My school-based mentor is very keen to ensure that I get as much support as possible in meeting the QTS Standards. She is also keen to engage other staff in discussions around how they can best support students, particularly around issues relating to diversity. Are there any resources available?
1. Addressing the issue raised in the scenario
It is great to hear that you have a mentor who recognises the importance of her/his role in your development, particularly in the area of diversity. Previous research (Davies and Crozier, 2006 - see full link below) has suggested that there can be a tendency to view work in this area as being less important than some of the other QTS Standards, and that the input relating to diversity which students/trainees receive both from their training institutions and when they are on placement in schools can be patchy. It is therefore imperative that students/trainees recognise the importance of being proactive in seeking out support and curriculum ideas in order not only to meet the respective QTS Standards, but to view such work as an integral part of their future professional careers.
Examples of being proactive might include collecting resources (books, poems, images etc.) which can be used to address aspects of diversity and including these in your planning from the outset of a placement; finding out about the diverse backgrounds of the pupils you will teach and using this information to inform your planning; looking at school policies which refer to diversity and actively considering how your work can support them; and asking pertinent questions while you are in school.
For your mentor, ITE providers will support their partnership schools by providing general information relating to particular placements and advice and guidance as to how best to support students/trainees. Most will also offer more specific mentor training according to the perceived needs of schools, so perhaps your mentor could request that the Standards relating to diversity become a focus. Some ITE providers use of a cluster system whereby a group of schools might work together sharing ideas or expertise which might be something your mentor would be interesting in joining or setting up.
There are lots of items on the Multiverse website which can help you and your mentor. For the sake of clarity, the selection presented below are organized into two groups - one set of items aimed at students/trainees to support their understanding of aspects of diversity, and one aimed at ITE providers/mentors in schools.
2. Finding out about rights and responsibilities
All student/trainee teachers will need to demonstrate an understanding of issues relating to diversity in order to be awarded QTS. The QTS Standards which specifically refer to diversity are:
Q18: Understand how children and young people develop and that the progress and well-being of learners are affected by a range of developmental, social, religious, ethnic, cultural and linguistic influences;
Q19: Know how to make effective personalised provision for those they teach, including those for whom English is an additional language or who have special educational needs or disabilities, and how to take practical account of diversity and promote equality and inclusion in their teaching;
and Q25(a): use a range of teaching strategies and resources, including e-learning, taking practical account of diversity and promoting equality and inclusion.
Find out more:
However, it could be argued that many more of the Standards require an understanding of issues relating to diversity. For example,
Q1: Have high expectations of children and young people including a commitment to ensuring that they can achieve their full educational potential and to establishing fair, respectful, trusting, supportive and constructive relationships with them;
Q2: Demonstrate the positive values, attitudes and behaviour they expect from children and young people;
Q4: Communicate effectively with children, young people, colleagues, parents and carers;
Q3(a): Be aware of the professional duties of teachers and the statutory framework within which they work.
This latter Standard would require an understanding of key Government Policy and Legislation, for example:
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000)
Every Child Matters (2003)
Community Cohesion - DCSF (2007) Guidance
Information relating to inclusion and diversity and the curriculum can be found on the QCDA's website: http://www.qcda.gov.uk/curriculum/sen/532.aspx
Information relating to Community Cohesion and the curriculum, including Community Cohesion Guidance (QCDA, 2010) can be found at: http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/new-primary-curriculum/About-the-new-primary-curriculum/equalities-diversity-and-inclusion/community-cohesion/index.aspx
3. Using relevant Multiverse resources
Resources Aimed at ITE Students/Trainees:
Guidance for primary student teachers on addressing diversity and EAL issues in the classroom- guidance developed in order to encourage student teachers/trainees to integrate aspects of diversity into their teaching regardless of the location of their school. It would also be useful to mentors in schools who are supporting students in meeting the Standards in relation to diversity and EAL.
Planning an inclusive, anti-racist curriculum: outline of a teaching session in which student teachers/trainees are asked to reflect upon their own practice and observations to consider the potential of the National Curriculum to address issues relating to diversity.
Self-assessment rating scale on diversity - Siraj-Blatchford & Clark (2000): self-assessment rating scale designed to be used by teachers to consider planning for individual learning needs, ‘multicultural' education, and gender equity and awareness.
Resources Aimed at ITE Providers/School-based Mentors:
Collection of Mentor Training Activities including downloadable activities : collection of resources aimed at school-based mentors, including self-assessment activity.
Report of a Multiverse-funded project, Smith (2007) Diversity on the Doorstep: Mentoring for Diversity in a Predominantly monolingual area Report from a small-scale Multiverse commissioned research study which sought to monitor the impact of a specialist partnership group on its participants, the students and a Primary PGCE Programme.
Example of University Staff training session: Example of an activity used in a Staff Conference at an ITE providing HE institution. It aims to facilitate discussion and debate around 'problematic' scenarios involving racist language or attitudes, and to share and develop practice in relation to current 'race'-related legislation and policy.
Tackling Racism on School Placements (with suggestions for mentor training) T. Basit, A. Kenward and L. Roberts (Dec 2005) Report from a Multiverse-commissioned study investigating racism encountered by student teachers/trainees while on school placement - provides ideas for mentor training, and identifies examples of effective practice.
ITE Session: Finding and assessing diversity-related professional development material on the internet Account of a session which aims to encourage student teachers' /trainees' ongoing professional development in the area of diversity and education and to widen their knowledge of the range of information that is available to them through electronic sources.
Developing a Culturally Inclusive Curriculum - Newham EMAS and Mantra Lingua (2007)
Details of a training pack for primary teachers designed to help teachers explore concepts of multiculturalism and inclusion, to build their confidence in creatively adapting the curriculum and to support them in addressing issues, such as racism that arise in the classroom.