Linguistic barriers among Internationally Educated Teachers in Ireland and Canada
A critical comparative analysis
Drawing on qualitative interview and focus group data collected from Internationally Educated Teachers (IETs) in the context of two different research studies conducted in Ireland and Manitoba, Canada, this article critically examines how national/regional linguistic requirements and expectations of a hidden curriculum are experienced as barriers to employment and as status inhibitors. While the two sites contrast starkly in terms of size, migration frameworks, and population demographics, some IETs are faced with comparable barriers in terms of securing work in their field in both countries. We make two main arguments on the basis of our findings: 1) language proficiency requirements for IETs should be accompanied by appropriate language supports, and 2) education systems must move beyond viewing language within a monolingual framework to avoid devaluing the rich linguistic repertoires of IETs who are multilingual. Analysis draws on the concept of plurilingualism to advocate for a more complex and inclusive approach to defining linguistic competence for teachers. Further, the theoretical lens of language ecology usefully emphasises the wider linguistic context that should be taken into account when designing and implementing policy and programming for IETs. Implications of this research illuminate the ways power and linguistic identity intersect in international education systems.
Keywords: plurilingualism, language barriers, internationally educated teachers, linguistic identity, language ecology
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