'Against the odds': insights from Black, Asian and minority ethnic teachers

Duggan, M (2021) 'Against the odds': insights from Black, Asian and minority ethnic teachers. In: BERA Annual Conference, 13 - 16 September 2021, [online].

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Abstract

The stark disparity in representation between the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) teachers in primary and secondary schools and the pupils that they teach is widely documented. Almost one third of pupils in state maintained primary schools are BAME, and just over a quarter of the pupils in state maintained secondary schools are from BAME backgrounds; this is in sharp contrast to 7.2% of teachers from BAME backgrounds, (DfE, 2015) Although the author acknowledges and problematises the continued existence of inhibitory and inequitable societal structures, the featured research project does not seek to add to the already significant literature base on the reasons for the disproportionate representation of BAME teachers. Instead, drawing on critical race theory, this research recognises and celebrates that communities of colour have multiple strengths and assets (Yosso, 2005). And these need to be harnessed for the world of education. Building on this potent and positive premise, the research lens shifts away from a deficit model by specifically researching individuals from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups who are in the 7.2% minority and who have succeeded in joining the teaching profession. This research seeks to establish if there are commonalities in the lived experiences of these individuals who have successfully navigated their way through any potential ‘oppressive structures’ Lynn and Jennings ( 2009) and arguably ‘against the odds’ have qualified as teachers. With social justice underpinnings, the primary research aim is to foreground, celebrate and learn from these narratives of resistance. Shining a light on the deconstructed narratives brings fresh insights and generates a knowledge base that could ultimately empower those who may be currently disempowered to join the teaching profession. The study is presented as a pragmatic counter to the perceived inertia of progress in this domain. In this presentation powerful and empowering sources of evidence are shared from the rich qualitative dataset gathered from 1:1 semi structured interviews with 15 qualified teachers from a BAME background.The sample selected for the research were former primary and secondary PGCE students (cohorts 2015 - 2019) from the author’s university and thus represented a convenience sample. In terms of data gathering methods, the individuals were asked a set of open ended questions that probed: their motivations for joining the teaching profession; the nature of any personal attributes, skills and dispositions they possessed; as well as forms of cultural wealth, assets or resources they may have drawn on, such aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial and resistant capital. In addition, the participants were invited to offer ideas on the design of future outreach work for the PGCE recruitment purposes to encourage a greater representation from under-represented ethnic groups. Each interview was recorded and transcribed and the final transcription sent to each participant to check for accuracy. The data gathered from the interviews were analysed using principles of Grounded theory ( Charmaz 2006). An open ended inductive method was used to organise and reduce the interview data set into emergent categories. This initial list was then reduced down by looking for similarities or potential repetition in themes that could effectively be classified together as one overarching data theme. These data themes were analysed against the framework of critical race theory, (Crenshaw, 2002, Ladson Billings, 2009), community cultural wealth, (Yosso, 2005, Gonzales et al 1995 ), intersectionality theory, ( Collins and Bilge, 2020 ). The key findings, conclusions and recommendations are offered with implications for ITE recruitment policy and practice discussed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Note:

References:

Charmaz, K. (2006) Constructing Grounded Theory. London: Sage.

Crenshaw, K. (2002) The first decade: critical reflections, or ‘a foot in the closing door’, in: F. Valdes, J. McCristal Culp & A. Harris (Eds) Crossroads, directions and a new critical race theory (Philadelphia, PA, Temple University Press), 9–31.

Department for Education (2014) School Workforce Census in England.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/school-workforce-in-england-november-2014 .

Gonzalez, N., Moll, L. C., Tenery, M. F., Rivera, A., Rendon, P. Gonzales, R. & Amanti, C. (1995) Funds of knowledge for teaching in Latino households, Urban Education, 29(4), 443–470.

Hill Collins, P., and Bilge, S. (2020) Intersectionality. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Polity.

Ladson Billings, G. (2009) The Dream Keepers San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Lynn, M. and Jennings, M. (2009) Power, politics, and critical race pedagogy: a critical race analysis of Black male teachers’ pedagogy. Race Ethnicity and Education Vol 12, No. 2, June 2009 pp 173-196.

Yosso, T.J. (2005) Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education Vol. 8, No. 1, March 2005, pp. 69–91.

Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: School of Education
Research Centres and Groups: Research Centre on Policy, Pedagogy and Practice in Education (PPP)
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2021 14:43
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 14:45
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