07 SES 05 B, Roma: Educational Approaches
Two decades in Ireland have seen a dramatic transition from a monoculture to completely new multicultural population profile. This time has been marked by significant political, social, and economic change. Ireland, in Europe, is transitioning from being an isolated, comparatively closed and culturally relatively homogenous society to one of the most economically liberal and socially diverse countries in Europe (Devine, 2012). From 1996-2007 the Irish economy was one of the fastest growing in the world and, for perhaps the first time in its history, Ireland experienced large-scale immigration.
This research study is an evaluation of the impact of this transition. It looks at the effect of the changing face of the ‘new Irish’ on the locality and local schools. It focuses in particular on one elementary school (age range: approximately five to thirteen years) where there is a peak in the numbers of non-native English speaking students. The study was carried out in a midlands town, identified as the town with the highest percentage of immigrants in Ireland (Central Statistics Office, 2011). Most of the migrants are from an age-group centred on young-to-middle-aged workers, with a large proportion of young families and school-going children.
Little, if any research has been carried out to determine the impact of how this new generation of Irish identities are integrating in a town with a population of some 9,000 people. This research looked at ethnic minority groups, including members of the Travelling community (indigenous minority, traditionally nomadic group) and the indigenous population. It investigated their perceptions of the effects of the transition. It particularly looked at levels of inclusion in the community, use of the education system, interaction between ethnic groups, cultural differences, challenges faced, level of inclusion and integration, advantages and disadvantages of living as a member of a diverse and changing community.
Central Statistics Office (2011) Profile 6: Migration and Diversity. (Census 2011 publication). Dublin: The Stationery Office Devine, D. (2012) Immigration and Schooling in the Republic of Ireland: Making a difference? Manchester: Manchester University Press Glaser, B. and Strauss, A. (1967) The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Chicago: Aldine Pusch, M. D. (2009) The Interculturally Competent Global Leader. In Deardorff, D. K. (Ed.) The Sage Book of Intercultural Competence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
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