Teachers and informality: an approach to engaging with pupils

Shohel, M. Mahruf C. (2010). Teachers and informality: an approach to engaging with pupils. In: The Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress: Promoting Diversity and Inclusive Practice (ISEC 2010), 2-5 Aug 2010, Belfast.

URL: http://isec2010.org/conference-papers/

Abstract

The well-established nonformal education sector which thrives alongside formal schools in Bangladesh raises critical questions about the role of teachers in relationship with local communities, their practical commitment to principles espoused in the curriculum (such as to environmental care), and especially the way they are perceived by their students. In this research, case study is used to explore these factors, identifying the distinctive and apparently powerful role played by teachers in a particular nonformal education setting. In this particular group of schools, the institutional context for learning appears to sustain teachers’ commitment and motivation, with the effect of creating meaningful outcomes for young people who were previously outside the education system. Questions are raised by this example about the significance of the institutional context to teachers’ practices, and about approaches to teacher development which omit consideration of that context by, for example, focusing inadvertently on features of individual teachers. In particular, the dominant formal framing of school education is seen to shift attention away from qualities such as teachers’ authenticity and care, clearly relevant to the educational experience of marginalised pupils. Those interested in inclusion in Bangladesh and comparable contexts clearly cannot ignore the way these distinctions structure the local discourse of teacher development.

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