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Political assumptions underlying pedagogies of national education: the case of student teachers teaching ‘British Values’ in England.

Sant, Edda and Hanley, C (2018) Political assumptions underlying pedagogies of national education: the case of student teachers teaching ‘British Values’ in England. British Educational Research Journal, 44 (2). pp. 319-337. ISSN 0141-1926

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Abstract

Teacher education in England now requires that student teachers follow practices that do not undermine “fundamental British values” (DfE, 2013, p. 14), where these practices are assessed against a set of ethics and behaviour standards. This paper examines the political assumptions underlying pedagogical interpretations about the education of national identities through documenting how a group of student teachers uphold the institutional demand of promoting fundamental British Values in relation to their discursive constructions of Britishness. Empirical data exemplifies potential political understandings guiding educational practices. Analysis suggests that pedagogies of national education are mediated by (i) educators' understandings of the nation as an essential entity or a social construct and (ii) their understanding of national identities as being open or closed to competing interpretations. The paper concludes by examining implications of different political and pedagogical positions for practice and research.

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