Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Identifying pedagogical innovation in cultural minority classrooms: A cultural historical activity theory and appreciative inquiry perspective in the Philippines and New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-22, 08:18 authored by Abella, Ivy Samala

This is a multiple case study which investigates teachers’ pedagogical innovations in cultural minority classrooms using Cultural Historical Activity Theory and Appreciative Inquiry as theoretical lens. Pedagogical innovation refers to a new idea or the development of an existing product, process, strategy, or method in teaching and learning that is applied in a specific context with the intention to create added value or the potential to improve student learning. The purpose of the study was to investigate teachers’ pedagogical innovations in cultural minority classrooms; the ways in which teachers mediate the learning of their students through pedagogical innovations in cultural minority classrooms; and how individual teachers’ school environments promote or inhibit the implementation of pedagogical innovations in cultural minority classrooms. A total of nine teachers and their classes from five public or state secondary schools in the Philippines and Aotearoa New Zealand participated in the study. Data were collected using observations, talanoa, audio-visual recordings, and documents, which consisted of lesson plans, school newsletters, and publications. Data were analysed within and across cases using a thematic approach and a comparative approach in relation to the five standards of effective pedagogy.  The data suggest that there are two aspects to understanding pedagogical innovation in cultural minority classrooms: the tangible aspects or artefacts for learning, and the intangible aspects or appreciative mediation for learning. Artefacts for learning pertain to any human-made objects available in the learning environment such as classrooms, which are essential in engaging student learning. These are concrete manifestations of teachers’ creativity utilised in teaching and learning. Common examples of artefacts for learning used by teachers across all case studies were student modules or kits and teaching instruments such as visual aids, photos, and information and communications technology. Appreciative mediation for learning pertains to the positive and strength-based operations and/or actions, attitudes, behaviours, and outlooks of teachers, which result in student learning. These include genuine appreciation and collaboration with students, teaching initiatives, positive disposition, and self reflection.  Factors that affect the implementation of teachers’ pedagogical innovations are grouped into two: the social support system and the structural regulation of the school system. The social support system identified in the study that promoted teachers’ pedagogical innovation, and are common across all case studies, were family, community, school staff, and students. The structural regulation of the school system was found to hinder teachers’ pedagogical innovation. Examples common across all case studies are lack of and/or limited artefacts for learning, inadequate professional development for teachers, impassive curriculum, and poor student attendance.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Education


Chu, Cherie; Sanga, Kabini