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Title: Exploring intercultural education discourses and everyday practices in a Greek-Cypriot primary school
Author: Papamichael, Elena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 9377
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is an ethnographic study of intercultural education discourses and everyday practices in an urban Greek-Cypriot primary school. The pupil population is comprised of Greek-Cypriots, Eastern European economic migrants and increasing numbers of newlyarrived Iraqi-Palestinian asylum-seekers. Despite the introduction of intercultural education policy in 2001, the education system prescribes a monoculturalist and nationalist ethos. At the same time, the limited opportunities for intercultural education training leave teachers uncertain as to how to respond to the increasing diversity. Informed by ethnographic, discursive and intersectional approaches, this study analyses data from fieldwork conducted in this school for a total of three months over a period of three years. The analysis identifies the discursive resources from which teachers draw to talk about diversity in Greek-Cypriot society and construct the Other, mainly in essentialist and negative ways. It also identifies teachers' constructions of racism on a societal and educational level, including racism denials, minimizations and justifications. The thesis argues that teachers' constructions of racism inhibit them from recognizing and challenging institutional racism and racialized incidents they observe among their pupils. The study also demonstrates how minoritized children become differentially racialized as groups and individuals through institutional, teachers' and children's discourses and practices, regardless of intentionality. As a result, many minoritized children experience school in an environment of harassment. The study discusses the experiences of an Iraqi-Palestinian boy as an example of how intercultural education is implemented. Some teachers' resistance to the dominant discourses of colourblindness and racism denial, and minoritized children's negotiation of their racialized positionings create the spaces of ambivalence that are necessary for change. The findings bear implications for policy and practice in terms of teacher training, development of antiracist policies and supportive networks for teachers, changes in the curriculum, and, structural transformations, so that educational opportunities are equally provided to all children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available