Starting from the position that factors leading to black underachievement in schools continue to exist, how can we help the individual develop strategies for achieving quality education?

 

 

 

C copyright BILL ZANETTI 48/458/5948 M Ed May 99

 

SUMMARY

For years the government has produced reports describing black underachievement in schools, but what effect have these reports had? Do the reports really attempt to address the problem?

In this dissertation I have developed strategies to overcome underachievement amongst black school students, and I have tested their value and appropriateness through case study interviews carried out in the UK.

Based on these strategies and their evaluation by interview, I produced a consistent approach that could give direction towards helping begin to work on societyís problem of black underachievement; this direction was epitomised by a staff development workshop designed to help teachers address these issues.

Acknowledgements

First and foremost I would like to thank my interviewees whose knowledge and wisdom greatly enhanced this research project. It is with regret that for reasons of professional and academic integrity I am unable to properly credit them here.

I would also like to strongly thank my tutor, Donnie Macleod, who has managed to convert a bristly ageing socialist suspicious of academia into something vaguely resembling academic respectability, I hope.

Distance learning requires, if not demands, a good library service. I would specifically like to thank Jean Jolly and her staff for their invaluable help. I would also like to thank the administrative staff of Northern College, who have enabled me to complete so far.

Bill Zanetti May í99

 

Online References

All of my M Ed work can be accessed here: LINK

Each of the separate parts can be directly accessed using:-

Professional Biography LINK

Independent Study LINK

Dissertation LINK

                                                          DECLARATION

I certify that this thesis does not incorporate without acknowledgement any material previously submitted for a degree or diploma in any university; and that to the best of my knowledge and belief it does not contain any material previously published or written by another person where due reference is not made in the text.

 

              Bill Zanetti Bill Zanetti 4/4/99

 

 

CONTENTS

Chapter 1 Introduction

Appendix 1A Final Plan

Appendix 1B Position Justification

Appendix 1C Research not Found & Support Letter

Appendix 1D Personal Biopic

 

Chapter 2 Literature Review

Section 2.1 Motivation-Achievement

Section 2.2 Strategies

Section 2.3 Culture and Quality Education

Section 2.4 Literature Summary

Appendix 2A Theories of Motivation

Appendix 2B Theories of Achievement

Appendix 2C Public School Approach to Education

Appendix 2D Practical Problems of Finance and Disruptive Students

Appendix 2E Emotional reaction to some of Ford's position

Appendix 2F Botswana's White Model of Education

Appendix 2G Culture becomes an Excuse for Failure

Appendix 2H Assimilation and Socialism

Appendix 2I Personal Reflections on Lowest Common

Denominator Behaviour

Appendix 2J Moral Peoplehood

Appendix 2K Negromachy

Appendix 2L Further Counselling Strategies

Appendix 2M Philosophical Investigations of Quality

Appendix 2N Alienation and Quality

Appendix 2O Detachment in Meditation

 

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

Section 3.1 Research Paradigm why qualitative.

Section 3.2 Data Collection Approach

Section 3.3 Case Study Methodology

Section 3.4 Research Methodology Summary

 

Appendix 3A Philosophical underpinnings of Qualitative Research

Appendix 3B Why the Phenomenalist Position might include Noumena

Appendix 3C The Human Being

Appendix 3D Provisions for Trustworthiness

Appendix 3E Interview Procedure

Appendix 3F Characteristics of Qualitative Research

Appendix 3G Sample Sheet

 

Chapter 4 Implementation Process

Appendix 4A Interview Diary

Appendix 4B Personnel Profiles

 

Chapter 5 Presentation of Findings

Section 5.1 Achievement-Motivation

Section 5.2 Racism Awareness Approach

Section 5.3 Performance-Oriented Model

Section 5.4 Cultural Attitude to Jobs

Section 5.5 Cultural Attitude to Black Rights and  Consciousness

Section 5.6 Cultural Attitude to Assimilation

Section 5.7 Nigrescence Model

Section 5.8 Holding to Cultural Strengths

Section 5.9 Detaching from Race

Section 5.10 Racial Identity

Section 5.11 Working for Black Teachers

Section 5.12 Culture and Quality Education

Section 5.13 Trust

Section 5.14 Coping with Peers

Section 5.15 Mentoring

Appendices 5A-K Transcripts of Interviews

 

Chapter 6 Analysis of Findings

Appendix 6A Baseline Procedure - State of the Struggle

Appendix 6B Baseline School

Appendix 6C Business Interactions

Appendix 6D Back to Jamaica

 

Chapter 7 Conclusion of Findings

Appendix 7A Teachers' Workshop

 

Chapter 8 Evaluation

Chapter 9 Bibliography & Additional Materials

Chapter 10 Overall Conclusion

10.1 Step-by-Step Conclusion
10.2 Summary Conclusion

 


 

Preface:- Preface added to online version, 2017. I wrote too much. I canít remember but a dissertation is only 20000 words, this is 85000. To get the qualification I put good material in appendices and some of the ďchaptersĒ are the required academic institutional format. Also occasionally I have been unable to decrypt computer formatting I used 20 years ago.

 

 

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

 

My main concern with this dissertation is an examination of strategies for overcoming black underachievement in schools (please see appendix 1A for the final plan I produced in the Research Strategies module). To this end, the need to establish that there were factors that continue to exist leading to this black underachievement was not an integral part of the dissertation. To be blunt any teacher working in a multi-ethnic school knows black students are underachieving, however in appendix 1B I have presented a brief justification for the continuing existence of such factors based on government reports Ė Rampton, Swann and Ofsted. I would point out here that it is my view (substantiated in appendix 1B) that the reason for the continuing existence of such factors is the lack of political will to fully address the issue of racism. Without such will, racism will continue and therefore the black underachievement I am discussing will not disappear.

 

In Chapter 2 I will begin the Literature Review in order to establish the required strategies. I will look briefly at motivation and achievement as these are clearly issues related to underachievement. Through a consideration of diverse views on motivation and achievement theory, I will propound the view that learning is a natural process. If students are lacking in motivation it is as a consequence of the failure of the education system to dovetail into society and provide rewards, not just financial, for academic success. In other words education and society are not coordinated to enable the natural learning process to continue.

 

Through examination of US literature concerning the counselling of gifted black children, mainly Donna Fordís book Ė ďReversing Underachievement among Gifted Black StudentsĒ, I will develop strategies for overcoming black underachievement in UK schools. I will be questioning positions held by many activists as to the need to develop black consciousness and racism awareness, particularly at an early age. This is not to undervalue such awareness and consciousness, but simply to ask whether it is appropriate in the young and whether it can cause confusion and divert motivation. I feel that many teachers are also confused as to the importance of such issues as naturally black awareness and consciousness are outside the experience of white teachers. One purpose of this dissertation is to show these professionals that there are different perspectives on these issues, and hopefully through the interview process show the teachers the differing perspectives and experience of students.

 

In Chapter 3 I will examine the approach to the research, namely the adoption of the case study methodology and the qualitative paradigm. If the research is to have any meaning then any strategies that I put forward must have relevance in practise. To this end it will be necessary to interview various black people to determine their appropriateness, hence I will try to justify the use of the in-depth interview. As I am concerned about what these people think about the strategies, I propose the use of the qualitative approach as a means of determining their views. As part of this Chapter I will also consider various approaches to attempt to remove bias in the interview process. I will also consider how I will prepare myself for the interviews, how I will designate the sample, and where I will conduct the interviews.

 

In Chapter 4, I will describe how I will carry out the interviews mainly through the use of an interview diary.

 

In Chapter 5 I will present the findings. With proper consultation I am also going to include in Chapter 5 Sections 5.1.to 5.15. These sections are the crux of my dissertation, the corroborative testimony of the interviewees. In appendices 5A-K I present the actual transcripts, but from these transcripts I have collated the quotes from the interviewees concerning the strategies I developed in Chapter 2. To improve the style of presentation I have commented on these quotes but the importance as presentation of findings is in the quotes themselves.

 

In Chapter 6 I will draw together all the findings and generalised discussion into a proper analysis. It should be noted that the literature review led to a number of different but related strategies, included in these was the strategy of mentoring. You will see in Chapters 5 and 6 that there are a great number of findings. Firstly this is because of the number of strategies that will be considered, but secondly because I was fortunate enough to discuss mentoring with a number of practising counsellors. The discussions in the various sections of Chapter 5 are particularly important, and should be noted for the wisdom of the interviewees, and the relevance of their comments to the strategies developed. During the interview process itself I began to question whether the "State of the struggle" was the same as when I was teaching in Brixton. I will include discussions of this in my interview schedule, and I would ask you to pay special note to the testimony that is included in appendices 6A and 6B where I presented baseline discussions on the "State of the Struggle" and its effects in schools.

 

In Chapter 7 I will conclude the dissertation, and in Chapter 8 I will evaluate the dissertation both in terms of its process and value but also from the point of view of self-development. I would like to note here that the value of such research is in its applicability to the school situation. To this effect I would ask that you examine the teachersí workshop in Appendix 7A with a view to implementation of the ideas contained in this dissertation (my own work situation now precludes this).

 

Throughout the dissertation I have made special use of appendices. Although each chapter of the dissertation has integrity without the appendices, I have added the appendices at the end of each chapter (as opposed to the end of the dissertation) because they help describe the processes and debate that led to the summative chapter itself. I encourage the reader to consider these appendices as more than fillers of academic correctness; reading them in conjunction with the chapter will enhance understanding. I hope the reader will note them before moving on to the next chapter as it should give a fuller sense to the subsequent material.

