Research by CERES staff and colleagues at Manchester Metropolitan University on teacher education and ‘race’ equality found that the patchy addressing of race equality issues in initial teacher education was more to do with the lack of time rather than a lack of goodwill. The intensive nature of teacher education programmes meant a lot had to be covered in a short time and this was particularly so in the post-graduate programmes. Other emerging themes from the study include the following:
- Teacher education lecturer awareness and confidence to engage in with race equality issues vary significantly between individual. The views ranged from well informed and perceptive to ones that avoided discussions about racism or race equality, preferring instead to discuss multiculturalism and inclusion.
- Lecturers have an appetite for staff development on race equality issues. However, they did not want more toolkits or checklists but wanted to have opportunities to reflect with colleagues on the complex issues of race equality as well as having opportunities to share good practice.
- Lecturers were aware of the intersectionality of race with class, gender, religion or disability and the need to address the complexities of social reality. However in some cases, these dimensions of intersectionality were counterposed to race, or prioritised hierarchically against it, in ways which downplayed the importance of race.
- Fear of getting it wrong and possibly offending through the use of incorrect terminology or by making naive statements were seen as barriers to being more proactive in race equality education.
- ITE policies and practices needed to be reviewed to ensure that real progress is made towards preparing student teachers for an increasingly diverse pupil population. Lecturers interviewed were not confident that race equality issues were addressed in a systematic or robust way in all programmes or courses. Most saw ‘one off’ lectures as being ineffective.
- ITE providers in partnership with central and local government need to work together to develop a proactive strategy to recruit and retain black and minority ethnic students and staff. The homogeneity of ITE staff and student profiles does not reflect the diversity in contemporary Britain.
- Student teachers need to be provided opportunities to discuss and challenge racism as well as considering how to embed race equality within the curriculum.
- In this age of austerity, there is a greater need to ensure that funding for equality and inclusion work does not marginalise race equality work.To read the full report download