Researching Class in the Classroom: Addressing the social class attainment gap in Initial Teacher Education.

Gazeley, Louise and Dunne, Mairead (2007) Researching Class in the Classroom: Addressing the social class attainment gap in Initial Teacher Education. Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy, 33 (4). pp. 409-424. ISSN 0260-7476

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The social class attainment gap in education is now attracting an increased level of concern. Despite the efforts of the British New Labour government to address the continuing underachievement of working class pupils in England, there has been little progress. This paper reports on one aspect of a wider research study carried out in an Initial Teacher Education department in which this persistent educational problem was explicitly addressed. In this study student teachers were prompted to explore their own understandings of social class and underachievement by acting as school-based researchers. The data collected by the student teachers revealed both silence and resistance surrounding social class in educational contexts. They identified social class and underachievement as overlapping constructions that were inextricably linked to the perceptions and practices of the teacher. Importantly, in reflecting on their experiences of the research process the student teachers were able to identify significant implications for their own future professional practice. This paper concludes by emphasising that Initial Teacher Education (ITE) provides an important context in which to raise social class issues and to ensure that student teachers are effectively prepared to recognise and address the institutional barriers to learning faced by underachieving working class pupils.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The research focusses on the underachievement of working class pupils in the English education system. It addresses an issue which has become an increasing focus of concern at policy level. Gazeley developed and managed the research project that is discussed and wrote the paper, with the support of Dunne. The focus of the paper reflects Gazeley's interest in raising the status of the issue within Initial Teacher Education. It provides and example of the way in which research can bring together the interests of policy and practice; teacher trainees carried out the data collection for this research and gained insights into classroom practice that would shape their own practice in the future.
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Louise Gazeley
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:32
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 14:55
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