Education , Mathematics , Mathematics Education , Teacher Voice , Mathematics Curriculum , Rural Ontario , Education , International Education , Self-Efficacy
The internationalization of education is happening in secondary schools across Canada. Between 2015 and 2017, the number of international students arriving in Canada increased by 41 percent. Ontario alone hosted over 121,000 international students in 2017, and the numbers are projected to go up. Research has shown that both rural and urban school boards are actively recruiting international students. This phenomenon is resulting in increased numbers of English Language Learners (ELLs) in mainstream secondary classrooms. The study examined the effects of this internationalization from the perspective of the lived experience of a small sample of rural secondary mathematics teachers. Unlike those teaching in urban city centres who are likely to have more experience working with ELLs due to historical immigration patterns in Canada, those teaching in rural areas may not be as prepared to work with the linguistic, social, and cultural demands that come with working with ELLs. This qualitative study used open-ended, semi-structured interviews with five rural secondary mathematics teachers and examined the personal and professional challenges faced by these teachers working in a domain-specific class that also requires a knowledge of a specialized language to understand the content. Three themes emerged from the data: (a) Contextual Situation of the School Environment, (b) Teacher Perceptions of International Students, and (c) Teaching Practice. The study makes a significant contribution to the limited research surrounding rural secondary mathematics teachers working with international students in a Canadian context and a discovery of a large gap in research-based strategies and resources for these teachers, specifically those provided by the Ministry of Education of Ontario. The study highlights the need for improved teacher education, for both pre-service and in-service teachers, to increase awareness and understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy and the teaching of language in content classrooms.