 

Appendix 1a SUMMATIVE PLAN

 

STAGE A:- Setting out a general statement of the question or topic of interest.

A GENERAL STATEMENT

Given that there are factors which prevent black people from achieving quality education in schools how can we help the individual develop strategies to be successful? 

A typical racist stereotype is "Ah, these blacks. Even when we give them Equal Opportunities Laws they still fail, black people are still failing in our schools - they don't have the intelligence to do the best jobs". I want to add evidence that will help to counter such prejudices. Here I would like to define my use of the term "black". Black people originally came from Africa so that is how I will use the term. It will include Afro-Caribbeans, people who are from Africa themselves or whose family comes from Africa, as well as first and subsequent UK generations. It is my contention that there are factors, both in society and in education, which prevent the practice of equal opportunities (ie equal opportunities legislation is in word only). Further these factors prevent black people from achieving quality education and prevent them from entering what might be called the quality professions. Much work has been done at high level to confirm that these factors exist (irrefutably in my opinion) but I feel there is a need to add to work on counselling strategies to overcome these factors in line with recent US work. I hope to contribute to this.

 

STAGE B:- Scrutinising the literature, consulting, discussing with colleagues, clarifying key concepts

BACKGROUND STUDY

To begin with I want to establish how to deal with the concept of quality education. Through background study I will examine what I call processes to quality and use this in my interviewing. Let me try to give some detail. A complete definition of what is quality education cannot, in my view, be given (cf The Meno and Socrates' argument concerning Virtue). However because it cannot be defined does not mean that we cannot strive to educate towards quality. The importance of quality education is not the actual achievement of quality but the passing on of the processes which will allow people to achieve quality in their chosen professions. Typically this might be teaching how to be creative rather than imitating the greats. Through the background study I will point to many such processes, and through interviewing I shall try to get the interviewee to discuss these areas from their own personal experience in and out of the school system.

As will be later discussed such quality issues might not be wanted in these chosen professions. A drug company might want a research scientist to discover new treatments for disease but not if those treatments are cheaper than the existing treatments the company provides. Here we have a simple issue of alienation where the natural process towards cheaper and better drugs is alienated from the profit motivations of the drug company in real life. Do such issues of alienation particularly affect black people in education? Do other issues of alienation affect them in particular? I shall try to examine this issue of alienation (is it natural to treat people as second-class because of the colour of their skin), and then again use my understanding of alienation in the interview process to determine the importance of this factor.

Motivation is a factor in educational achievement, so from a psychological perspective I shall briefly examine educational motivation. But the essential issue of the dissertation is that of black achievement in the UK. This issue became current in the UK when Afro-Caribbean parents, having immigrated postwar and having suffered the indignities of racism at that time in order that their children could receive a proper education on the golden streets of the motherland, discovered that the education their children were receiving was second rate. At the same time the children reacted to the poor standard of their education by becoming disruptive in schools. Once this response and behaviour had become entrenched the government reacted, and set up committees. These committees fuelled by the riots or uprisings of the early 80's led to the Rampton and Swann reports. I contend that little has moved on from there as can be seen when I compare it with the 1996 Ofsted report on the achievement of Afro-Caribbean children, encompassed in their term Ethnic Minority pupils. To me they are still attempting irrefutably to establish that there is a problem. Based on my experience I have no doubt that the UK education system is failing these children of African origin. For me the important direction to take is to accept that these factors are present and help students find ways of overcoming them in order to achieve quality education. To this end recent US research can provide a model by examining the work carried out there on counselling black children, specifically in the education of gifted black children. The direction of these factors, although not necessarily exclusively, should be towards quality education. Coming to terms with this notion is very important to me in this dissertation, and it is in this quality arena where I think the research could possibly have a spark of originality.

 

STAGE C:-

 

C1 Formulation of specific research questions.

C2 Identifying the population to which the results will apply, the intended outcomes and the kinds of claims to be made.

C3 Identifying the general research strategy for data collection.

C4 Selecting or constructing the appropriate techniques/tools/instruments etc for data collection.

C5 Undertaking pilot work.

C6 Plotting the time line.

 

C1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

As I am not defining and examining particular factors my questions can, and perhaps should, be altered during the process of my research; I want to be particularly open to the possibility of learning about new factors through the interviewing processes. However I initially plan to answer the following research questions:-

·       Does achieving a quality education affect the motivations of black people?

·       How does alienation affect the motivation of black people in achieving quality education?

·       How can we counsel black students to help them achieve quality education?

·       What guidelines can we give teachers to help them to advise black people as to how to achieve quality education?

 

Before I begin the interview process I must answer these questions myself and I will then include my initial answers in the dissertation as a sort of baseline. I am conscious that I bring a bias to this research, to know this bias is to overcome it because I can be conscious of my position by having written this baseline. Emphasis in interviewing will also have to be a consideration, will I lead interviewees into the avenue of processes to quality and give it greater emphasis than they would personally?

 

C2 POPULATION

My population is self-evidently black people (black as defined above) who have been educated in the UK. I shall attempt to make my interview sample as diverse as possible within certain practical constraints. Whilst interviewing I shall try to vary population factors such as age, generation, sex etc, and in my analysis I shall try to consider factors such as family origin to see whether this has any bearing. As I am using an individual case study method the breadth of these population factors is important. It has to be recognised that the validity of any counselling strategies that I come up with is in their applicability to real life. If the strategies are only suitable for the individuals concerned then the research is limited. But as the research is pointing towards a new direction in the context of the population:-

Counselling Strategies for Achieving Quality Education then I feel justified.

C3/4/5 COLLECTION STRATEGY/SELECTION/PILOT STUDY

I have determined to follow a qualitative approach to this study hence my main form of data collection will be the in-depth interview - individual case study method. Before I can interview I need to do some pilot work. My big practical problem is that I must collect my data in the UK. To begin with I shall send questionnaires to the UK. These will be sent to a personal friend, Gavin - a black man, and I will ask him to circulate these pilot questionnaires to personal contacts. At the same time there is a UK-educated Nigerian teacher in a local school here in Francistown and I will interview her as a pilot study. At Christmas I shall be returning to the UK for a personal visit. Whilst there I intend to start my serious interviewing. Again I would hope that I could prevail on Gavin to introduce me to people who would be willing to be interviewed. Possibly some of those who completed pilot questionnaires would be interested in a full interview, I would include that possibility in the pilot. Also as a soiree I might try to get a group discussion going on the issue depending on interest. To broaden the scope of interviewees I shall conduct "street interviews". I would focus such interviews on education institutions as well as centres such as the Africa Centre, ACER, and others. Between personal contacts and these "street interviews" I would hope to get sufficient data.

 

An important aspect of my collection strategy is a recognition of the difficulty of my position as a middle-aged white man. I therefore must carry credentials. In terms of Gavin's introductions my credentials are covered, I might have even met some of them. For "street interviews" (interviews with people that I meet say at students' union, Africa Centre, ACER or other AfroCaribbean education centres) I will use two things. Firstly I will bring the magazines, Young Journal, I edited at the Youth Centre, at the time I found doors opening to many interesting places simply by sending a complimentary copy and asking to visit. At that time I always found the community extremely interested in promoting its youth, the paid advert for the Granada Car Hire was not expensive but I am sure he didn't gain much business from a Youth Centre magazine. I would also carry a copy of the race sections of my personal autobiography. 

 

There is a hidden credential which I cannot define - my attitude/persona. I worked for many years in Brixton including work at the Gresham Supplementary Education Scheme (black education), now I work in Botswana. Throughout this time I had much personal contact with black people (especially women, say no more), all of this produces an attitude or persona which removes some barriers, I feel this will be important in allowing me to get interviews. I have carried out a literature search using the keywords "black achievement" that led to references on "educating gifted black children" and "counselling black children". This search will give me information for the background study on black achievement, together with the reports mentioned above, and will help me update my questionnaire/interview strategy on determining counselling strategies contained therein.

 

C6 TIME LINE

The time line is defined by the collection strategy. The pilot study can begin now together with the pilot interview, and then at Christmas I will begin the interviewing proper. As soon as I have finished the pilot interview, and had the returned questionnaires I can begin to update the questionnaire and interview strategy. Also at Christmas I will develop the literature search, hopefully by using the rationales people have used for coping with school. Following the interview process I will write up the dissertation. I have then set myself a target date of May 1998, but at the outside I will finish the M Ed in May 1999 so that I can hopefully graduate in July 1999 at the end of my current contract. In August 1999 I would be looking to change into teacher education; and this is one of the purposes of studying for the M Ed.

 

STAGE D Collecting and Analysing Data

COLLECTION & ANALYSIS

My approach for analysing the data will be based on the approach adopted by MM (Maykut & Morehouse)  that they characterise as interpretative-descriptive. I am not looking to build a whole new theory based on observations made during the interview. It is my intention to use the data gained in the qualitative interview as a description of the way people have coped with the system. I would then need to interpret their sophistic reality into a structure for reporting results in the context of work done in the area eg Donna Y Ford.

 

My approach to coping with the data is connected to the approach developed in MM Ch 9 (Maykut & Morehouse)  - they call it the constant comparative method. Having conducted a pilot interview I found that the delicate nature of the subject matter led to an unstructured interview despite having developed a schedule and a series of questions. The reason for this is two-fold:- firstly, racism is a sensitive area and experiences of racism are often painful, and secondly the concepts of quality and alienation are not necessarily first-hand, immediate concepts and to obtain useful comments based on these concepts might be difficult. Questions cannot necessarily be confronted but can be teased around, and perhaps answered by a question formulated in a completely different way. The length of the interview will also be a problem for transcription. Because the question might be developed in a meandering style, some of the content of the interview will not be relevant for analysis. In the pilot interview I also discovered that we revisited topics because further discussion threw light on previous questions.

