ERG SES G 06, Policies and Education
A diverse society gains its characteristics due to presence of different social categories together in the society. These social categories of social class, gender, region, language and religion are relevant to almost all the societies across the globe. While race is crucial to the kind of cultural diversity that exists in the global west, it is caste that becomes important in understanding the kind of hierarchy that exists in Indian society (Oommen, 2002). With policies like Education for All, Right to education or No child left behind in different countries, there is a growing emphasis addressing the needs of different social groups in the classrooms today. While educational policies show the intent of developing inclusive classrooms, it is the gaps in the practices that require to be addressed. Teachers are a crucial part of the educational setup, but they have been constantly accused for the gaps in the educational achievements in general. It is observed that neither they are aware of their own biases nor they are equipped to facilitate a culturally diverse group in the classrooms. Hence, it is important to focus on their concerns. Preparing teachers for inclusive classrooms is one of the ways. Thus, inclusion needs to be seen as a reform that supports diversity amongst learners (UNESCO, 2009) and aims to eliminate social exclusion which is a consequence of attitudes towards different social groups (Messiou & Ainscow, 2015). Although realization towards concerns of teacher preparation is present, not much change is observed in practice. Moreover, there is a lack of studies on teacher education programmes, particularly in India or Indian sub-continent.
This study looked into a pre-service teacher education programme in India and its curricular materials. It aims to understand how does the content in relevant courses in the Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) curriculum brings in ideas about diversity in Indian society and the classroom and whether the content reflected the ideas of multiculturalism that are critical and self- reflective or addressed diversity in a general manner.
This study is informed by the perspective of “Critical Multiculturalism” (C. C.S.G, 1992; May, 2003). While diversity comprises a range of social categories including caste, class, languages, gender and so on, critical multiculturalism emphasizes on the need to look at groups relationally in terms of the disadvantage as well as advantage and privilege. Critical Multiculturalism also points out the need to understand the curriculum and pedagogic practices within the framework of inclusion. The idea of inclusion holds validity only when teachers are prepared to develop spaces where interaction is possible for children from all groups in order to engage in a meaningful process of learning. Therefore, inclusive practices are seen as integral to teachers’ pedagogy based on the terms of equity and equal participation of all students.
The nature of the research was exploratory. It engaged with the student-teachers enrolled in a pre-service programme to access the different curricular texts and contents used by them during their training. Method of content analysis was employed analysis for reviewing the contents of the textbooks used by student-teachers and reflect how well the contents adhere to the understanding of diversity and inclusion that emerges from National Curriculum Framework of Teacher Education 2009 and in the light of critical multiculturalism.
It was found that none of the suggested reading materials mentioned in the curriculum document developed by state was available with the student-teachers or in the library of the District Institute of Education and Training (D.I.E.T.). Instead, guidebooks were used by all students for different papers with the aim of getting marks in the end-term exams. Further, on analyzing the contents of the guidebooks, it was found that it presented a very distorted and disassociated picture of diversity as a whole by providing fragmented information and without any relevant examples from the social context, it is meant for, i.e. India. Neither the questions at the end of chapters nor the content provided space for critical engagement with the ideas. Hence, it was concluded that the texts being used by student-teachers were inefficient in bringing out the discussions on diversity and inclusion that are crucial to the present education set up and have been highlighted in the official documents like National Curriculum Framework 2005 and National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education 2009.
•Chicago Cultural Studies Group. (1992). Critical multiculturalism. Critical Inquiry, 18(3), 530-555. •May, S. (2003). Critical Multiculturalism. Counterpoints: Critical Theory and the Human Condition, 168, 199-212. •Messiou, K., & Ainscow, M. (2015). Responding to learner diversity: Student views as a catalyst for powerful teacher development? Teaching and Teacher Education, 51, 246-255. •Oommen, T. K. (2002). Pluralism, Equality, and Identity: Comparative Studies. Oxford University Press, USA. •UNESCO. 2009. Policy guidelines on inclusion in education. Paris: UNESCO
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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