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ERIC Number: EJ1118225
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Integrated Schools and Intergroup Relations in Northern Ireland: The Importance of Parents
Donnelly, Caitlin; Furey, Andrea; Hughes, Joanne
Educational Research, v58 n4 p442-456 2016
Background: Integrated schools were established in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. With an explicit intention to build better relations between Catholics and Protestants, it has an intuitive appeal in a society which has long experienced sectarian division. Whilst the sector has attracted considerable research, less is understood about how parents' perceive the approach adopted by schools to build intergroup relations. Purpose: The present article seeks to address the gap in the literature by exploring parents' views of integrated education. Drawing on theories of intergroup contact, the paper seeks specifically to explore how parents and head teachers perceive and negotiate the approach that the schools adopt to build intergroup relations. Method: In an attempt to probe the deeper meanings that participants attach to integrated education, a qualitative research approach was adopted; semi-structured interviews were carried out with 17 parents and 2 head teachers in two integrated primary schools. Findings: Through the data analyses, three main aspects were evident. Firstly, the study reveals something of the relational dynamic between head teachers and parents and the significance of this relationship for determining how intergroup relations are pursued in integrated schools. Secondly, it highlights the nebulous nature of identity salience and the practical challenges of making identity salient within mixed identity contexts. Finally, the study suggests the value of qualitative approaches for exploring intergroup contact initiatives. Conclusions: Overall, the paper demonstrates the inherent challenges of establishing an integrated school where good relations will be developed when multiple interpretations of what constitutes an appropriate response to difference and diversity prevails.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A