 

I will therefore produce a transcript summary of the interview. This transcript summary will then be coded in such a way that every concept the interviewee referred to will be coded as a separate paragraph eg s1Ct1- subject 1 Concept 1. From there I will cut and paste using the computer. Initially I will cut and paste into subject areas such as quality, alienation, motivation etc, loosely based around the interview schedule (set up files for each of these areas). Then I will break down into other areas such as factors to help overcome alienation, reasons for producing quality work, etc (again set up files for each of these areas). These later broken down categories will be determined by the content of the interviews, and as such cannot be defined now. I also found it useful once I had conducted the pilot interview and examined my interview notes to write an evaluation of the interview in terms of notable factors etc. My interview schedule should provide the structure of these breakdown areas but I don't want to be definitive about this in case the interviews produce a direction of study I had not thought about. Following this process through in my mind now I will produce a whole series of files which will contain interview references and paragraphs about specific factors/topics. These could then form the basis of the analysis for my final dissertation.

 

I am not sure what should be submitted for the dissertation. Firstly there will be interview tapes, secondly there will be the disorganised transcript summary, thirdly there will be the breakdown into broad categories, and fourthly there will be the breakdown into specific categories. Then there will be the dissertation. How much of this research analysis is required to be submitted? The pilot's interview took two double-sided tapes!!! Submit up to 40 tapes??

 

As Ch9 develops MM discussed ways of organising their data. Their approach was to put the concepts or their terms - units of meaning (my s1Ct1) onto index cards. Start with broad categories, set up manila sheets in a research room, put all cards that "look/feel alike" on one sheet, then as they build up, find a "rule of inclusion" for some of the cards, thus excluding others which can then be included under other rules etc. I am noting that I am aware of this process. I can use the computer to fulfil many aspects of this process. I can use pinboards which will allow me to categorise files within topics at a glance, making it easy for me to decide where to file the concepts. This might be done along the lines of categorising alienation using the four aspects of alienation that Marx defined. So my pinboard would contain the following files:- Alienation, Alfromself, Alfromman, Alfromspec. AlfromNat, Almiscell, and this pinboard would be visible on the screen at the same time - a computerised manila sheet. Defining these pinboards would be part of the emergent design of the qualitative analysis of my research (as it has been in all aspects of my M Ed so far). I do not feel it is appropriate at this stage to go further into the data analysis process because going further can only be considered part of the analysis itself.

 

STAGE E Interpreting and Reporting Results

CONCLUSION

Following the interviews and collation process I will analyse the attitudes of the interviewees in the context of the background studies. Hopefully these attitudes will give indications to behaviour which will help me to discern counselling strategies to help black students achieve quality education. From this I will try to develop a plan for a teachers' workshop to promote these counselling strategies. As I have mainly followed a qualitative analysis based on MM's book I intend to present my conclusion mainly in the way they have suggested in Ch 10 throughout. Their actual design is on p152 but I have made slight amendments.

Abstract

< Introduction ɮ)>

< Study Background ɯ)>

< Motivation ɯ.1)>

< Achievement ɯ.2)>

< Alienation ɯ.3)>

< Quality ɯ.4)>

< Design Research ɰ)>

< Trustworthiness for Provisions ɰ.1)>

< Methods ɱ)>

< Sample Population ɱ.1)>

< Methods Collection Data ɱ.2)>

< Data Procedures Analysis ɱ.3)>

< Outcomes ɲ)>

< of Analysis Attitudes ɲ.1)>

< Quality Education towards Strategies Counselling ɲ.2)>

< - factors workshop Teacher?s ɲ.3)>

< Implications ɳ)>

< Bibliography ɴ)>

< Appendices ɵ)>

Questionnaire

Interview Schedule

Interview Sample Sheet

Sample Transcript Summary

Sample Interview - Tape

F) Sample file of "cut-and paste" methodology for organising sample data.


 

 

Appendix 1B POSITION JUSTIFICATION

In this appendix I shall be examining the starting position that "factors leading to black underachievement continue to exist". In the dissertation I am not focussing on this starting position but want to consider the development of individual strategies for promoting achievement. I believe that this emphasis is not dodging the issue. For me the problem of research and study in this area has been the focus on the need to establish that there is black

underachievement. Based on my experience I would contend that anyone who has taught in multi-ethnic schools would accept that there is black underachievement. As I stated in my professional autobiography "Subjectively a teacher judges the intelligence of students and uses that judgement to exact standards from the students. In my view there was clear evidence for underachievement - and racism had to be in part a cause". Further, this black underachievement has continued since the issue was raised so strongly in the 70's and forcibly in the early 80's. Aspects of the factors leading to the underachievement may have changed but the actual underachievement is still a major problem. As part of my Analysis of Findings in chapter 6, I will examine what I call a baseline school, primarily to determine whether my assessment of the situation in schools is adequate. As a corollary to that examination, I found that factors leading to underachievement do continue to exist, although they have changed in time. This theme of the change in the struggle frequently came up in the case study interviews I carried out, and, throughout, the interviewees did not see any difference in underachievement.

 

My main reason for accepting that the position of black underachievement in schools has not changed is based on a political perspective and a political evaluation developing from that perspective. I shall present this viewpoint even though I would accept it is not academic justification. Working in a capitalist system there is a need to exploit a working-class ie cheaper labour. Colonialism and neo-colonialism are different aspects of the same political force where capitalism drives its interests into exploiting black people of the Third World. In the UK this force wants to increase its profits by keeping down wages, and one of the mechanisms it uses to divert the focus of the working-class is racism in its many forms. Again an analysis of this aspect of racism is not part of this dissertation but suffice it to say that there is not the political will to remove scapegoat racism. For a fuller discussion on the relationship between racism and colonialism please see part 5 of my professional autobiography (LINK), specifically where I tried to justify the inclusion of a section on colonialism as part of a racial awareness training.

 

As discussed below official government approaches to the question of black achievement are fundamentally stuck in a battle to establish the contention that black people are under-achievers in UK education. Fundamentally the reason that I think the British situation is still in the realms of establishing the contention is the lack of willingness of the government to tackle the prevailing climate of racism that exists in the UK. For this reason I feel there is a willingness to establish the contention but not a willingness to provide adequately financed solutions. Working in government-funded projects carried out on this issue was never adequately financed yet when the Tories decided through the Baker plan and others to apparently radically alter education as a whole there was finance for those parts of education they wanted to promote. Cosmetic applications of interest in the issue such as the Ofsted report are never meant to do more than assuage the attacks of the black lobby, and to act as public peace offerings when justifiable racial tensions spill out into actual violence.

 

In fact there is a political mechanism used which indicates the validity of the starting position, and that is the continuing political need to establish that underachievement exists. For the last 20 years, the UK government has commissioned various reports to examine the position of underachievement. I shall examine in a little detail conclusions from these reports, but over 20 years that position has not substantially changed. This validates the starting position in two ways. Firstly the reports are stating that there continues to be black underachievement. Secondly it shows that, although many educationalists have stated that there is an issue to be dealt with, the government continues to finance reports that try to establish the problem rather than finance projects that will try to overcome the problem. Again as I stated in Part 5 of my professional autobiography (LINK), "If the political direction of the government is not strongly active in fighting racism then the UK will continue to practice racial disadvantage. With a Tory government that turns to a policy of repatriation as a vote-winner, and a Labour party whose vote analysis is determining its policy, there is little likelihood that the racist tide will be countered at government direction - it is more likely to be swelled". I feel this is sufficient to establish the lack of political will concerning the need to overcome racism, during interviews many referred to a changing political perspective, a change in the practice of racism but not a change in the racism itself.

 

 

Prejudice + Power = Racism

 

This word equation was part of the racism awareness training I carried out. Fundamentally what it is alluding to is that it is not the prejudices that are particularly important. It is not pleasant to know that a person doesn't like black people but individual dislike is not a serious problem but if that person then runs a company and then does not employ black people, his power to influence the lives of black people starts to come into play. If a large number of employers have these employment prejudices then their combined power leads to racism. In an egalitarian society a government would seek to redress such employment injustices.

 

It is not simply in employment that such prejudices exist but throughout important aspects of life such as housing etc (please see the Policy Studies Institute 5-yearly reports on Black and White Britain for a continued statistical analysis of the face of UK racism). People with prejudices hold the power within UK society, and government failure to enact sufficiently powerful to eradicate these practices points to the lack of political will because these people with prejudices are also voters.

 

Rampton Swann and Ofsted

 

Let us examine references from the three main government-commissioned reports on black underachievement:-

Rampton (1981)

Swann (1985)

Ofsted (1996)

Please note that the years these reports were published span and the timescale I am considering.

I want to begin by examining Rampton(1981), then Swann(1985), and then complete the situational analysis by examining the Ofsted report (1996). In the preface (Rampton p1) the Rampton report describes a recommendation of the parliamentary Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration. It recommended "as a matter of urgency the government (should) institute a high level independent inquiry into the causes of the underachievement of children of West Indian origin in maintained schools and the remedial action required". Therefore the government has accepted prior to the publication of Rampton that there was black underachievement. Further, I claim little has been done on the "remedial action required", in fact the very use of the term remedial causes concern in me as a teacher because remedial departments in practice focus their attention on low ability and discipline problems but black underachievement is across all abilities. The stigma attached to an approach described as remedial would be hard to overcome.

