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Priti Chopra

Greenwich University, United Kingdom

Widening participation through intercultural learning

This paper is located in Hockings et al (2010) conceptualisation of widening participation in higher education as inclusive learning and teaching practice that embraces diversity as an enriching resource. Through ethnographic vignettes this paper explores the multicultural practices and identities of first generation migrant course participants as forms of (un)validated knowledge on a British postgraduate teacher education programme. The study examines how intersectionality in terms of ethnicity, class, age, religion and gender impacts on their learning and learning identities. I apply Bartlett’s explanation of identity formation as “an ongoing social process of self making in conjunction with others through interaction” (2007:53) to develop my analysis of the construction of learning identities rooted in Hockings et al (2010) definition of widening participation. This study is responsive to three key questions centred on the experiences of heterogeneous course participants:

  1. How is their learning trajectory impacted on by issues of power and representation?
  2. What type of challenges related to voice, visibility and agency are encountered through officially validated conceptualisations of competency and professional identity?
  3. What are the implications for developing inclusive intercultural teacher education practice?

This research provides insights into a process of (re)claiming intercultural learning in order to engage with (un)validated knowledge and ‘other’ socio-cultural realities that create an account not possessing a ‘knowing’ of diverse, polyvocal, situated, gendered course participants but rather miming the route of how they could not be ‘known’ without their voice (Spivak 1999).




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