I Should CoCo?: The awareness of community cohesion and its utility as a tool for teacher preparation and professional development

Blamires, M., Cameron, D. and Kaye, L. (2011) I Should CoCo?: The awareness of community cohesion and its utility as a tool for teacher preparation and professional development. In: BERA Conference, September, 2011, Institute of Education, University of London. (Unpublished)

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How do trainee teachers and their mentors conceptualise diversity? How confident are they in harnessing and articulating notions of community diversity in their teaching and school-based initial training, and what strategies do they deploy?
The English approach to community cohesion had its origins in the British Government’s response to race riots in the North of England during 2001. Following the Cantle Report (2001) into these events, the Labour Government adopted the concept of ‘community cohesion’, a refinement of previous policies relating to issues of multiculturalism, race relations, diversity and social inclusion. Cantle highlighted the social deficiencies of segregation and recommended that emphasis be placed instead on promoting shared values, citizenship and a respect for cultural distinctions (Cantle, 2001). Within the wider ‘community cohesion’ programme, the Commission on Integration and Cohesion recommended in 2007 that schools should play a key social role in promoting the values of community cohesion amongst young people and the communities the schools served.
Guidance to schools at this time grouped their required contribution to community cohesion into three areas:
Teaching, learning and curriculum: helping children and young people to learn to understand others to value diversity and promote shared values and awareness of human rights; develop skills of participation and responsible action.
Equity and excellence: to ensure equal opportunities for all to succeed at the highest level possible.
Engagement and extended services: to provide reasonable means for children, young people, their friends and families to interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relations. (DCSF, 2007 p.8)
The importance the English Labour government placed on new teachers addressing diversity was expressed through a series of reviews and reports, and the centrality of diversity, inclusion and social cohesion concepts are implicit throughout the Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status (TDA, 2008; DfES, 2007; QCDA, 2010).
The creation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government in Britain in May 2010, with policy changes and priorities expressed since, including a review of Professional Standards for QTS, raise the possibility that schools’ and teachers’ perceptions of community cohesion in education may be in a period of transition (Shephard, 2010)
This research will consider how mentors and trainee teachers conceptualise, articulate and respond to concepts of community cohesion and diversity, and the extent of change in perceptions and practice within a context of policy change and reform.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Method: Online questionnaires will be made available to identified trainee teachers and their school-based mentors on a variety of initial teacher training programmes (associated with an Education faculty in an English university), to gauge their understanding and engagement with the concepts surrounding community cohesion. Based on a qualitative coding of responses, a typology will be proposed and subsets will be selected for semi-structured video-based interviews, aiming to explore the key issues in more detail and be used, with appropriate permissions, within an online video-streaming resource that will be augmented with existing reviews and briefings on diversity and community cohesion. Follow-up interviews will be undertaken to gain a developmental perspective of the trainees and mentors perceptions. Expected Outcomes This research and development project will attempt to map trainee teachers’ (and their mentors’) developing professional identity and socialisation against the wider concepts of community cohesion, within a shifting policy context for education. These experiences will be shared with appropriate ethical permissions as a resource to increase awareness of this area amongst teachers, teacher educators and education policy makers, and to provide a conceptual framework to understand how professional agency develops in response to teachers’ experience in English schools, where highly diverse pupil populations exist. Findings will have direct implications for teachers, system leaders and policy makers across Europe, where ‘classrooms now contain a more heterogeneous mix of young people from difference backgrounds and with different levels of ability and disability’ (EC, 2007, p.4).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community Cohesion, Multiculturialism, teacher preparation, PGCS, Conceptual Frameworks, Policy Implementation
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Education
Depositing User: Users 44 not found.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2011 15:15
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 12:46
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00