 

In the interim report's introduction Rampton (p3) stated that "From the evidence we have obtained ....., and from our visits and discussions up and down the country, we are convinced that West Indian children as a group are indeed underachieving in relation to their peers."

 

How important is it to look at the factors leading to underachievement? Back in 1981 Rampton's point 7 in the Evidence for Underachievement stated that "We have met a group of West Indians, currently studying in higher education, all of whom said that they had faced particular obstacles and difficulties in the course of their education which they had had to overcome to reach higher education. We hope for our main report to be able to look into these difficulties and the particular circumstances which have led to these and other West Indians to be academically successful" Rampton [p10].

 

In Swann Ch 3 Annex E there is "Revised Research Proposed on "Academically Successful Black Pupils" submitted by the Research and Statistics Branch of the Inner London Education Authority", but in my research I could find no evidence of anything coming of this (see letter in appendix 1C to support this). And in the Ofsted report of 1996 they don't even attempt to continue this theme. So effectively government-funded committees have not looked into the "difficulties and particular circumstances" referred to on Rampton page 10.

 

So in the most significant government reports on the achievement of these students, not one committee has actually analysed the factors which have led to success amongst some of these people. How can teachers possibly build success amongst these students when there has been no serious governmental research into the factors that lead to success? As Rampton, at government committee level, flagged in 1981 the urgent need for research into these factors, one can only assume that there is not sufficient government will to help Afro-Caribbean students to be successful, even to this day in 1998. At a time when teachers are under serious stress in their normal daily professional duties, absence of governmental guidelines to focus on this matter is a serious omission. Equally the lack of government funding to complete research such as that suggested in Swann Ch 3 Annex E is significant. In this context the statement in "The Context for the Review" in the Ofsted report [p 1] is a serious understatement. "More than a decade has passed since the last major review of the educational experiences and achievements of ethnic minority pupils. .... During this period, issues of race and equal opportunity have tended to slip from policy agendas; this review demonstrates the need for this to change". I don't find this very forceful considering the seriousness of the issue especially when the report later states that "in some areas there is a growing gap between the achievements of African Caribbean pupils and their peers"[p2].

 

In fact as a way forward on the issue of addressing the way racism affects the achievement the Programme for Action Ch 4 Rampton [pp 70-86] would still be appropriate with suitable amendments to names of organisations or government. In Rampton Ch2 "Factors contributing to Underachievement" we have a detailed contemporaneous analysis of the circumstances that lead to the cycle of underachievement amongst these students. Although this was obviously an important analytical stage at the time we must move on from there. But I contend that all that has happened is that this analysis has become part of the syndrome of "excuses for failure", and that no programme has been enacted that could be described as a programme that would give "reasons for success".

 

In Rampton's introduction (p3 Item 3) "the West Indian's initial response was one of suspicion and cynicism - suspicion about why their children had been singled out for particular attention, and cynicism about whether anything worthwhile would actually emerge from our work since their views had already been expressed on a number of occasions, notably to the Select Committee, and little action had resulted. Our response was to point out that the attention being given to West Indian children was a direct result of the concern originally voiced by West Indians and that our intention was to make practical recommendations which might be taken to help West Indian children to reach their full potential." I would like to ask the Committee now whether the West Indian cynicism was founded in the light of 16 years hindsight, and whether they feel duped by promises made to them, and whether they feel the promises they made have been kept. Although positive advances can be described the fundamental position is no better than that which existed prior to Rampton, and it could possibly be considered worse.

 

To conclude the position justification I contend that the political will is not there to remove racism in UK society, and in education this shows itself by continued underachievement amongst black students: I have tried to show this by a brief consideration of the three government-commissioned reports. This dissertation is concerned with strategies for overcoming this underachievement so I have not pursued in detail justifications for this position. I have made reference, particularly in the discussion on the baseline school, as to the changing nature of the factors leading to the underachievement, and many of the interviewees considered this at my prompting so I would rather let them speak. On to the strategies!!!

 

Appendix 1C Research Not Found Ė Support Letter

 

During the research I wanted to check out whether any research had been carried out by ILEA as per their recommendations concerning studying high black achievers. Jean Jolly, head librarian at Northern College, wrote back to me the following on 25/8/97 at 12.41.11:-

ďHi Bill,

Re the ILEA reference in the Swann report. To try to follow it up, I checked International Eric, which contains British education Index, to follow up any articles written about the report which might mention the intention to do further research, I checked the bibliographi9es of books on multi-cultural education published post-Swann, to see if there was any mention there. I checked a set of ILEA catalogues which I had kept even though ILEA dismantled years ago, because we often get references to things that they published. I tried the British National Bibliography which records all material deposited via copyright, and nothing there. I tried on the Internet using COPAC which is a Union catalogue of a number of University Catalogues but with nil results. I think I tried some other places too but canít put names to them just now. Basically I had hope that if the work had proceeded, it would have been mentioned in a later text and that even if I hadnít found it, it may have cropped up in the wide reading you have set yourself. I think that a cautious statement that to your knowledge the work either didnít proceed or had to be disbanded along with the ILEA should be OK." I found nothing!!

 

Appendix 1D Personal Biopic

 

This dissertation grew out of ideas that I studied in my professional autobiography (please see LINK). In the autobiography I referred to parts of my personal history, and included a CV. Here is a short personal biopic of relevant parts:

Sept 77 - June 85 Taught in a Brixton comprehensive.

Sept 87 Ė Dec 92 Taught in a Hove comprehensive

Jan 93 Ė Apr 99 Taught in a Botswana secondary school in Francistown

For further relevant details please see my professional autobiography (LINK).

 


 

Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW

 

Section 2.1 MOTIVATION Ė ACHIEVEMENT

 

Understanding the nature of achievement is not as easy as populist journalists might pretend. Were I to describe my qualifications outside academic circles, people might describe me as having "achieved" yet within academic circles I might be considered to have failed. When I consider those same qualifications I don't consider myself a success academically because I don't feel that I worked well. Yet at the time I was satisfied because all I wanted to do from an early age was to get a degree. But when I described the apathetic scenario of getting a degree to my grandmother in early adolescence, it brought her to tears and she had to leave the room because as a teacher she thought it was a waste. Throughout my life I found my qualifications adequate and a suitable passport, until recently I decided I would like to teach teachers. Then the fact that I had not completed an M Sc course in 1973 to a sufficient level to qualify for a dissertation meant that I had not achieved. But at that time my decision was reasonable because I wanted to concentrate on my new career; as it happened that career did not come to fruition. Yet now I am studying for an M Ed.

 

I think there is one clear conclusion from the above paragraph, achievement is not an objective reality. My qualifications are measurably defined ie degree, A levels etc, but their meaning as a measure of achievement is an individual one. This initial discussion is talking about achievement in measurable terms - exam qualifications, but what happens when we start to consider achievement in other terms? Let me again reflect personally. I began teaching because I had searched briefly in other professions, and I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. After a while in teaching I decided that job satisfaction was not enough, and I began to seek social and spiritual reward, and a bit later on I began to seek political justification for my existence. Then I decided that I wanted to work abroad, to travel to see different parts of the world, yet I was still teaching. Now I find that I am concerned about material wealth for my old age, and financial reward is a primary consideration. I would claim that all decisions were carefully thought out, and not precipitant, but substantively my perspective on my achievement at being a teacher has changed drastically whilst the job has been constant.

 

So again the question of achievement is a variable, one could almost say that the level of achievement depends on how the individual perceives it.

 

But even then that is not enough because we don't live in isolation. Therefore we also have to consider the question of achievement as others see it. For example is earning vast amounts of money an achievement, yet others measure that as success of a sort. Others might claim that as a teacher you cannot be a success in your early 40's unless you are at least a deputy head. In Africa men are measured by the size of their families, if you have no children you cannot be a success. I have also heard a man measure himself as a success because his children have grown up and have jobs. These measures of achievement are social by nature.

 

I therefore see the question of achievement as a yin-yang of motivation-achievement, you cannot have achievement without understanding the motivation. And yet motivation is not necessarily enough. If I want to be a teacher is that enough? Not really, because there are so many other factors in life finance, family, comfort, old age/survival etc. Achievement and motivation balance their acts throughout life - maybe that is an axiom?

 

In appendices 2A and 2B on Theories of Motivation and Theories of Achievement, I have briefly examined some of the current theories of motivation and achievement from "Psychology and the Teacher by Child". Basically I found no pattern except what is summed up by Child when he describes misapplied theory as giving some psychological indication. "Long periods of unstructured, unguided, "accidental" practice in the classroom are wasteful, frustrating and unnecessary. The gravest disservice to our young would be to transmit, by default, the idea that learning does not require personal effort and sacrifice" [p48]. Well in my view we have committed that gravest disservice but that disservice has been committed by society and not by the tinkerings of discovery learning or teaching methods however misguided some may be. Don't blame the teachers and teaching methods when students come to school with such poor attitudes to learning.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that all the possible motivations referred to in appendix 2A have their place in an understanding of individuals motivation in education but in my view they are missing the fundamental motivation because they are not trying to reflect on the practice holistically. Learning itself is the fundamental motivation, it is the natural order. As babies we have instincts to learn, and then as we grow older we learn. We have survival instincts, we learn how to survive. In early childhood we learn behaviour through experimentation and reward Ė the reward of parental love. We are not capable of not learning, we experience, we analyse, we learn. The question is not how do we motivate students to learn but how have we removed the motivation that students are born with?

