07 SES 03 B, Roma: Research Methodologies
This paper focuses on the challenges to educators and researchers in determining appropriate strategies for schools in the education of excluded children.
The paper draws on data collected over the past five years in 2 separate studies. The first involved two Gypsy/Roma communities (2010-2013) in South West England. The two communities had contrasting experiences within the education system (see Levinson, 2014). The youngsters from one community were engaging with secondary school education, whereas those from the second community (who lived a relatively short distance away) were doing all possible to ensure exclusion. The paper considers the reasons for this, and also raises questions about the implications for the futures of youngsters from each group. The second study (2014-5) was conducted in a (PRU) Pupil Referral Unit for excluded youngsters. This study explored the views of youngsters about their experiences in schools and in the PRU.
There are complexities around social justice that emerge in this paper, most particularly, in the potential conflicts between the rights of minority and marginalised communities and the rights of youngsters within those communities. This raises issues about disadvantage within disadvantage (see Wood, Levinson et al, 2011).
Informed by inter-disciplinary perspectives on identity, inclusion and assimilation, the paper explores these experiences within the wider context of the researcher’s work with marginalised groups over the past two decades, exploring the impact of schooling on cultural identity and group membership, and highlighting the alienating environment of schools for many youngsters.
The two projects also raised issues around appropriate methodologies, and specifically, highlighted tensions between the academic researcher, participants and the community stakeholders in the search for a balance between ethnographic approaches and participatory action research.
The paper seeks to raise problematic issues rather than to provide clear-cut answers, allowing for contextual factors to suggest best practice. It will show different interests within communities according to age and gender which make it difficult for both insiders and outsiders to make recommendations to educational practitioners and policy makers.
At the same time, there is an argument for the active inclusion of participants at all stages of research, while there is also a reminder of the need to acknowledge (based on Study 1) the heterogeneity of minority groups in formulating policy, and (based on Study 2) the diversity of background and need amongst those excluded from schools.
ARTICLES 1. Levinson, M.P. (2014): “What’s the plan?” “What plan?” Changing aspirations among Gypsy youngsters, and implications for future cultural identities and group membership, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35:4, pp. 1-21 2. Hooley, N. & Levinson, M.P. (2013): Investigating networks of culture and knowledge: A critical discourse between UK Roma Gypsies, Indigenous Australians and Education, Australian Educational Researcher, 49:2, pp. 139-153 3. Levinson, M.P. & Hooley, N. (2013): Supporting the Learning of nomadic communities across transnational contexts: exploring parallels in the education of UK Roma Gypsies and Indigenous Australians, Research Papers in Education, 28:2 4. Levinson, M.P. (2010): Issues of access and its maintenance when researching marginalized communities, Special Issue - Ethnography and Education, Ed. B.Dennis 5. Levinson, M.P. (2008): Not Just Content but Style: Gypsy Children Traversing Boundaries, Research in Comparative and International Education, 3(3), Special Issue: Early Childhood Education and Care, ed. Cleghorn, A. & Prochner, L., pp. 235-49 6. Levinson, M.P. (2008): Issues of empowerment and disempowerment: Gypsy children at home and school, International Journal Teaching and Learning Citizenship, Special Issue: Children’s Voice, ed. Holden, C, pp.70-78 7. Levinson, M.P. (2007): Literacy in Gypsy Communities: Cultural Capital manifested as negative assets, American Educational Research Journal, 44:1, pp.1-35 8. Levinson, M.P. & Sparkes, A.C. (2006): Conflicting value-systems: Gypsy females and the home-school interface, Research Papers in Education, 21(1), pp. 79-97 9. Levinson, M.P. (2005): The role of play in the formation and maintenance of cultural identity: Gypsy children in Home and School contexts, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 34(5), pp.499-532 BOOK CHAPTERS 1. Levinson, M.P. (2013): Integration of Gypsy Roma children in schools: Trojan or Pantomime Horse. In M.Miskovic (ed.) Roma Education in Europe (pp. 100-110). New York, Routledge. 2. Levinson, M.P. (2009): Cultural Difference or Subversion: A question of perspective. In P.A.Danaher, M.Kenny & J.R.Leder (eds.) Traveller, Nomadic and Migrant Education (pp. 59-73). New York, Routledge. 3. Levinson, M.P. (2004): Navigating without fixed points: the perils of open-ended research. In P.N.Coombes, M.J.M.Danaher & P.A.Danaher (eds) Strategic uncertainties: Ethics, politics and risk in contemporary educational research (pp. 130-142). Queensland: Flaxton Qld: Post Pressed. REPORTS 1. Wood, E., Levinson, M., Postlethwaite, K. and Black, A. (2011): Equity Matters, Brussels, Education International Under Review 'Critical Studies in Education' Levinson, M.P. & Thompson, M. (2015): I don't need pink hair here
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