07 SES 06 B, Intercultural Education in School Practice
Global research has shown the persistence of inequality with regard to accessing the curriculum with a view to finding self-fulfilment through obtaining suitable work and making useful contributions to society. The intersection of race, gender, language and low socio-economic levels creates situations which often marginalize ethnic and language minorities in school settings (Freire, 1968; Cork 2005, Nieto & Turner, 2012) particularly if there is no diversity among school teachers (Bhatti 2007) . This disparity is exacerbated for young people in both primary and secondary schools if the barriers to their inclusion are not challenged and taken seriously at school level (Goldstein 1997). This raises the question of redistribution and representation (Fraser and Honneth 2003). Schools can and should make a difference. This paper highlights the process through which 8 university students and their 2 tutors became closely involved in working with first hand rich cross- cultural data in two settings – in Richmond, Virginia and in Bristol in England which was collected by university students in each other’s country. School teachers’ preoccupation with their day to day duties was interrupted by the conversations university students had with them about what they were doing in class and why. Questions about inequality, ethnicity, teaching and learning and about social justice were raised in the process of data gathering and analysis. The idea that individual teachers can make a significant contribution to newly arrived migrant children and to under-achieving second and third generation of English as an Additional Language Learners was compelling. Teachers’ commitment to empowering their students sustained the research which is reported here. How can teachers enhance access to English and opportunities for a better future without dismissing the wealth of linguistic, social and cultural capital brought into the classroom by bicultural and bilingual students (Gerwirtz and Cribb 2008)? Why does a command of English language matter for adjustment and social mobility of young people from different ethnic backgrounds? How can university departments which educate pre-service teachers in UK and USA involve their under graduate and graduate students in cross- cultural comparative research? This paper opens up these questions for debate.
Bhatti, G. (2007) The irresistible attraction of information and communication technology: Experiences of trainee teachers from minority ethnic backgrounds. In Bhatti, G., Gaine, C., Gobbo, F. and Leeman, Y. (eds) (2007) Social justice and intercultural education: An open ended dialogue. Stoke on Trent: Trentham. Cork, L. (2005). Supporting black pupils and parents. London: Routledge Fraser, N. & Honneth, A. (2003). Redistribution or recognition? London: Verso. Freire, P. (1968). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Penguin. Gewirtz, S. & Cribb, A. (2008). Taking identity seriously: Dilemmas for education policy and practice. European Educational Research Journal, 7(1), 39-49. Goldstein, T. (1997). Bilingual life in a multilingual high school classroom: Teaching and learning in Cantonese and English. Canadian Modern Language Review, 53(2), 356-372. Nieto, S., & Turner, K. (2012). Learning local and global literacies from students and families. Language Arts, 90(1), 66-69.
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