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Educ. Sci. 2012, 2(4), 218-241; doi:10.3390/educsci2040218

‘Purpose’ as a Way of Helping White Trainee History Teachers Engage with Diversity Issues

Institute of Education, University of Reading, London Road Campus, 4 Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX, UK
Received: 13 November 2012 / Revised: 23 November 2012 / Accepted: 30 November 2012 / Published: 4 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue History Curriculum, Geschichtsdidaktik, and the Problem of the Nation)
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Based on a three year action research project, this study examines one strand of that research, namely the impact that ‘purpose’, i.e. exploring the range of rationales for studying a subject, has in helping white trainee teachers embrace cultural and ethnic diversity within their teaching. Through ‘purpose’ trainees explored different reasons why history should be taught (and by implication what content should be taught and how it should be taught) and the relationship of these reasons to diversity. Focusing on ‘purpose’ appears to have a positive impact on many trainees from white, mono-ethnic backgrounds, enabling them to bring diversity into the school curriculum, in this case history teaching. It offers one way to counter concerns about issues of ‘whiteness’ in the teaching profession and by teaching a more relevant curriculum has a potential positive impact on the achievement of students from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Keywords: teacher education; diversity; purpose; whiteness; history teaching teacher education; diversity; purpose; whiteness; history teaching
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Harris, R. ‘Purpose’ as a Way of Helping White Trainee History Teachers Engage with Diversity Issues. Educ. Sci. 2012, 2, 218-241.

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