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Student Experiences of Widening Participation in Initial Teacher Education in Ireland: A Bourdieusian Analysis

Kelly-Blakeney, Eileen (2014) Student Experiences of Widening Participation in Initial Teacher Education in Ireland: A Bourdieusian Analysis. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Employing Bourdieu’s three-level approach to studying a field, this research investigates student experiences of widening participation (WP) in initial teacher education (ITE) in Ireland. In Bourdieusian terms, ITE is conceptualised as a ‘sub-field’ and a ‘dual-field’ at the intersection of two larger fields of practice: higher education and the teaching profession. Positioned as such, ITE has been impacted by policy developments emanating from both the Higher Education Authority as well as the Irish Teaching Council. In ‘mapping the field’ of ITE with regard to WP, the study finds that participation by mature students in ITE is below the average figure for participation by mature students across all HE programmes; whereas the proportion of students entering ITE via the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is slightly above the average. In seeking to understand the habituses of non-traditional students in ITE, interviews were conducted with nine students from two higher education institutions (HEIs). The students entered undergraduate programmes to qualify as post-primary teachers via a non-standard entry-route, either as a mature entrant or following successful completion of an Access course. Polkinghorne’s approach to narrative analysis (1995), combined with Bourdieu’s theoretical framework informed the analysis. A schematic representation of the orientations of students within the field indicated that they were positioned as either ‘Adjusting’ or ‘Belonging’, and that these positions were independent of entry-route. It is recommended that awareness-raising among under-represented groups regarding WP entry-routes should remain a policy priority. Within HEIs, efforts need to continue in order to ensure that non-standard entry-routes are ‘normalised’, as this will serve to enhance the student experience of ITE. Finally, given that a sizeable proportion of HEAR applicants are securing non-designated HEAR places on ITE programmes, this is an issue which needs to be addressed in both policy and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605542
Depositing User: Ms Eileen Kelly-Blakeney
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2014 07:52
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6427

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