 

The problem is clearly linked with achievement. If we accept that learning is a fundamental human motivation then what are we learning for? Simplistically speaking we are learning for life. We are not born with a desire to learn maths, but if we find that we have ability in maths at school then we get encouraged by thoughts of achievement of various sorts. These achievements could be getting exam passes, passes leading to jobs, financial reward, money to bring up the family, and somewhere mixed in with all those possible achievements might even be a desire to do maths because you enjoy it. In life we cannot see motivation and achievements in isolation we have to consider the holistic position, how does it relate to learning for life? I would claim that subconsciously students are learning for life, and that is the perspective they bring with them to school.

 

If this theory is reasonably accurate we ought to be able to say that our education system should be in a good position. Students come to that system with a desire to learn but anyone who works in that system especially with secondary students knows that they are not dealing with students motivated to learn. One could therefore argue that learning is not the fundamental motive of humans, but I think there are strong indications against this. Firstly at secondary school teachers always enjoy the fresh spark that year 7ís bring into the classroom. OK it doesnít last long but it is there. I see this as a strong pointer to the notion that learning is fundamental, and that our education system drives it out of us.

 

What drives it out of us? At teacher training college I was imbued with the idea that education was self-realisation (or Maslowís self-actualisation) Ė the leading out of the Latin root meaning, but when I started teaching the question of being part of self-realising a student never entered into it. I came to realise that the best I could do for the students was to provide them with exam passes. Why? The higher the level of qualifications the greater the opportunities in jobs, thus allowing the individual the greater opportunity for self-realisation through their employment and the ensuing advantages of a fulfilling career with financial rewards, family, position etc. In other words the ideal of self-realisation was subdued under the notion that providing the opportunity for self-realisation was the limitation of my position as a teacher.

 

Now one could argue that the school is the place for teaching life skills ie learning for life, but in practice this doesnít work and needs a rethink. By the time the students are old enough to start to comprehend life skills, they have also become aware of the importance of exam passes, and that because life skills donít provide passes they are not interested. This is the logic students apply even though from the point of view of learning for life, life skills ought to interest them.

 

So again you might argue that the contention that learning is a fundamental motivation is errant. However at the same time that students are apathetic at secondary schools they continue to learn about life but this is life dominated by peer acceptance. They learn about fashion, music, even drugs, they pursue hobbies and leisure interests; in fact the level of achievement many students reach in these non-academic subjects is often very high eg drop-out computer hackers! So I am claiming that students are motivated to learn but in practice many learn outside of the classroom situation.

 

I think the apathy exhibited in schools is a function of the way that school achievement fits in with the social structure, it is a function of achievement. UK society does not have a high correlation between school achievement and social achievement. Certainly for those students who go on to university social success, in terms of career, family etc, are usually achieved, but the majority of students are not capable of reaching university so school has little meaning. In the Hove Comprehensive where I taught (please see Appendix 1D), many students didnít work because Daddy would provide them with a job in the family business anyway, so why work? If education only provides qualifications and not life skills, then one canít argue with these students.

 

Summarising this section on motivation-achievement I would claim that there is a fundamental motivation of learning for life that is part of the natural order. The education system fails to capitalise on this fundamental drive because it provides very little in terms of life skills. It only provides qualifications for the higher ability students, and for these few per-cent the UK education system is a success and it relates to their motivation of learning for life.

 

Black Underachievement

 

I have tried to demonstrate that learning for life is a fundamental human drive but that the UK education system is so far away from satisfying that fundamental drive it leads to dissatisfaction and apathy amongst the students. What happens to those students who are denied achievement in the system? They must divert their learning for life into other arenas, and this is certainly true of black students.

 

Every black student knows of relatives who have high qualifications but do not have jobs. They know of intelligent people in their community who are considered ignorant by the dominant culture. They know of people who have poor housing or who are refused housing, they grow up recognising racism all around them. As Swann 6.1 [p36] describes it "we believe that racism is an insidious evil which, for the sake of future unity and stability of our society, must be countered. A clear distinction can be drawn between what can be seen as "individual" racism and the broader and more pervasive "climate" of racism and within that the way institutions and established practices and procedures may serve to reinforce, perpetuate and extend this". At the same time 10 years later the Ofsted report [p78] avoids describing UK society as racist, and, whilst claiming that there have been advances, describes the following aspects of racism in terms of education:-

 

"The gap is growing between the highest and lowest achieving ethnic groups in many LEAís. African-Caribbean young people, especially boys, have not shared equally in the increasing rates of achievement; in some areas their performance has actually worsened.

ďThe sharp rise in the number of exclusions from school affects a disproportionately large number of black pupils.

ďEven when differences in qualifications, social class and gender are taken into account ethnic groups do not enjoy equal chances of success in their applications to university."

 

When you consider the change towards cosmeticism and sugar-coating that is the presentation of UK ad-man society, this description of the current education system and black achievement is saying little different to Swannís more realistic assessment that there is individual and climatic racism to be encountered. Therefore if learning for life means learning that you are going to have to learn to live in a society with both individual and climatic racism, then it is even more clear that black people cannot possibly exhibit the educational motivation that I have described as part of the natural order of humans.

 

When you consider this context of a racist society and what students have to look forward to in their adult life, then it is little surprise that they lack the motivation to achieve. Ofsted [p10] describes that "under-achievement refers to differences in the average attainments of different groups, it says nothing about the specific potential or achievements of any individual pupil". This Ofsted definition makes it clear that it is not talking about individuals but an "average", and this defines the context of this research. I am not attempting to analyse racism or trying to prove that it continues to exist, I want only to provide individuals with equal opportunities. As underachievement continues, in Ofstedís average sense, this does not mean that the individual has to suffer, the individual can still achieve whilst the average still represents underachievement.

 

But are we providing these individuals with the correct approaches to the education system in order to allow them to achieve? In section 2.2 I shall be examining these strategies to help the individual.

 

Section 2.2 STRATEGIES

Introduction

In public office the UK position is still in the realm of financing research to establish that there is a problem of underachievement (I believe they don't wish to address the issue of UK racism nor to finance a programme to counter that racism). In the last section I used an Ofsted "definition" of underachievement as an average in describing underachievement, accepting the notion of an average does not prevent us from developing individual strategies Ė the purpose of this research.

In chapter 2 of the Rampton report, the chapter entitled "factors contributing to underachievement", many causes were given but "that which was most forcefully and frequently put forward by West Indians themselves was racism" [Rampton p11]. Racism, in my view, is the cause of underachievement, but it is utopian to claim that eradicating racism is a solution. Over the las t 20 years many efforts have been made by some very good individuals to overcome racism, but the statistical average of underachievement I would claim is still a reality (see Ofsted report]. I believe it is only by individual effort that underachievement can be defeated rather than waiting for utopia.

"There is considerable evidence that discrimination, both intentional and unintentional, can have an adverse effect on how a West Indian child sees hims elf and his ethnic group in relation to majority white society which can in turn have a bearing on his motivation and achievement" [Rampton p14]. Yes I agree there is such evidence but my approach is to say how can we reactivate the natural motivation for learning, and therefore the achievement, despite that discrimination.

Rampton [p15] then describes a cycle of cumulative disadvantage discussed in a Government White paper "Racial Discrimination" in 1975:- " ... relatively low paid or low status jobs for the first generation of immigrants go hand in hand with poor overcrowded living conditions and a depressed environment. If, for example, job opportunities, educational facilities, housing and conditions are all poor, the next generation will grow up less well equipped to deal with the difficulties facing them. The wheel then comes full circle, as the second generation finds themselves trapped in poor jobs and poor housing." Again this is not a solution, cumulative disadvantage must be recognised as a factor affecting achievement but we cannot wait for this cycle of disadvantage to disappear as it is as entrenched in UK society as the racism. So therefore we need to look for a solution that is independent of this cycle of disadvantage. Unfortunately to be fair to UK practices I want to quote from Donna Ford's book "The .... stories of many Black students ... have not been positive in education. This is 1996, and .... there is no such work on gifted, potentially gifted, or underachieving Black students" [Ford p ix]. My interpretation of this statement is that she is saying overcoming Ramptonís cycle of disadvantage is long overdue in the States as well. We must begin to develop positive strategies for dealing with this issue of underachievement amongst black students, not just gifted people, and not remain static in the polemical graveyard of debate, a graveyard that is manipulated by the right wing to maintain stasis. What I am supporting is the approach concerned with Reversing Underachievement among Gifted Black Students - the title of her book.

 

Strategy 1 - Racism Awareness Strategy

I maintain there is an industry of excuse-makers. In the Rampton section on pre-school provision, the report [p15] states that "a disproportionate number of West Indian women are forced to go out to work because of their economic circumstances ..... the percentage of West Indian men employed on night shifts is almost double that of white males and the incidence of white males and the incidence of one parent families is higher for West Indians than whites." These sorts of pressures on West Indian families are indeed great, without financial security, proper meaningful non-exploitative employment life is indeed difficult. But to then offer these as excuses for students not to work creates a further problem. In Africa the students have cried out for the opportunities to educate themselves. In South Africa there were many demonstrations by school students during the apartheid regime simply demanding the opportunity to be educated. Here in Botswana (for a biopic please see appendix 1D), the relative poverty of the students compared to the students in the UK is significantly lower, yet the students go to school and try to work in general. One parent families are not even discussed as a social problem as it appears that the majority of children are brought up in one parent family environments Ė although often extended one way or another.

It is difficult to draw comparisons between vastly different cultures with great historical and financial differences but what can be said is that there is evidence in practice throughout the world that these factors can be overcome by black people.

It could be argued that the cumulative burden of all these disadvantages placed on the shoulders of these young black children is what leads to their underachievement, and I would fully agree that that cumulative burden is very heavy. But what I am claiming is this, with the correct attitude students can deal with all these burdens. It must certainly be better for these children to attempt to cope with these burdens than to grow up in a society that offers them excuses for failure rather than reasons for success.

