Teachers’ Reflections on Community Relations and Diversity: A Northern Irish Perspective

By Patricia Eaton, Lisa McKenzie, Norman Richardson and Owen McCracken.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 5, 2015 Free Download

This paper describes the results of a survey of schools in Northern Ireland on issues of diversity and community relations. The survey was carried out as part of the International Fund for Ireland funded Classrooms Re-imagined: Education in Diversity and Inclusion for Teachers (CREDIT) programme. The core aim of this programme is to provide courses for teachers to assist them in developing awareness and practical skills in dealing with division, diversity, inclusion and community relations, and reconciliation in the classroom and on a whole-school basis. A questionnaire was distributed to a sample of all schools in Northern Ireland to attempt to ascertain attitudes to diversity and education for community relations before the programme commenced. Definitions of these terms were provided to minimise ambiguity. Results of the questionnaires were analysed using suitable software and a thematic approach was adopted to classify data. Findings show that most schools have policies and programmes in place to deal with these issues but that teachers feel lacking in confidence and skills to directly address such issues in the classroom.

Keywords: Teacher Education, Diversity, Community Relations

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 656.634KB)).

Dr. Patricia Eaton

Head of Continuing Education, Teacher Education, Stranmillis University College, Belfast, UK

Lisa McKenzie

Senior Lecturer, Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Norman Richardson

Department of Teacher Education (Post-Primary), Stranmillis University College, Belfast, UK

Owen McCracken

Researcher, Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK