07 SES 04 A, Teacher Education Meets Inclusion and Diversity
Teacher education in Europe, fails to address purposefully teaching about and for diversity and inclusiveness and consequently does not educate teachers prepared for teaching about and for diversity and inclusiveness in Europe and its member state. This threatens the ongoing development of social just teacher practices, that address issues of equity and inclusiveness for the marginalized youth. It threatens as well the development of teaching practices for all youth focusing on the development of a critical, cultural sensitive and inclusive stance on living together in ethnic and socio-cultural diversity and inclusiveness.
This paper reports on the first three years of a design-research project of a group of 5 teacher educators of Windesheim University, the Netherlands. This university is situated in a relative mono ethnic-cultural part of the Netherlands. In a context of diminishing spaces for intercultural and social just education, they started, organized in an inter-professional learning community, research on their own teaching practices. They experimented with purposefully addressing teaching about and for diversity and inclusiveness, integrated in teaching their subjects (mother tongue, modern foreign languages, history, pedagogy). In this they experimented with a pedagogical approach focusing on the use of stories and dialogues. The findings show evidence of their designs, their own and their students’ evaluations of these, and of their personal professional identity development on teaching about and for diversity and inclusiveness from a substantial and socio-political perspective (Goodlad ,1979).
What designs did the teacher educators develop on teaching about and for diversity and inclusiveness;
How were the designs evaluated by teacher educators and student teachers;
How do the teachers educators describe their personal professional identity development from a substantial and socio-political perspective?
Exclusive tendencies in national educational policies in today’s globalizing world, accompanied by a move towards standards on literacy, numeracy, mathematics and general skills (Biesta 2006) influence seriously the spaces for teacher educators to educate for critical consciousness on issues of equity , diversity, inclusiveness and cosmopolitanism (Appiah, 2006, Banks 2015, May 1999, Connell 2007).
In the mainstream literature there is a tendency of focusing on teachers’ knowledge about cultural differences, teachers’ cultural sensitivities and on teachers’ moral values regarding discrimination and racism (Bhatti and Leeman 2011 , Byram 1997). A growing body of literature indicates the importance of the inclusion of teachers’ emotions and feelings of discomfort while working on intercultural education ( Boler and Zembylas 2003.; Kelchtermans, Ballet and Lot, 2009; Radstake and Leeman, 2010, Zembylas and Papamichael, 2017). Empirical studies (Rosevall and Orhn 2014) give evidence that knowledge and skills are far from enough to address these issues in classrooms. It is teachers’ own social and cultural situatedness that is at stake (Anthias 2013). It is a matter of their personal professional identity, their purpose in education, their courage and micropolitical sensitivity to make space in the curriculum and see to addressing equity, diversity and inclusiveness in teaching (Leeman and Wardekker 2013). Imagination (Gobbo 2009) regarding new ways of living together in diversity is here important too. With stories imagination, diverse perspectives, a broadening of ‘the world’ and possibilities for deep (emphatic) learning can be brought into the classroom (eg Bal and Veltkamp, 2013, Goodson). Accompanied by principles of the process of identity development (from confrontation with one’s own culture, past learning in an in-between world to building a new personal professional identity) and of dialogical teaching (Mercer, Chambers) the use of stories in teaching could enhance learning in which imagination and emotions are touched and openings are made for social just change, and for living in diversity and inclusiveness.
The individual projects of the teacher educators (facilitated with 4 hours a week for the project) have in common that they all have the intention to start from a design-based research approach, using stories and dialogues to address issues of diversity and inclusiveness in their own practice of educating (student)teachers. Each teacher educator makes a new design for his or her teaching, has this teaching observed and evaluated by a colleague and evaluated by the students as well, which leads to improvements in the design and subsequent design circles. One university based researcher guides the teachers in their design-research and interviews each of them annually on their personal professional identity development from a substantive and socio-political perspective. All designs and research results are shared and reflected upon in the learning community, where implications for the personal professional identity development are discussed.
After three years of working in the learning community there are (by 4 teacher educators) lessons developed and shared with colleagues. All teacher educators succeeded in organizing a place in the curriculum for their design and to involve colleagues. One teacher educator did not start with lesson designs, but decided instead, to start with an interview study among foreign language teachers to collect stories about their practices in secondary education in teaching intercultural communicative competence (Byram, 1997). It was her intention to use these stories in her lessons for student teachers at Windesheim University. Although she is disappointed about the content of the stories found, she will start her design study next year, considering adding self-made stories to the stories collected. The results so far have been shared within the university and at European conferences (Eapril 2016 and 2017, Velon 2016). (Characteristics and examples of the designs will be presented at the conference). The teacher educators (and their colleagues) wrote positive evaluations about their lessons, however lack of sufficient time was mentioned by all of them. The use of stories in combination with dialogues made it possible to work beyond knowledge aquisition to towards personal identity development. The lessons developed proved to be significant for their students. All teacher educators have produced narratives about their personal professional identity development. Important and new are the complexities they discovered and tensions they experienced in giving lessons on controversial issues such as social and cultural justice. The supportive and cooperative way of working in an inter-professional learning community was key to their continuous participation.The teacher educators experienced socio-political competences as a new and important component of their professional development.
References Anthias,F. (2013) Hierarchies of social location, class and intersectionality: Towards a translocational frame. International Sociology 28, 121-138. Appiah, K.A. (2006). Cosmopolitanism. Ethics in a world of strangers. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Bal, P.M. & Veltkamp, M. (2013) How does fiction reading influence empathy? An experimental investigation on the role of emotional transportation. PLOS ONE 8(1)e55341 Bhatti, G. & Leeman, Y. (2011) Convening a Network within the European Conference on Educational Research: a history of the Social Justice and Intercultural Education Network. EERJ 10 (1). Biesta, G. (2010). Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. Boler, M. & Zembylas, M. (2003) Discomforting truths: The emotional terrain of understanding differeces. In Trifonas, P. , Pedagogies of difference: rethinking education for social justice. 110-136. New York: Routledge. Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Chambers, A. (2012). Leespraat. De leesomgeving & Vertel eens. Zoetermeer: NBD/Biblion Connell, R. (2007) Southern theory: The global dynamics of knowledge in social science. Crows Nest Australia: Allen & Unwin. Gobbo, F. (2009). On metaphors, everyday diversity and intercultural education: some further reflections. Intercultural Education 20, 321-352. Kelchtermans, G., K. Ballet & Lot, L. (2009) Surviving diversity in times of performativity: Understanding teachers' emotional experience of change. In Schutz, P. and Zembylas, M. (eds) Advances in teacher emotion research: the impact on teachers’lives. 215-232. Dordrecht: Springer. Leeman, Y. & Wardekker, W. (2013) The contested professionalism of teachers meeting radicalizing youth in their classrooms. International journal of inclusive education 17(10) 1053-1066. May, S. (Eds) (1999) Critical multiculturalism. Rethinking multicultural and antiracist education. London: Falmer Press. Radstake, H. & Leeman Y. (2010) Guiding discussions in the class about ethnic diversity Intercultural education 21(5) 429-442. Rosevall, P-A & Öhrn, E (2014) Teachers’silences about racist attitudes and students’desires to address these issues. Intercultural Education 25(5)337-348. Zembylas, M. & Papamichael, E. (2017) Pedagogies of discomfort and empathy in multicultural teacher education. Intercultural Education 28 (1) 1-19.
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