How can Global Educational Partnerships and Community Cohesion inform one another? Investigating two secondary schools.
Rogers, James David
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis investigates the activities of two secondary schools in relation to their duty to promote community cohesion (intercultural understanding and cohesion within communities) and their engagement in global educational partnerships and international activities. In particular this study seeks to ascertain if there is a relationship between community cohesion and global educational partnerships –whether the activities and outcomes from one could inform the other in relation to intercultural understanding. There is little research on the relationship between these two initiatives. The research explores the understanding and experiences of staff involved in these initiatives in the two schools and that of pupils in Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 (11-18 years). Data is generated through semi-structured interviews and document analysis, providing a rich description of participants’ understanding and whole-school activities. What has emerged from the findings is a complex and subtle picture of two schools and their interpretations of their duty to promote community cohesion, engage in international activities, and the relationship between the two. Effective practice is identified such as developing inclusive perspectives through pupil peer-led teaching. However, barriers to effective practice have also been identified and include how cultural diversity is understood and presented through binary perceptions of ‘Other’. Such perspectives, alongside complex paternal power relations evident in educational partnerships with schools in the global South, are identified as problematic in the promotion of intercultural understanding and cohesion. The dominant political discourse, guidance for schools and the role of the schools’ inspection framework (Ofsted) are also influencing factors. Postcolonial Theory is used to interrogate policy and practice and presents alternative perspectives, and these, it is contended, can offer new ways forward in creating a ‘third’ space for intercultural understanding through global educational partnerships and community cohesion.
PhD in Education