Teachers’ and school counsellors’ approaches to cultural diversity in the school setting

Moshe Tatar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The increasingly culturally diverse nature of contemporary Western societies poses a growing challenge to schools working with a plural student body. The research in this chapter is undertaken in light of the fact that understanding and managing diversity in general, and in the school context in particular, is becoming increasingly important. We will summarize two research reports examining the ways in which DOPA (Diversity in Organizations: Perceptions and Approaches) approaches are related to teachers’ and to school counselors’ attitudes and professional behaviors vis-à-vis different aspects of cultural diversity at schools, specifically when working with immigrant pupils. The DOPA model suggests four approaches to diversity: (a) Asset, perceiving diversity as an asset to be fostered, encouraged, and promoted; (b) Problem, perceiving diversity as a factor that hinders, restricts, and prevents the organization from attaining its goals, and hence demands a solution; (c) Challenge, perceiving diversity as potentially beneficial for the group’s goals, though not without its accompanying risks – and demanding investment of efforts and resources to transform those risks into benefits; and (d) Nonissue, ignoring diversity or avoiding dealing with it. In the first report, we examine the ways in which, and the extent to which, DOPA approaches predict teachers’ diversity-related burnout and immigration-related self-efficacy. One hundred and thirty-six school teachers completed a self-report questionnaire measuring diversity-related burnout and self-efficacy, approaches toward cultural diversity, attitudes toward multiculturalism, and demographics. It was found that the teachers’ perception of the immigrant student as an asset and not as a problem was related to lower diversity-related burnout and to higher immigration related self-efficacy. The second research deals with Israeli school counsellors who work with culturally heterogeneous populations (i.e., significant numbers of immigrant pupils at school). Thirty-one counsellor’s reports were analyzed through the lens of the four main DOPA approaches to immigrants at schools and included topics such as the processes undergone by counsellors during this period; what, in their opinion, contributes to immigrants’ adjustment to school; and what, in their view, constitute the most important obstacles with which immigrant adolescents must cope in their process of adjustment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding cultural diversity
Subtitle of host publicationperceptions, opportunities and challenges
EditorsInmaculada González Falcón
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-53614-062-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-53614-061-3
StatePublished - 2018


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