Project updates


Cultural Diversity in Rural Schools, April 2016

Neroli Colvin spoke to the Regional Voices radio program about the different ways regional communities face and embrace a changing cultural mix as regional communities and schools continue to evolve.


Rethinking Multicultural Education: Research, Policy, Practice conference

On 27, 28 November 2014 the Rethinking Multicultural Education: Research, Policy, Practice conference was held. As the culmination of Rethinking Multiculturalism, Reassessing Multicultural Education (RMRME), an Australian Research Council Linkage Project between researchers from the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC), and the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES), the event brought together researchers, policy makers, school executive and classroom teachers to explore the current state of multicultural education in NSW and Australia.

Day 1 of the conference involved the presentation of the findings from the RMRME project over three sessions incorporating panels of academic, policy, teaching and community representatives.

Day 2 of the conference involved sessions on issues in current multicultural education research and offered an extensive program of professional learning on anti-racism, community engagement, English as an Additional Language/ Dialect (EAL/D) and refugee education. Practitioners discussed policy implications and presented models of successful school practice.


Final Reports, December 2012

School research teams submitted their final reports on their action research projects in early December. These reports will be available to other schools involved in the project through the teacher portal.


24 November 2012: End of Project Presentation Day

On 24 November, action research project teams from the 14 schools participated in a presentation day, during which each school team reported on their project design, implementation and findings. These presentations were followed by discussions with other school teams to share strategies and ideas for change and improvement to the projects, many of which will continue beyond the completion of the action research project. School teams will be able to share their presentations through the teacher portal.


November 2012: Post- Action Research Focus Groups Discussions and Interviews in Schools

Throughout November UWS researchers  conducted focus group discussions with each of the 14 school research teams and interviewing school principals. These interviews asked school teams and principals to reflect on how their projects  played out, and explored their approaches to understandings of research and multicultural education after the completion of the project. The interviews will inform the evaluation of the action research projects within schools.


November 2012: Survey Report Update           

A draft report on the data collected from the statewide survey on teacher understandings and experiences of multicultural education has been produced by UWS/MPU/NSWIT team. The report will be published in March 2013.


August- October 2012: Observations of Action Research Projects

Between August and October 2012, UWS researchers visited schools involved in the project to conduct observations of aspects of their action research projects. Observations ranged from lessons engaging with particular pedagogical strategies, critical literacy lessons, multicultural celebrations, performances addressing issues of multiculturalism, to meetings and focus groups engaging parents from LBOTE backgrounds. These observations will inform the research on how action research projects are playing out in the schools that are involved. These findings will be published in late 2013.


June 2012: Day Three of Professional Learning

On 22 June, action research teams from the 14 schools involved in the project participated in the third professional learning workshop conducted by the UWS/MPU/NSWIT research team. At this workshop teachers presented a progress report to researchers and other school groups, which included an update on their project and identified any issues arising. School teams were  supported to work through any issues through discussion with other schools and with UWS/MPU researchers.


April 2012: School Teams Devise Action Research Projects

In April, with the support of the MPU and UWS researchers, school teams developed the action research projects that they will undertake in their schools throughout the rest of 2012. Projects range from whole school initiatives looking at community engagement and cultural diversity to curriculum based interventions to increase students’ intercultural understanding. Each project was  devised according to the perceived needs of the school, and often in response to the survey data emerging from the school surveys.


March 2012: Pre- Action Research Project Interviews and Focus Group Discussions in Schools

Throughout March, the UWS research team undertook focus group discussions with the 14 school research teams and interviewed school principals. These discussions aimed to collect information about the schools, the school research project and the training to inform the evaluation of the action research projects in schools.


February 2012: Professional Learning for School Research Teams

Teams of teachers from each of the 14 schools involved in the project participated in a two-day professional learning workshop, conducted by the collaborative UWS/DEC/NSWIT research team. The workshop explored contemporary ideas of multiculturalism and cultural diversity, and provided teachers with training around action research to equip them to undertake action research projects in their schools. Resources and information from the professional learning days is available to teachers in the schools involved in the project through the teacher portal.


October 2011: Administering school surveys

Schools participating in the project were asked to complete the online survey for teachers for a second time to collect data on how the perceptions and experiences around multicultural education of teachers at these schools compare to the statewide survey data. In February 2012, each school was provided comparative reports on their school in relation to state data.  This information has helped schools to formulate their action research projects.


October-November 2011: Focus group discussions with parents, teachers and students

The project team visited all 14 schools participating in the project to conduct focus group discussions with groups of parents, teacher and students that explored perceptions and experiences of cultural diversity, multiculturalism and multicultural education for the participants. The findings from these discussions will be analysed through 2012 and published in report format with the evaluation of the action research projects in late 2013.


September 2011: Consultant Training

DEC Multicultural Education/ESL Consultants participated in a three  day professional learning workshop to better equip them to support schools in their action research projects on multicultural education.


August 2011: International Symposium on Multicultural Education

This symposium brought together national and international scholars in the fields of multicultural education and multiculturalism and senior bureaucrats from educational departments across Australia, and other relevant national bodies. Three broad questions framed the discussion at the symposium. These were:

  • Does multiculturalism need to be rethought and if so, why?
  • In what ways does it need to be rethought?
  • What are the implications of this rethinking for the policies and practices of multicultural education?

A series of key themes emerged from the symposium, and attendees mapped out ideas for the future directions of multicultural education.

To download a copy of the symposium report, click here.


May 2011: Statewide survey on teacher understandings and experiences of multicultural education

5133 teachers completed this online survey, representing approximately 10% of all teachers from government schools in NSW. Respondents came from a wide range of schools with representation from primary, secondary and central/community schools in every region and school education group across the state.

To read more about the survey, click here.
To download a copy of the survey click here.

Teacher portal

Project Partners

  • Australian Government: Australian Research Council
  • NSW Government: Education and Communities
  • NSW Institute of Teachers