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'The bar is slightly higher': the perception of racism in teacher education

Basit, Tehmina N. and McNamara, Olwen and Roberts, Lorna and Carrington, Bruce and Maguire, Meg and Woodrow, Derek (2007) 'The bar is slightly higher': the perception of racism in teacher education. Cambridge journal of education, 37 (2). pp. 279-298. ISSN 0305-764X

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Abstract

The education and training of teachers is an issue of national concern. In this paper we analyse the findings of an in-depth investigation, undertaken by means of semi structured interviews, of a group of minority ethnic teacher trainees who withdrew from Initial Teacher Training courses in England, and a smaller group of those who completed these courses. We focus, in particular, on trainees' perception of the manifestation of racism during their training. Though none of the minority ethnic withdrawers perceive racism as the determining factor for their withdrawal, some mention instances of covert and even overt racism, while others note subtle forms of discriminatory obstacles to successful completion of the course, which they are reluctant to label as racism. The paper concludes by pointing to the complexity of categorizing phenomena as racism. It also draws attention, on the one hand, to the vulnerability of those who view themselves as being racially abused, and, on the other, to those who are disinclined to dwell on barriers to success as forms of racism and are more predisposed to regarding them as failures of the system.

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