SRASI – Shared Responsibility Across a Shared Island: Teaching social justice in initial teacher education

SRASI Report

The Shared Responsibility Across a Shared Island (SRASI) project aimed to (i) develop and share a teaching approach to social justice across two Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programmes from North and South, and (ii) encourage teacher educators and preservice teachers (PSTs) to learn with and from each other, within and across their respective jurisdictions. The participants were teacher educators and PSTs attached to two teacher education programmes in the North (Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) Physical Education) and in the South (Professional Master’s in Education (PME) Physical Education). Three teacher educators and 12 PSTs were attached to the programme from the North and five teacher educators and 24 PSTs were attached to the programme from the South. Multiple data sources (including online recorded meetings, one face-to-face meeting, focus groups and debriefs) were collected and analysed throughout the thematic analysis.
The findings are presented as multiple ways of considering the experiences, positions and directions of those involved in the project and are captured with reference to ‘space’. PSTs and teacher educators occupy multiple spaces (sometimes at the same time) that are considered to be connected to exposure to, and experiences of, social justice matters. The concept of space allows the findings to be presented in a way that directly relates back to addressing the research questions of (i) the way in which facilitating shared discussions around social justice (in PETE programmes North and South) enhance PSTs’ and teacher educators’ perspectives and experiences of addressing social justice in schools, and (ii) considerations that need to be addressed in formalising a shared North and South PETE space to discuss and enact social justice in schools.
The key findings focus on (i) the integration of social justice matters across two jurisdictions and within PETE programmes, (ii) teacher educators’ exploration and experience in teaching about and for social justice, (iii) setting realistic expectations to encourage engagement with social justice matters, (iv) School Placement as an opportunity to experience the realities of social justice matters, (v) the similarity of experiences between jurisdictions, and (vi) PSTs’ acknowledgement of personal growth with respect to social justice matters.
Six recommendations are aligned with the six key findings:
Recommendation 1: To create a safe space, teacher educators and PSTs should continually engage within and across their respective jurisdictions to determine how best to maximise the engagement in discussing social justice matters, appreciating that this takes time.
Recommendation 2: Teacher educators’ understanding of their positionality and vulnerabilities in exploring social justice matters is central to appreciating their role in encouraging PSTs’ engagement with social justice matters.
Recommendation 3: Sufficient time needs to be allowed to determine the ‘readiness’ of teacher educators and PSTs to develop appropriate dispositions and aligned skill-sets that will enhance engagement with social justice matters.
Recommendation 4: Appreciating that the realities of teaching in a school heightens PSTs’ exposure to social justice matters, PSTs need help to consider how best to encourage teachers and schools to adapt approaches and practices that address social justice matters.
Recommendation 5: Consider the extent to which teacher educators and PSTs can learn from each other about social justice matters which arise in different school and teaching contexts as well as geographical jurisdictions.
Recommendation 6: Provide PSTs with opportunities for modelling practices and regular reflection on experiences and exposure to social justice matters with a view to acknowledging personal growth and determining how best to develop an ongoing commitment to social justice matters.