Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Kitching, K.;
SCoTENS Teacher Education for Inclusion
SCoTENS Teacher Education for Inclusion
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Invited Lectures (Workshops)
Optional Fields

Dr. Kitching facilitated the workshop by discussing different classroom `scenes┐ from his ethnographic research where race is re-constructed in a new migrant school context. Various issues were drawn out by the participants as important to educate teachers at all points on the professional development continuum. They particularly included the need for meaningful and extended academic English language support for certain minority language students, in tandem with recognition of the languages that minority ethnic and migrant children may use in the home or with peers of shared ethno-linguistic heritage in the school. Other points that were raised included a need to challenge the normalising and reductive manner in which teachers may discuss race-focused texts and topics, where representations of racisms as happening `in the past┐ can take the focus off how schools and society can be subtly complicit in sustaining race inequality contemporarily.

The importance of teachers understanding the specific issues facing migrant and minority ethnic communities in contexts with particular local and state-level histories (e.g. sectarianism in Northern Ireland, Gaelic Nationalism in the South) was raised. Debates were had over the `good intentions┐ on the part of practitioners towards migrant and minority ethnic students. Karl made the point that anti-racism in education needs to move beyond viewing racism as simply an overt, singular and intentional act, one that is always `obvious┐ as racist, and one that can be neatly resolved through disciplinary sanctions against isolated students. For example, the patterned outcomes of practitioners┐ actions for minoritised students need to be considered the gold standard for critical judgement, not their intentions.

Critical attention must be given to how schools structure assessments and learning experiences for minority and migrant students, on the how and whom of disciplinary sanctions, on how meaningfully the school seeks out and listens to the voices of minoritised parents, and on how the stereotyping of different ethnic groups as if their educational outcomes were embodied `traits┐ is a form of cultural racism. Curricular approaches and school policies need to interrogate how racism is adapted and race is re-constructed in particular locales through their histories, through housing provision, through school access and tracking procedures, and also through the manner in which `class┐ or `gender┐ issues can be used to mask what are actually - or also - issues of racism in school. The social and historical construction of race needs to be meaningfully explored through the curriculum, as such discussions are markedly lacking. Teacher education must take seriously the research-based, emergent narratives of first and second generation migrant children as well as the documented experiences of Traveller and other minority ethnic children across Ireland in order to inspire creative curricular and school policy anti-racism.