‘Race’, diversity and inclusion: student perspectives

Bhopal, Kalwant, Harris, Richard and Rhamie, Jasmine (2009) ‘Race’, diversity and inclusion: student perspectives At ECER Annual Conference. 28 - 30 Sep 2009.


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This paper will examine tutor and student perspectives on teaching issues of ‘race’, diversity and inclusion on initial teacher education courses at one university in England. It will analyse tutor and student perspectives from questionnaires distributed to those on PGCE secondary and primary courses. The data will be based on questionnaires distributed to tutors and students and follow up interviews. The data will be analysed to examine how tutors and students feel about the teaching of these specific issues on their courses.

The main aim of the study is to examine student and tutor understandings of the teaching of ‘race’, diversity and inclusion on ITE courses (PGCE primary/secondary). The study objectives included:

1. What are the views of tutors and students on ITE courses regarding the teaching of ‘race’, diversity and inclusion?

2. How can the views of tutors and students be used to develop materials on such courses (e.g. workshop sessions, reading materials)?

Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used
The data will be based on questionnaires and follow up interviews. An interpretive approach to the study will be adopted to explore the issues that teacher trainers and trainees encounter when working on issues of race, diversity and inclusion. The quantitative data will be analysed using SPSS and the qualitative data using grounded theory (Strauss and Corbin, 1990). The intention is to use open and focused coding (Charmaz, 2006) to identify key themes in the data and to give voice to the concerns of teacher educators. The data will be subject to continuous modification and verification. This will include generating themes and concepts from which to build codes and generate a theoretical understanding regarding the key issues of teaching diversity and inclusion in the classroom. When preparing the interview schedule and analysing the data consideration will be given to exploring tutors’ understanding and awareness of these issues, as well as their own levels of confidence and the extent to which trainee teachers are able to engage with these

Research has shown that the way teachers conceptualise the curriculum and its content (e.g. Grosvenor and Myers, 2001, Husbands, Pendry and Kitson, 2003) and how they understand the constraints and obstacles pupils from diverse backgrounds face (e.g. Ladson-Billings, 2004, Nieto, 2004) is often limited. Other studies, such as Bhatti’s (2004) highlights the unintentional racism that some teachers exhibit. Rhamie (2007) identified that most African Caribbean pupils have negative experiences at school respondents reported a lack of support and encouragement from some teachers, a sense of being treated differently from their White peers, being subject to racism or having difficulties with teachers and other pupils.

There have been attempts to address these concerns by a focus on teacher training courses, and developing programmes to help beginning teachers understand issues relating to ‘race’, diversity and inclusion (see for example, Causey, Thomas, Armento, 2000, Taylor and Sobel, 2001). For example, one response has been to focus on understanding the ideas and attitudes of trainee teachers towards diversity as a means of identifying mis/preconceptions and prejudices (e.g. Garcia and Lopez, 2005). As Korthagen et al (2001) argues, it is only possible to work with trainees’ ideas and realistically move them forward, once they are known. Yet as Sleeter (2001 and Hollins and Guzman (2005) show, in most cases the impact of specific interventions is limited. The reasons for this are complex, but part of the problem is the extent to which teacher educators themselves are knowledgeable about issues relating to race, diversity and inclusion and are therefore able to support their beginning teachers effectively. This study focuses on the extent to which tutors feel able to support their trainees and to identify ways that tutors themselves need support as well as the ways in which student’s views can be used to inform curriculum development.

Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings
We are currently in the process of conducting the research. However themes to be explored include:

1. Tutors and students direct experience and knowledge of race, diversity and inclusion.

2. Tutors and students views on the content and structure of such sessions and the amount of dedicated time assigned to teaching these matters.

3. The levels of confidence in addressing issues related to these topics and concerns about teaching these topics.

4. Tutors and students understanding and definitions of race, diversity and inclusion and associated terminology.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Venue - Dates: ECER Annual Conference, 2009-09-28 - 2009-09-30
Keywords: race, diversity, inclusion, students
ePrint ID: 68963
Date :
Date Event
September 2009Published
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2009
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 21:18
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/68963

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