17 SES 09, Thinking about Equality in History
The school teaching workforce in Ireland has been characterised as White, Heterosexual, Irish-born, Settled and Catholic or WHISCS (Tracy, 2000 cited in Bryan, 2010. See also Clarke, 2009; Coolahan, 2003; Devine, 2005; Heinz, 2011; Hyland, 2012; Schmidt and Mc Daid, 2015). Data on those entering undergraduate and post-graduate initial teacher education programmes in Ireland (Keane & Heinz, 2015) and those seeking to enter the profession from abroad (Schmidt & Mc Daid, 2015; Mc Daid & Walsh, forthcoming) provide little evidence that this situation will change in the immediate future. This situation is not unique. Nevertheless, while it is accurate to claim that homogeneity is relatively consistent internationally (see Cochran-Smith, 2004), there exist a particular set of historical underpinnings to the development and maintenance of this phenomenon in the Irish context.
Commencing with a brief overview of emerging qualitative and quantitative data establishing a stubborn homogeneity within the primary teaching workforce in Ireland, and further work which situates the Irish context within the wider European experience, this paper moves quickly to explain how the two most entrenched controlling factors maintaining this situation, religion and language, have deep historical trajectories. Drawing on critical documentary analysis, situated within a Critical Race Theory (CRT) framework, the authors argue that even since before the establishment of the national system of education in 1831, power brokers at various points in Irish history (e.g., British government, Irish government and various church authorities) have worked hard to control inclusion and exclusion from the primary teaching workforce. Through an in-depth interrogation of legislation, state policy documents and ecclesiastical publications, the paper excavates very clear antecedents of, at various times, government and church authorities exercising strict regulatory authority over those to be imbued with the right to perform the highly moral act of reproduction of Irish society.
In the context of an international landscape within which calls for a more heterogeneous primary workforce gain traction (see, for example, Schmidt & Block, 2010), this work has particular importance. Certain analyses (see, for example, Santoro, 2015; Keane & Heinz, 2015) emphasise paying attention to the complexities of teacher identity within the context of this broader push for diversification. This paper seeks to add another lay of understanding to this debate through unearthing pertinent historical technologies which secure the status quo.
Bowen, G. (2009). Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method, Qualitative Research Journal, 9, 2, 27–40. Bryan, A. (2010). Corporate Multiculturalism, Diversity Management and Positive Interculturalism in Irish Schools and Society. Irish Educational Studies, 29, 3, 253-269. Clarke, M. (2009).“Choosing Post-primary Teaching as a Career: Perspectives from the Republic of Ireland” (in) Drudy, S. (Ed.) (2009). Education in Ireland: Challenge and Change, 168–192. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Cochran-Smith, M. (2004). Walking the Road: Race, Diversity and Social Justice in Teacher Education. New York: Teachers College Press. Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2011). Research Methods in Education – 7th Edition. London and New York: Routledge. Coolahan, J. (2003). Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers. Dublin: Department of Education and Science. Denscombe, M. (2005). The Good Research Guide. England: Open University Press (Chapter 12 Documents, pp. 212-230) Devine, D. (2005). Welcome to the Celtic Tiger? Teacher Responses to Immigration and Increasing Ethnic Diversity in Irish Schools. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 15, 1, 49–70. Duffy, B. (2005). The Analysis of Documentary Evidence (in) Bell, J. (2005). Doing Your Research Project- A Guide for First-time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science. England: Open University Press. Heinz, M. (2011). The Next Generation of Teachers: Selection, Backgrounds and Motivations of Second-level Student Teachers in the Republic of Ireland. Unpublished PhD dissertation, National University of Ireland Galway. Hyland, A. (2012). A Review of the Structure of Initial Teacher Education Provision in Ireland. Dublin: DES. Keane, E. and Heinz, M. (2015). Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland: The Socio-demographic Backgrounds of Postgraduate Post-primary Entrants in 2013 and 2014. Irish Educational Studies 34, 3, 281-301. Santoro, N. (2015). The Drive to Diversify the Teaching Profession: Narrow Assumptions, Hidden Complexities. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 18, 6, 858-76. Schmidt, C. (2010). Systemic Discrimination as a Barrier for Immigrant Teachers. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 4, 4, 235–252. Schmidt, C., and Block, L. 2010. “Without and Within: The Implications of Employment and Ethnocultural Equity Policies for Internationally Educated Teachers. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 100, 1–23. Schmidt, C. and McDaid, R. (2015).Linguistic Barriers among Internationally Educated Teachers in Ireland and Canada: A Critical Comparative Analysis. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 38, 3, 172-83. Scott, J. (1990). A Matter of Record. Cambridge: Polity Press.
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