Defending Identity and Ethos: an analysis of teacher perceptions of school collaboration in Northern Ireland

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this article is to examine the process of collaborative working between teachers located in separate faith-based schools in Northern Ireland. Drawing on theories of intergroup relations, and with reference to in-depth interviews with teachers in post-primary schools, the article shows that despite earlier research which identified a reluctance amongst teachers in the different sectors to work together, most Catholic and Protestant teachers are motivated to collaborate to develop a more broadly based curriculum for pupils. However, it has also been shown that teachers tend to studiously avoid discussing their differences in mixed-faith contexts, and it is argued that this may have the potential to constrain collaborative relations. It is concluded that without strategic direction from policy makers to assist teachers in negotiating and exploring their differences it will be difficult to build the trust which is likely to sustain collaborative relations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)540-551
    Number of pages12
    JournalPolicy Futures in Education
    Volume10
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

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