ERG SES H 07, Teachers and Education
The focus of this study is the experiences of students from international backgrounds on an Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programme within a Further Education (FE) college. It aims to explore the challenges the students face when asked to critically analyse pedagogy, examining the reasons for this through a Freirean approach and comparing it to Habermas’ concept of ‘lifeworlds’. The interpretative nature of the research is essential in understanding the students’ views of their realities and knowledge which impact on the methodology for the study. This will be conducted through narrative inquiry, in particular life stories and life histories which will enable the students to reflect on their previous educational experiences and the impact of this on their ITE course in this country. In addition, analysis of students’ work through their written submissions and reflective accounts of their practice may highlight potential areas of conflict.
The Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programme appeals to students with a variety of international experiences and qualifications. I hope to be able to understand the international students’ previous educational experiences as their views may help to gain insight into the challenges they face when on course.
Consequently, a question I wish to answer is:
- How do the students’ previous experiences influence how they manage the rigours of the PGCE programme in terms of criticality?
Some of the subsequent questions include:
- What are the previous educational experiences of the international students?
- What are the students’ experiences of critical reading and writing?
- What do the students understand about notions of criticality?
- Does cultural difference impact on individual interpretations of criticality?
The international students
are learning to teach in a different culture, and also learning to ‘learn’ and navigate the processes of written conventions within academic literature to demonstrate their understanding of pedagogy and the correlations to practice. It seems the cultural norms of studying at HE level in the students’ home countries demands that they read widely and quote from these sources without further elaboration or critical evaluation (Welikala, 2013; Canagarajah, 1999). Because they come from former British colonies, it may be that historically, criticality was not part of the academic language as this was a way for the rulers to maintain their power (Fanon, 1994). hooks (1993) maintains the impact of colonisation still exists in academia today.
Habermas (1987) makes reference to the challenges in the lifeworld of an individual when moving from one society to another. He advocates transforming oneself to form a new lifeworld ‘made up of culture, society and personality’ (McLean, 2006, p.12). However, should the PGCE students integrate themselves fully into the new lifeworld, and so disregard their previous educational experiences to adopt a new identity within a new culture? Or can it be that their two lifeworlds can ‘merge’ in to acculturate themselves to the academic demands of the PGCE?
Freire’s (1972) approach may go some way in enabling the students to understand their part in creating the academic culture of the PGCE. The students bring with them a world that includes culture and language (Shor, 1992), yet we do not acknowledge this. From a western perspective, they are unable to be ‘critical’ but we have not asked them about their experiences.
The students function within multiple realities, thus reality is not a static, unfaltering one; it is constantly changed and renewed through the people and actions involved (Gray, 2014). The students’ realities are located within cultures of different scales, consequently, knowledge emerges and is contextually relevant to those taking part rather than being instrumental. Therefore, a qualitative interpretivist approach will be used.
Atkinson, R. (1998) The Life Story Interview, Thousand Oaks, California, SAGE Canagarajah, A.S. (1999) Resisting linguistic imperialism in English teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press Fanon, F. (1967) Black Skin, White Masks, New York: Grove Press Freire, P. (1972) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd Freire, P. (1974) Education for critical consciousness, London: Continuum Freire, P. (1985) The Politics of Education: Culture, Power and Liberation, Basingstoke: Macmillan Freire, P. (2005) Teachers as Cultural Workers, letters to those who dare teach, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press Giroux, H. (2011) On Critical Pedagogy, New York: Continuum Habermas, J. (1987) The theory of communicative action, volume 3, lifeworld and system: a critique of functionalist reason, Cambridge: Polity Press Goodson, I. F. (2013) Developing Narrative Theory: life histories and personal representation, Abingdon: Routledge Gray, D.E. (2014) Doing Research in the Real World, 3rd edition, London: SAGE Publications Ltd hooks, b. (1993) bell hools speaking about Paulo Freire – the man, his work in Mclaren, P. and Leonard, P. (eds) Paulo Freire: a Critical Encounter, London: Routledge hooks, b. (1994) Teaching to Transgress, New York and London: Routledge Howell, K. (2013) An Introduction to the Philosophy of Methodology, London: SAGE Publications Ltd Keats, P. A. (2009) Multiple text Analysis in Narrative Research: visual, written and spoken stories of experience, Qualitative Research, 9 (2), 181 - 195 Kincheloe, J. L. Knowledge and Critical Pedagogy: An Introduction, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers McLean, M. (2006) Pedagogy and the university: critical theory and practice, London and New York: Continuum Meer, N. and Modood, T. (2012) How does Interculturalism contrast with Multiculturalism? Journal of Intercultural Studies, 33 (2), 175 - 196 Pirbhai-Illich, F., Austin, T., Paugh, P. and Farino, Y. (2011) Responding to ‘innocent’ racism: Educating tecahers in politically reflexive and dialogic engagement in local communities, Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching and Research, 7, 27 - 40 Shor, I. (1992) Empowering Education, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press Welikala, T. (2013) Inter-perspective pedagogy: rethinking culture and learning in multicultural higher education in the United Kingdom in Jin, J. and Cortazzi, M. (eds.) Researching intercultural learning: investigations in language and education, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan
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