Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Heinz, M. Keane, E.
Educational Studies Association of Ireland 41st Annual Conference
Spotlights on the diversity gap: An examination of the socio-demographic backgrounds of applicants and entrants to primary teacher education programmes in Ireland
National University of Ireland Galway
Conference Organising Committee Chairperson
Optional Fields
During the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years, many of Ireland’s schools evolved from having a relatively homogeneous student intake to one characterized by significant ethnic, religious, racial and linguistic diversity (Smyth, Darmody, McGinnity & Byrne, 2009). By contrast, the teaching population has remained relatively homogeneous (Heinz, 2013; Keane & Heinz, 2015). Diversifying the teaching population is of international concern, as it is in Ireland, on research and policy levels (Conway et al. 2009; Higher Education Authority, 2015; Keane & Heinz, 2015; Teaching Council 2008, 2011). In this presentation we will describe and compare the socio-demographic backgrounds (including sex, gender, age, nationality, ethnicity and first language, socio-economic group, disability and religion) of applicants and entrants to undergraduate primary (UG P) initial teacher education (ITE) programmes in the Republic of Ireland in 2014 (N=1,042). The following core research questions are guiding our analysis: 1. What is the socio-demographic composition of UG P ITE students – has this composition changed since 1999 (Drudy et al., 2005)? 2. What groups are currently under-represented in UG P ITE programmes, in terms of those who apply and are accepted? 3. How, and to what extent, may ITE selection processes and criteria and/or other system/contextual factors impact upon the socio-demographic composition of UG P student teacher populations and patterns of under-representation? 4. What measures could be considered to increase the participation rates of currently under-represented groups in UG P ITE? Data has been collected via a cross-sectional online questionnaire which forms part of our wider Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland national study (Keane & Heinz, 2015). With regard to the rationale for diversifying the teaching population, our discussion will be framed by two important perspectives: 1) an ‘equity of access’ perspective, in terms of the composition of teaching populations along socio-demographic lines, and 2) the benefits of a diverse teaching population for students, schools and wider society (Keane & Heinz, 2015).
Irish Research Council
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy