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Title: Initial teacher education and the Irish multicultural classroom : opportunities, challenges and developments
Author: Campbell, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 1324
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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While Ireland has grappled with the complex issue of cultural diversity throughout its history, since the mid 1990's the multiculture nature of Irish society has taken on heightened significance. This is due to the rise in Ireland s immigrant population from less than 1% in 1996 to 14% of the population in 2008. This development sets a new agenda for initial teacher education (ITE) which operates in the absence of educational policy which addresses Ireland's changing demographics. This thesis examines how Irish ITE can facilitate second level teachers to adapt theu pedagogies m order that newly arrived pupils from different cultural backgrounds are not disadvantaged in the Irish multicultural classroom. It begins with the assertion that teachers' pedagogical choices reflect their identity development. By placing teacher identity development at the core, the research draws upon the work of four figures, Lev Vygotsky, Pierre Bourdieu, Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum to provide a foundational understanding of the process of identity development. This provides a lens which is used to critique ITE literature in multicultural societies. This in tum creates an analytical distance, allowing the interrogation of my pedagogies as a lecturer in ITE, of the ITE programme in general and identifies the connotations for the wider Irish educational context. Informed by the interpretivist/constructivist paradigm, in-depth, active interviews were carried out with fourteen newly qualified teachers (NQTs) at the end of their first year of teaching, all of whom were graduates of the programme I work on. The interviews explored the extent to which their life experiences, prior to, during and post ITE influenced their identity development and subsequent pedagogical choices in the Irish multicultural classroom. The findings indicate that the degree to which they had _interacted with people from different cultures influenced how they perceived, understood and engaged with their newly arrived pupils and with the cognitive and affective dimensions of teaching and learning in the multicultural classroom. The majority of NQTs felt morally affronted when they perceived that newly arrived pupils' needs were not being met within the classroom, school and wider society. Despite the fragmented approach taken by lecturers on the ITE programme, the majority drew upon their experiences during ITE to inform their adaptation of pedagogies. However, they struggled in making the connection between the theoretical elements of the programme and their transfer into adapted pedagogies for specific multicultural classroom contexts. The research identified how modifications to my pedagogies and the introduction of interventions on the programme could circumvent the lack of teacher educators' and student teachers' experience of cultural difference, the lack of research specific to the Irish context, and could support student teachers in their attempts to transfer theory into pedagogies for the Irish multicultural classroom. Finally, the research identified areas in need of further exploration. These include student teachers' perceptions of the relationship between pupils' racial and national identity and their pedagogical choices as teachers, and student teachers' perceptions of the influence of the grammar of a subject on their potential to modify pedagogy in the multicultural classroom.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available