Black male students in an English university: Challenges, stress and strategies – Dr Jasmine Rhamie MBPsS CSci, Roehampton University
The teaching workforce in the western world is predominately white, female and largely middle class. In Europe, data suggests that the younger the children in education, the higher proportion of women teachers (European commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2013). This pattern is also reflected in schools in the UK (Francis and Skelton, 2005; DfE, 2011). There is a growing field of research into students on initial teacher training (ITT) courses (Bielby, 2007; Hobson et al, 2006) in relation to ITT and gender, (Carrington, 2002; Carrington et al 2008; Martin and Marsh, 2005; Skelton, 2002; Thornton, 1999) and Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) trainee teachers (Basit, et al., 2006; Maylor, 2009) but there has been little research on those who are both male and of a BME background. This group of students has been the focus of two separate recruitment and retention drives; one to increase the number male student teachers and the other to increase BME student teachers on teacher training programmes (TDA, 2007).
However, despite some success dropout rates remain high (Bielby, 2007). Adopting a phenomenological approach with Critical Race theory this small pilot study investigated the experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic male students on primary teacher training programmes. It sought to understand the school and university experiences of this group and how they managed in predominately white female environments. A focus group and individual interviews were undertaken with an opportunity sample of 5 Black Caribbean and African male trainees on UG and PG primary programmes. The findings highlighted the additional challenges stress and pressures faced by BME male students and the strategies they developed to manage the ways in which they were constructed and viewed as BME male primary trainees. The research highlighted the importance of considering the impact of race, class and gender on vulnerable groups of students to ensure that their needs on these multiple dimensions are considered and supported.
Dr Jasmine Rhamie is Principal Lecturer in Education and Programme Convenor for the Primary PGCE in the School of Education at the University of Roehampton. She was worked as a primary teacher and education consultant. She is the author of Eagles who Soar: How Black learners find paths to success and has research interests in ‘race’ and ethnicity in education, student teachers’ understandings of race and ethnicity, BME male trainee teachers experiences and African Caribbean academic success factors. Jasmine Rhamie is the Co-Convenor of BERA’s Race Ethnicity and Education SIG.
This event is part of a new series on ‘Education’ organised by EHU’s Ethnicity, Race, and Racism Seminar for 2015/2016.
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