And the society I am referring to in general is white society, white liberals who see the excuses for failure rather than promoting the reasons for success. Some black people in my experience also offer the excuses for failure but in general I found that the black people I was working with and many of the parents continually promoted the approach which demanded success whatever the burdens of a racist society on the backs of their children.

I believe very strongly that we should be advising teachers to look for these positive approaches, and support the demands of the parents. Parenting is a difficult job, and there is no clear right or wrong way of doing it, for example out here in Botswana corporal punishment is accepted in the schools and at home. In my view the students here have a better attitude to work than in the UK but some would argue that it is not clear. In the UK I knew of some West Indian parents who beat Ė some used a belt. I knew of teachers who would not write the truth about the children because they feared that parents might beat due to what they wrote. Those same parents who were beating the children loved them, what right have the teachers to impose their own views on the parenting by not presenting the parents with the full truth. Social workers have been guilty of the same sort of thing, withdrawing black children into care due to beating because it is the belief of the social worker that beating is wrong. I am not defending excessive corporal punishment but there is no clear evidence of the rightness of one system or another, it is the choice of a good parent.

Underlying all the discussion of all these social factors of racism, cumulative disadvantage, family structure, and cultural difference is one definite condition, and that is confusion. Black students must be confused. These students are given all these excuses as to why they are going to fail so even though they might want to succeed, the societal approach almost demands a failure.

But many black students do not fail. I have taught many black students whose personal history and excuses for failure would have burdened me into prison but they were successful at school and went on to university. (This can be considered a success although we then must consider issues such as quality, employment, self-perception and others.)

What are the strengths of these students? How can we promote these strengths in those students, how can we develop those strengths in others? These are the real issues of promoting equal opportunities in education, not a verbal/legal framework that the system has no real intention of trying to enforce. This is why I am particularly interested in work on gifted black children in the US. By the very fact that they discuss counselling of gifted black children means that aspects of their education system in dealing with this particular problem are way in advance of the attempts at recognition of underachievement highlighted in Rampton, Swann and the Ofsted report.

The fundamental deficiencies of the UK educational model are exemplified in the marginalisation of black students suffering under the pressures of racism. Suppose a black child is determined to overcome the shackles that racism places on her, and then she determines a strategy of working at school for a better job. If that child has the strength to hold to that tool for success then she ought to be rewarded in the system, but in practice that child will know of educationally-qualified black people who do not have jobs. This is a deficiency in the model where good qualifications should lead to jobs. The only rationale that can be offered to such a student is that her chances of a job are increased by qualifications. Is this rationale enough when all her life she is hearing of the racism in society? Therefore she cannot have confidence in an arbitrary interview process where the practices could be racist. So she cannot have confidence in the rationale of increased chances, yet to be honest this can be the only strategy to offer.

To summarise this strategy concerning racism awareness, it is a movement away from a strong anti-racist approach with students. Is it essential to continually provide young people with the continuing burden of the racist reality? Allow these students to learn about the racism for themselves in private, and then in their adult life. Each student is different and at different stages in their lives they become aware of the issue and then need counselling to cope with this. This will come mainly from the family, but it can also come from educational counsellors. But teachers have an important role in this. Teachers, in my view, should never deny the existence of racism, Ramptonís cycle of disadvantage continues to exist. But is it necessary in a maths lesson to have a lecture on racism awareness? A sound byte Ė do not deny, do not burden but counsel to achieve.

 

Strategy 2 - Performance-Oriented Model Strategy

"A common misconception is that students would not be underachievers if they would "just try harder", "pay attention" and "listen"" Ford [p1]. I don't see this as a misconception, and my disagreement with Donna Ford and others over this issue is fundamental in terms of the deficiencies of the education model we use.

Firstly it is easy to try harder for a brief period of time but to maintain a permanent attitude of trying harder is very difficult but in my view required. Paying attention is also significant, and true listening, listening with an open mind as to being receptive to learn requires an attention and concentration that is difficult to possess. So these three attitudes, Ford encompasses in her underachievement misconception, are essential for learning and so overcoming underachievement. It is attitudes such as these three that I would like to see students focus on in order to be successful.

But instead their attention is focussed on other concerns. "For gifted black students, reversing underachievement may be especially difficult if it is related to social barriers, such as racism; to environmental barriers, such as poverty; or to educational barriers, such as inappropriate curriculum" Ford [p2]. Donna Ford's book is concerned with Gifted students but, because of the "average" approach, I maintain that the black underachievement I am referring to applies to all black students, Therefore this underachievement manifests itself as a general lowering of black educational standards throughout however it is measured. Now all of these concerns are legitimate and need to be addressed but are students the ones to address them? Is it relevant for young inexperienced minds who have not as yet learnt self-control to be expected to deal with and cope with such complex questions?

In appendix 2C on Public Schools, I demonstrated that a clear performance orientation is required in those institutions. In my view this is for the simple reason that the stage of psychological or concept development of school students does not equip them with the mental tools for dealing with detailed life questions.

So an important question in terms of achievement that I want to consider is this, how many of these social-environmental-curriculum factors are actually important to the students when they are at school? Or are they made important by the continual reference to them from the media and community activists?

"In general strategies for reversing underachievement must address academic skills deficits (such as test-taking and study skills) and include curricular changes (such as multicultural education) and instructional changes (such as accommodation of learning styles). They should also include increased training among school personnel in gifted and multicultural education and increased family involvement" Ford [p63]. As discussed in appendix 2D on finance and disruptive students, to suggest these changes is not practical as they are not financially viable.

I am maintaining that our approach should be to focus on the academic as exemplified by the three attitudes of working harder, paying attention and listening. This focus should put the emphasis on the student taking a performance-oriented approach ignoring or fighting off the impact of racism in terms of the socio-economic factors, unsuitable curricula and environmental factors. Although Ford is not using this quote in this context, she does state on p 68 that "it is therefore important to focus on gifted Black students' cognitive strengths by teaching them how positive thinking can reduce their emotional upsets". Black students should be helped to "realize that their intense feelings are not (necessarily) caused by negative events but by the manner in which they personalize, perceive and interpret those events" Ford [p68]. I want to take this approach further, use the greater awareness that comes from being in conflict to perceive these events as part of racism and then move them to one side whilst you focus on your academic studies. Use their greater cognitive strengths to focus (positively think about) on academic progress, allow consideration of the wider racist issues to occur outside the school environment and to be carried out in a positive and constructive fashion. "Approaches have to be learning-oriented rather than treatment-oriented. Ultimately we cannot place the responsibility for change directly on the shoulders of students" Ford [p80].

Above I described an approach of focussing on hard work, paying attention and listening. This approach goes against the current educational direction of child-centred policies and children's rights where criticism lays the blame on teachers rather than on the failures of the students and the failure of society to motivate. In the public schools these policies and rights are protected by the promise of reward in adult life, in the state sector they are implemented during school life with drastic educational consequences. What are a child's rights when they are too young to know what they want?

When considering education and adult life, the keynote is jobs and job skills. Now some argue that jobs are controlled by white people, and in the majority of cases in the West this cannot be disputed. So from the position of colour it is a racist issue. But do you want to educate for a job or not? In appendix 2E on my emotional reaction I describe a dilemma I have with the following argument, please note this dilemma. I completely agree with Donna Ford's analysis that black people's skills are being under-utilised, and that many skills gained in adversity would qualify as aspects of intelligence. When those aspects of intelligence are not required for jobs are you benefiting the students by encouraging those skills in place of job skills? In practice it has the opposite effect. Rather than educating for achievement in terms of qualifications and then jobs, you are educating for disillusionment when those intelligent people do not get the rewards. The realms of revolution are political. I f we want to overthrow capitalism, let's form a vanguard party, create the conditions for revolution and start a war. If not then let's help all our students make the best of the existing system and get them the rewards of the system.

Let me try to exemplify the position I have taken. "J E Gay (1978) noted that manifestations of giftedness in Black students include the ability to quickly pick up racial attitudes and practices, effectiveness at reading behavioural cues and their implications, independence, originality, large vocabulary, and multiple interests" Ford [p15].

"In general Black students prefer to respond with gestalts rather than atomistic responses; they prefer inferential reasoning to deductive or inductive reasoning; they focus on people rather than things; they have a keen sense of justice and are quick to analyze perceived injustices; they lean toward altruism; they prefer novel approaches and freedom (particularly relative to music, clothing, speaking); and they favor nonverbal communication modalities" Ford [p15].

"Low socio-economic status, minority, and underachieving students may demonstrate their abilities best or more often in non-school settings. They are often socially competent and aware. These students may not perform well in school, but they are proficient outside of school. In the real world they excel in an area of interest. These students know how to adapt to the environment, which is a key characteristic of intelligence" Ford [p17].

I could have chosen many similar quotes from the book, all of which point to admirable qualities that black people possess. I do not wish to dispute the validity of these statements but I want to consider them in a job context only. But I say only, yet for survival in our world some would consider this the most important context. Many of the above attributes are clearly beneficial within a job context but clearly there are some attributes which do not fit that environment. The workplace is governed by its own rules, its own disciplines, all of which need to be adhered to. An employer will choose someone who demonstrates qualities inside school rather than outside. Many employment situations require adherence to the line, the job discipline rather than independence, creativity and originality. Communication within the job context is an essential skill - report writing, communication within the chain of command. Often in business a sense of justice is a hindrance when the so-called business ethic requires a harsh profit-orientated strategy rather than a form of altruism. Although Ford did not in any way suggest this, if we were to take the above quotes as being mission statements for ideal educational establishments that education would be in a direction opposite to that of the job market, and the skills required therein.

