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The shaping of socially responsible teachers

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posted on 08.09.2014, 14:32 by Carmen Mohamed
The notion of social justice in education involves examining how experiences are shaped in schools through interconnecting systems of socialisation. The focus of this inquiry centred on exploring mechanisms which challenge trainee teachers’ normalised assumptions of equality. Using a case study approach I investigated whether experiences prior to the training process or the instructional pedagogies employed had the greatest influence in the shaping of socially responsible teachers. The study was carried out on a primary PGCE programme with a total of fifteen participants over two years. Through an interpretative paradigm the cyclical hermeneutic was employed to analyse participants’ critically reflective responses to their teacher development. Participants’ prior experiences were captured and coded to determine an awareness of the ‘Other’, related to visible and invisible identity salience, and of equality issues. These data were available in the form of a semi structured questionnaire and autobiographical accounts. Throughout the programme participants’ narrative reflections of the instructional pedagogies employed for social justice encounters were also coded to determine participants’ capacity to integrate the instruction in terms of considering the pupils they will teach. Further critical reflections identified which participants were capable of countering deficit stereotypes of pupils during teaching practice. In contributing to knowledge in the field this study identifies that it is possible to predict ITT candidates’ propensity for social responsibility in the classroom. The analysis of data revealed that a trainee’s sense of responsibility towards ‘the other’ coupled with the level of criticality employed in their reflective practice is directly related to their capacity to become a socially responsible teacher. Coherent guidance and expectations employed through the instructional programme encouraged socially aware trainees to act upon this when teaching. This study confirms the need to closely examine the coherence of ITT programmes in guiding trainees’ social justice awareness.



Wilkins, Chris; Lawson, Tony

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School of Education

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University of Leicester

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