Organisational self-evaluation and teacher education for community relations in a transforming society?Date: 01.08.2013
During 2004, the School of Education at the University of Ulster embarked on an innovative three-year project designed to embed community relations objectives within initial teacher education. With the advent of more peaceful times in Northern Ireland, this was a precipitous time for initial teacher educators to review the preparation given to beginner teachers for teaching in an increasingly pluralist society emerging from conflict. The present paper reports on one very specific and time-limited element of the broader project. That is, development work designed to investigate the possibilities of using processes of self-review and evaluation as a lever for improvements in initial teacher education for community relations. Following a brief contextualisation, the background to, and the development of, a set of materials designed to support rigorous and systematic self-review of all aspects of provision in a university-based initial teacher education department is described. The Community Relations Index for Initial Teacher Education (Cr-ITE) was envisaged as being of use to initial teacher education establishments in order to help teacher educators take responsibility for rigorous learning from their practice, whilst placing inclusive values at the centre of organisational development. The final section includes further critical reflection on the role of organisational self-review in transforming teacher education for inclusion in a society emerging from longstanding communal conflict.