I’Anson J, Jasper A & McKelvey R (2021) Fostering critical educational spaces as catalysts for translating equity policy and theory, so as to transform communities of practice. Scottish Government.
First paragraph: The aim of this project was to promote teachers’ in-depth professional thinking and practice so as to sustain system-wide change that addresses the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC).
The project builds upon previous research at the university of Stirling that mapped and audited the support of early career professionals in the induction phase (I’Anson & Eady, 2017; Drew & Watson 2014). In terms of teachers’ professional judgements in relation to acknowledging pupil difference, this work identified:
(i) that beginning teachers often struggled with translating theory and values into their ongoing practice, and often resorted to strategies, which were only successful in certain circumstances and did not promote the wider reflexivity necessary to change thinking and practice in relation to pupil difference.
(ii) the support of mentors that have the capacities to support early career phase teachers in the promotion of equity of opportunity and attainment, was vital, but in practice, the quality of support offered was variable.
(iii) the university, as a space separate-from-yet-linked-to schools, had a key role in supporting the development of teachers’ professional educational judgement, especially with regard to interrupting patterns of socialisation that fail to acknowledge the complexities of thinking and practice that are necessary if more inclusive approaches are to be foregrounded.
In response to this, the MaPD offered a new Master’s level course Promoting Equity, (together with courses on criticality, designing interventions, and mentoring practice), for experienced teachers with mentoring roles in their schools. An oblique angle was therefore taken in relation to the broader SAC aims: the intention was to leverage change in the very communities of practice within which beginning teachers practice, through focussing on the pivotal role of mentors in promoting more equitable and inclusive practice.