As I stated above I consider there are many other examples within her work of statements which are clearly descriptors of intelligence but not necessarily descriptors of employment skills. If there is a link between education and the world of work, it is that qualifications and a good school record provide you with a platform for entry into the interview process if not into the job itself. Attributes, as described above, are positive but not enough to get into the interview process. On top of this when you add racist stereotypes such as non-conformity, ill-discipline, disrespect and aggression, then the chances for successful entry into the job market are limited.

I have difficulty deciding on the balance of this issue and shall try to investigate this as part of my dissertation. In theory as an outsider (white person) I can make statements that black students should be encouraged to focus more on working harder, paying more attention and listening. But I am describing this in the context of not experiencing the racism myself so in practice my position might be totally unacceptable due to the intensity of their experience of racism. I might even be considered a racist for putting forward this position of focussing on academic work irrespective, when there are all these other racial pressures placed on black students. Therefore I must ask my interviewees their reaction to my stance.

To summarise I propound a strategy of working harder, paying attention and listening Ė the performance-oriented model. At the same time I am asking that the social focus of education be placed on this approach rather than opening the Pandoraís box of the adult reality of the experience of racism.

 

Strategy 3 - Cultural Pragmatic Strategy

 

"Daddy what's work?" The father answered "Billy, work is a big rock that you must push up to the top of the tallest mountain you ever saw. You sweat and struggle and strain, and finally you make it. Then you go home to rest. Only the next day, the rock is back on your desk!" [Potter pp 46-47] Developing an Understanding of the Effect of Culture on Achievement

I have no doubt at all that the question of culture is having serious impact on black achievement, but I have serious questions about the way it does and the way we can alleviate that impact. I have two great difficulties in continuing the analysis of this question. Firstly I am a white man discussing black culture - a culture that is obviously not my own. Secondly factors affecting achievement are very mixed, it is often convenient to label them as cultural - as being something beyond control to avoid facing the reality of changing the circumstances.

Let me begin by considering a view of the black African perspective on education. In appendix 2F on Botswana's "white" education I discussed how one African country accepts a model that in some ways disadvantages them. So if Africans can accept a model of disadvantage, until adults change it why can't UK black students be encouraged to work under the UK education system? Let me reiterate a point I made in appendix 2F, in Botswana the Batswana government are making the choice so we have another issue of adult black empowerment (racism in society).

 

There are certain indicators that can be drawn from an examination of the two education systems. Firstly it is not part of black culture not to be motivated in education, in my view in Botswana it is the reverse blacks in state education here are far better motivated than whites in state education in the UK. Secondly black students can follow a UK curriculum if they so choose, if they are so motivated. Thirdly black students can be educated for business if they so choose. But we are not dealing with Africans in education in Africa, we are dealing with blacks in education in the UK - and the US in some ways. Why can't the prevailing African mentality and motivation carry through to the UK system.

In appendix 2G on culture as an excuse for failure I pose further questions relating to culture, jobs, and examine the racist situation of the Rhodies and the Boers in Southern Africa where an exploiting work situation continues within limits. People are willing to work in all kinds of situations in differing cultures; this is not right, it is capitalism. How important is culture, is it so important that black people cannot work for capitalists? That is the question and that has to be a question answered by the interviewees? This is pragmatism not morality Ė survival through the wage packet.

By propounding the performance-oriented model it could be argued that I am asking for acceptance of a racist system at all costs, I could be accused of arguing for assimilation. I cannot categorically refute this accusation but I am claiming that the pragmatic approach which allows for material success in the workplace and cultural integrity in private has its merits. I would further argue that raising issues of assimilation can increase material and social disadvantage for those who then become unsure of what they are doing Ė especially in the young.

Let me begin with a quote from Lena Dominelli [p2] "Assimilationist ideologies require black people to accept white norms and mores as the standards for measuring social organisation and behaviour without conceding equality, no matter how successful black people are in living up to these expectations."

Let me firstly consider why the performance-oriented model might be considered assimilationist based on this quote, in doing this initially I shall use the terminology of black and white unwillingly. I am asking that black students focus on passing their exams by working harder, paying attention and listening. By the above quote from Dominelli exams would probably be described as white exams, furthermore the reason for the performance-oriented model is to gain qualifications to give one a better chance of getting a qualified job. In the above terms those jobs would be white. By working for those qualifications and by remaining in those jobs black people will be required to do things that would cause themselves cultural conflict, and by carrying out these actions black people could be seen as accepting white norms and mores. If the workplace practices are seen as white then the social organisation and behaviour of the workplace will be seen as white, and therefore marginalising the non-workplace situation of the black people. If black people are successful in living up to the expectations of qualifications and workplace, then they would be seen as being raceless - being white. The question of cultural equality would not be considered because those arguing would claim that the black people were at best being raceless - at worst white. As such there is no equality of culture because there is no cultural recognition.

All of the above arguments are predicated on the assumptions of terminology ie the assumptions concerning the terminology of black and white. If workplace practices and examinations are seen as white and this is then counterposed to black, then by those very definitions black people cannot possibly identify with the qualifications and the workplace. Therefore by the terminology the performance-oriented model has to be assimilationist.

Let me place the question of qualifications, employment and workplace practices in another context, and that context is wage slavery. We get qualified so that we can get a job so that we can feed our families. Do we choose to go to work? Personally no, I would not work if I had the money. Do I always get treated well at work? No. Do I have to do things which I think are wrong because my employer wants it that way. Yes. Why? Because it is right and fair - no! Because the employer pays the wages and I need the money to survive. For black people the issue is worse because at work they face issues of discrimination on a personal level from white employers - please see appendix 2H on assimilation and socialism for a fuller discussion.

Is this treatment a fair price to pay? I would say no, but I would say no for all of us - not just black people. Is the worse price paid by black people justifiable? Again from a moral point the answer is no but one of the premises of this dissertation is a recognition that racism is an objective factor. So the question has to be asked on a personal level, is the worse price that you have to pay as a black person worth it? And the only answers to this are individual.

But as educationalists we need to provide a situation where an individual can answer this question without bias. Where does the bias occur? "Gilroy, in There Ain't No Black, wants to locate blacks as falling historically outside the received versions of the nation-state by cultural racism and choosing to remain outside by choice" [Chrisman p54]. If we draw a parallel between received version of the nation-state and the business community - and these are not too different in the UK, then we begin to develop a bias. This bias is fuelled by populist approaches, based on assimilationist perceptions, that qualifications and jobs are part of the white system, and that blacks remain outside by choice.

If we can begin to recognise as a reality that working for a wage provides compromises faced by all people, and that it is worse for blacks, then black students might reach the end of the education mill with some qualifications. They can then join the world of work and then ask themselves the question "Is the worse price you have to pay as a black person worth it?"

In my view presenting young people who are still unqualified with the dilemma of assimilationism only makes matters worse for them when studying. Yes the issues must be addressed, adults must address them. Let the students get qualified and then they are in a position to choose. An unqualified young person has limited choice entering the job market, education is essentially about choice in adulthood.

What am I saying about black rights? And the answer is I am not sure. I have stated above my ideal position but idealism is not an answer to black people who have to suffer the indignities of racism on a daily basis and keep the money rolling in. The question of black rights is an individual decision for each black person. But we are discussing education and equal opportunities. If black people wait for a fair society they will wait beyond their lifetimes. As an educator I want to provide people with equal opportunities. I have no doubts at all that black people are not offered equal opportunities under UK education but equally they do not take what is offered. I want them to reach adulthood with the qualifications and an understanding of the employment situation, and a foot in the door of the interview process and then they can decide black rights or not. This is very pragmatic but that is my position.

There is another area of cultural assimilation and education that I have not discussed yet. And that is the question of the importance of education as a process of assimilation. White educators in the UK tend to view education very theoretically. If one describes schools as an examination factory then one is attacked. Do we educate the whole person, for a whole view of life in our society? It is my contention that we don't. There is no doubt however that the prevailing culture has an impact on the curriculum, academic and hidden, but again I have to question how important this impact is on other cultures. This again is not a question a white person can answer, but it is a question any person can pose. The answer has to be a question of degree, and it will differ depending on different people. So when legitimate concern is expressed about cultural assimilation through the education process, I have to ask how much and then how important? And if it is then used as an excuse for failure I have to ask again whether it is a sufficient excuse?

To summarise this strategy is a little difficult, as a sound byte it might be:- donít be cultural be pragmatic. Cultural issues take on an ill-defined form and young minds cannot always clarify the difference between cultural factors and others. Work at school to get a job and detach oneself from the cultural aspects and recognise that working for a capitalist system places compromises on us a ll. Examining the implications of assimilation in this context will be a part of the interview process as well as seeing how much education and its content has affected the interviewees from a cultural perspective.

 

Strategy 4 Ė Nigrescence Strategy

 

"Two decades ago Cross [1971] developed the first theory of its kind called the "Negro-to-Black Conversion" to explain the essence of racial identity for Blacks." [Ford 2 p410]. I want to begin with this because Ford repeatedly refers to this model, and it appears to me that this model has helped explain her own experience. I think it is important for white readers to listen to black peoples' description of being black, and although they cannot understand the experience at least they are aware. There is a tendency for white liberals to say that black people behave like this, or blacks should do this, but in reality we must listen and say "this black person said this was a description of how they experienced being black". We should not be attempting to put words into the mouths of black people although all people have the right to question especially in an academic forum.

