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Title: "Standing up not standing out" : an ethnographic study of the educational experiences of Irish Traveller children in their first year of primary education in rural Northern Ireland
Author: Shields, Kieran Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 0446
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This study explores the early educational experiences of a small group of Irish Traveller children as they transitioned into the first year of their formal primary school education in a rural primary school in Northern Ireland. Informed in part by some theoretical concepts associated with the work of Bourdieu, Jenkins and the sociology of childhood, the study aimed to better understand how young Traveller children lived out and experienced their first days of school. Using an ethnographic approach that involved some classroom observations of and interviews with Traveller children, the study highlights the interface between the school culture and aspects of the Traveller children’s culture and the challenges and complexities for both them and their teachers in finding an accommodation between the two. Through specific examples in the school setting the study shows the challenges and complexities for teachers as they strive to meet organisational imperatives while also attempting to attend to the individual needs presented by some Traveller children. The study also shows how normative school teacher practices, the school culture and ethos aim to support Traveller children and yet, sometimes in practice, can have unintended less positive impacts. The indicates a concern that the twin aims of inclusion, which is perceived and practiced as integration, versus respect for diversity and difference may appear incompatible and yet there are a number of small changes that could be made within the school setting to bridge the gap between these two positions. The thesis ends by outlining these suggested changes to policy and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Child.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available