International teacher mobility and migration: the exploration of a global phenomenon

Katharina Gisela Magdalene Bense

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis presents the findings of a study on the increasingly important phenomenon of international teacher mobility and migration, focusing on the process of professional adjustment for German migrant teachers in WA. The aim was to gain a better understanding of this global development and its wider implications. Collating both quantitative and qualitative forms of data, the research found that teacher mobility is a worldwide phenomenon with major ramifications at global, national, and individual levels. Presented in the form of five publications, its findings are especially valuable in light of the international relevance of this issue.

The first article (Bense, 2016) reviews the current international research base on the issue of internationally mobile teachers. It synthesises this large body of research and identifies gaps in the literature that warrant further research. The second section in this cumulative thesis discusses narrative inquiry as a methodology frequently used in educational research. The paper (Bense, 2012) outlines the development of narrative inquiry, links it to the epistemological position of this research and demonstrates its appropriateness for this topic of interest. The third article (Bense, 2015) reports the findings of a study which explored the situation of German migrant teachers in Australia. It presents the demographical data assembled on German born teachers in Australia and the results of a narrative study with ten German migrant teachers in Western Australia. The investigation highlights a number of challenges for the interviewed teachers in relation to their professional adjustment to the Australian context. A particular problem that emerged from this study related to the different value placed on languages in Germany and Australia. Hence, a specific emphasis was given to this issue in the fourth article. The publication (Bense, 2014) contrasts language education strategies in Germany and Australia to argue how these contextual circumstances impacted the professional adjustment of the study participants. The fifth paper, a manuscript currently under review, addresses the identified lack of targeted support strategies for migrant teachers and the overall neglect of their professional needs. It reports the findings of a second separate study on a state-run migrant teacher network in Germany, a phenomenological exploration of this novel concept of support.

The findings of this collective research highlighted the consequences of this development not only for teachers, but also recruiting and host countries. Consequently, the thesis closes by discussing the wider implications to theory, policy, and practice.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Award date15 Jul 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016


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