Colleagues in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS) at the University of Limerick and at the Ulster University have secured funding from The Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS) to undertake a project titled ‘Shared Responsibility Across a Shared Island: Teaching social justice in initial teacher education’. Prof. Ann MacPhail (PESS) is the Principal Investigator for the project and the team includes Dr. Antonio Calderon, Dr. Elaine Murtagh and Brigitte Moody (PESS), Dr. Dylan Scanlon (Dublin City University) and Dr. Paul McFlynn and Mairead Davidson (Ulster University).
The aim of the project is to develop and share, through ‘practitioner research’, a teaching approach to social justice across two initial teacher education (ITE) programmes from North and South. The aim is to encourage (seven) teacher educators and (32) pre-service teachers (PSTs) to learn with and from each other, within and across their respective jurisdictions. Teacher educators and PSTs will appreciate the extent to which specific social justice issues are unique (or not) to their jurisdiction and also the school placement contexts. The research questions are; (1) In what way does ITE programmes from the North and South sharing discussions around social justice enhance PSTs’ and teacher educators’ perspectives and experiences with respect to the reality of addressing social justice in schools? (2) What considerations need to be addressed in formalising a shared North and South ITE space to discuss and enact social justice in schools?
The social justice space captures the distribution of opportunities and privileges within a society. This provides a clear warrant for ITE to work toward the development of PSTs who are socially just in their beliefs and practices and better equipped to work in diverse and inclusive school learning environments.
This project will provide empirical data on teacher educators’ and PSTs’ experiences of sharing a social justice space across North and South and subsequent teaching practices. This will lead to capturing the teaching practice realities of striving to teach for social justice while theoretically developing a pedagogy for social justice. There is continual support for teacher educators to play a role in equipping teachers with the skills necessary to undertake practitioner research.
It is anticipated that the different government structures, and by association differing governance of (school) education and teacher education policies, that arise in North and South will lead to sharing similarities and differences in the teaching practice realities of striving to teach for social justice. The project extends an ongoing research programme within ITE and social justice pursued by the lead partners and colleagues.
Contact: Ann MacPhail, Assistant Dean Research, Ann.MacPhail@ul.ie