What is The Future of Multicultural Education?

Multicultural children

A conference at the University of Western Sydney will bring together teachers, policy makers and academics to discuss the state of multicultural education in NSW public schools.

Hosted by ICS in partnership with the NSW Department of Education and Communities and the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards, the Rethinking Multicultural Education: Research, Policy, Practice Conference will look for new ways to meet the challenges of Australia's growing cultural and linguistic complexity.

The event is the culmination of Rethinking Multiculturalism, Reassessing Multicultural Education, an Australian Research Council Linkage Project between researchers from UWS, the NSW Department of Education and Communities and the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards

Opening on Thursday, November 27 at the UWS Parramatta campus, day one of the conference will present findings from the project to be discussed by panels with academic, policy, teaching and community representatives.

Day two will present issues in current multicultural education research and offer an extensive program of professional learning in anti-racism, English as an Additional Language, and refugee education. Practitioners will discuss policy implications and present models of successful school practice.

Speakers at the conference include:

  • Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Associate Professor Megan Watkins, Project leader, Institute of Culture and Society and School of Education
  • Professor Greg Noble, Chief Investigator, Institute of Culture and Society
  • Professor Kevin Dunn, Dean of the UWS School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Challenging Racism Project Leader
  • Professor Andrew Markus, Monash University,
  • Professor Fethi Mansouri, Deakin University
  • Dr David Cullen, Director, Early Learning and Primary Education, NSW Department of Education and Communities
  • Ian Tapuska, Deputy Principal, Liverpool Primary School

The research project leader is Associate Professor Megan Watkins.

"The conference provides a unique opportunity to bring together those working in research, policy and practice around multicultural education to consider the latest research in this area and to consider practical strategies for dealing with the changing nature of Australia's cultural diversity and its impact on schools and the broader community," she says.

The three RMRME reports are available online. They document the complex forms of cultural self-identification that students, parents and teachers make use of and call for professional learning focussed on assisting teachers to better understand the nature of this cultural complexity and its implications for classroom practice.