 

For a full description of the model see Ford pp104-106, but much of it is covered here. It is a five-staged model:-

1)   Pre-encounter

2)   Encounter

3)   Immersion-Emersion

4)   Internalisation

5)   Internalisation-Commitment

 

"During this initial stage of identity development individuals view the world from a white frame of reference such that they think and behave in ways that negate their Blackness" [Ford 2 p410].

"During this second stage, Blacks want to be viewed as just "human beings" rather than associated with a racial group" [idem]

"This stage seems to be the antithesis of the pre-encounter stage. During this period of transition individuals actually adopt a new frame of reference. They struggle to rid themselves of an invisible identity and cling to all elements of Blackness. They cherish and glorify all that is black" [idem].

"At this stage of development the individual becomes more bicultural, pluralistic and non-racist (Cross, 1978). A calm, secure demeanour replaces tension, emotionality, and defensiveness (Cross, 1980). Internalized Blacks generally regard themselves positively" [idem].

"This final stage of racial identity development is distinguishable from the fourth stage, because the individual becomes more active politically to bring about change for other Blacks" [idem].

 

In line with my position of ignorance of the experience (stated above) it is my intention to accept this model as a description of black experience with two provisos. Firstly it is a model and "has been criticised for its simplicity" [idem]. But that does not invalidate it as a model, by their very nature models are simplistic to help explain, but as such generalisations have to be considered carefully. Secondly this is a model of US Blacks. In retrospect I can see such development having taken place amongst black people I knew, it might be interesting to examine research carried out by a black person on this model. It is my intention to examine this model in my interview process. It is my view that this model does not apply to Africans in African society although I can see certain relevance here (but that is another issue), after all it was intended as a model of black development in a white society.

 

I also want to state here one other concern about this model, it is a model of racial identity development. As such it does not discuss the question that I am raising which is the question of relative importance, the importance of culture and race, as opposed to gaining qualifications and job opportunities.

 

But whatever these provisos it is my intention to now work with this model as an expression of black experience.

 

I Think I Can See What She's Saying But ...

 

As stated above it is my intention to examine some of Ford's work in light of my questions of importance and priority concerning culture. At the end of this consideration I shall discuss her counselling strategies, which I feel have relevance to my overall dissertation. BUT I am concerned that some of her points qualify in the category of excuses for failure and I find this worrying. To help with context I should explain that Ford's work is also directed to counselling and the inadequacies of the gifted programme in the US for black students, but I feel the issues she raises have wider applications.

 

"Lindstrom and San Vant (1986) argued that gifted minority students find themselves between "a rock and a hard place" (p584) when the cultural expectation of their indigenous groups are in conflict with those of the dominant group. They quoted one gifted Black student who said "I had to fight to be gifted and then I had to fight because I am gifted"(p584). Another student stated "I'm not white and I'm not Black. I'm a freak" (p584)" [Ford 2 p409]. The student who is academically acceptable is not a freak, he has become subject to a negative cultural model. Academic success is inherent within black culture but with the focus on youth and hence those people in the Immersion-Emersion phase of growth this student is placed in conflict - feels s/he is a freak.

 

To use the negro-to-black model it appears that certain cultural definitions are being created in the Immersion-Emersion stage instead of the Internalisation-Commitment stage. In appendix 2I describing "Personal reactions to Lowest Common Denominator behaviour", I discussed negative aspects of youth culture I experienced. In Appendix 2J on Moral Peoplehood I discuss Fordham's peoplehood concept of supporting each other in adversity. I feel this survivalist consideration leads to accepting some of the immoral aspects of youth behaviour because they are their own. Accepting such behaviour, and putting forward the positive aspects of such behaviour as being attributes that society should mould itself around, is an inverted perspective. In part this is what I feel Ford does throughout, and I feel this worship of youth is a problem for society in the West in general. I think it adversely affects aspects of black culture greatly, especially losing the traditional respect for age.

 

Accepting this model and recognising the internalisation-commitment stage of this model as providing cultural leadership is important. Together with a reversion to respect for age, these two can only be good strategies. "Your mother" was the biggest insult when I was in Brixton. It was an attack on the mother, and black students literally fought to defend her honour. I see this as a perversion of the age-respect theme because it seemed that fighting only needed the excuse, in other words rooted in the culture is its own answers irrespective of whether whites respect their elders. Hold to cultural strengths could be a strategy, highlight these strengths and stop focussing on the weaknesses. Whites do not focus on the weaknesses, they ignore and try to forget them. According to the wealthy whites, the wealth and opulence of white society have developed from their ingenuity; centuries of slavery and exploitation are conveniently ignored.

 

What is needed is a cultural PR exercise. The media and certain members of the culture focus on the worse aspects, there needs to be a counter PR-culture where the Cosby show and others are seen as some form of norm and not decried because it does not depict the lowest denominator. Don't sweep away and ignore the poverty and resulting problems but don't say that it is the only culture. Black TV sitcoms usually focus on the more affluent, set this as the cultural norm and let the leaders state this whilst trying to work with the less fortunate - wealth-wise.

 

One issue to consider is the response to racial identity and the way it affects achievement - I am following the Negro-to-Black model as stated above. "Fordham argued that high-achieving Black students must assume a "raceless" persona if they wish to succeed academically. This racelessness occurs when they empty themselves of their culture believing that the door of opportunity will open if they stand raceless before it" [Ford 2 p410]. I believe that statements like this are at the root of the problem that I am trying to get at. There is no raceless persona for academic success in Africa. Black people study because they want success, they want a good job. In saying that black students require an attitude of racelessness for academic success Fordham is identifying academic success with being white, he is identifying the world of job opportunity with a white attitude, and he is therefore accepting as a cultural norm that blacks will fail because of their race. I therefore feel that this concept of racelessness is not helpful in consideration of the cultural position.

 

There is a type of raceless position that could be adopted, a position that would be better described as being detached from race. Although the curriculum is not 100% devoid of racial content, academic qualifications can be gained through a disciplined approach that says I have to pass the exams. Although some of the work introduces conflicts because of racism the majority can be passed through this disciplined academic approach. Why do I use the term detached from race? Because all the time that one is sitting, or revising for, an examination one is still a black person, a yellow person, a brown person or a white person. With a disciplined attitude one can detach oneself from the pressures of racism and racial identity and simply work for the exams. Having said this I know it is not easy but isn't working towards this approach more beneficial in the long run?

 

I am proposing a strategy that starts to see academic success as being detached from a position of racial identity. I would like to take this a stage further. If students can be encouraged to accept the internalisation and internalisation-commitment stages of the negro-to-black model then academic success can be part of that developmental model. However I have never worked with that model and I suspect that many students are stuck in the Immersion-Emersion stages - I can see comparisons with an adolescent rejection-of-the-system stage that I went through. But the internalisation and internalisation-commitment stages are approaches to encourage and work for as a strategy.

 

CULTURAL STRATEGIES

Having been critical of some of the developmental work that Ford uses, I feel that many of the strategies she offers are extremely positive.

It is quite clear that "the issue of race may be particularly important for gifted blacks in the Immersion-Emersion stage of identity development" [Ford2 p411]. By recognising this teachers can counsel strategies around this. These might include:-

If someone has reached the stage of internalisation-commitment, they will be polite and respectful as would any mature person. They would be racially aware but they will have a controlled rage as to the position of black people in society and that rage will be part of the driving force of their commitment. (Please see discussion on negromachy in appendix 2K.) The counselling strategy here is to ask the students to have a realistic perspective on the relationship between racial identity, academic success and job opportunities. After examining certain cultural issues with the students Ford suggests that "counsellors should work with these students on problems associated with academic success and upward mobility" [Ford2 p412]. "As Graves (1977) stated achieving a measure of success in society is, by and large, a far more difficult task for Blacks than it is for other Americans"[idem] - other British people.

 

To summarise strategy 4 would be to encourage counselling using the nigrescence model to help black students achieve. I will be asking interviewees about its applicability to them.

Section 2.3 CULTURE AND QUALITY EDUCATION

 

Pirsig [p226] "A real understanding of Quality doesn't just serve the System, or even beat it or even escape it. A real understanding of Quality captures the System, tames it and puts it to work for its own personal use, while leaving one completely free to fulfil his inner destiny." I am concerned that what is considered quality education in the UK system adversely affects black people. In the Independent Study Module LINK I have examined the question of quality education, and in appendix 2M on the Philosophical Investigations of Quality I summarise these Study Module proposals.

 

In sections 2.1 and 2.2 I have considered the way that culture and racial identity have affected achievement and considered strategies that can overcome this. I want to consider the notions of quality presented in appendix 2M in light of the cultural discussion. I also want to consider quality education in terms of the performance-oriented model - try harder, pay attention and listen.

 

Let us now consider the performance-oriented model. The theme of this model was to become detached from issues of race and focus on qualifications to enhance job opportunities. Now clearly this theme bears no relation to quality because the theme is not quality education but qualification-orientation and job-skill attainment. But what happens during the focussing process? The student must try harder, pay attention and listen. These are all attributes of quality learning - processes to quality. But what else is happening? Because of the focus on performance wrong processes are removed such as false identification with white people, becoming immersed in racial identity conflict, and other processes which create mental confusion and thus restrict the creation of a channel to quality learning. As mentioned in appendix 2O detachment is a process, which is used during meditation to help focus on the issue of enlightenment. The enlightenment that I am aiming for is quality education. As discussed in appendix 2N alienation might also arise as a factor in preventing quality education by creating barriers to the channels that could allow quality learning.

 

Through alienation and an inability to detach oneself from cultural imposition, I would maintain that rejection of culture can restrict quality education. By working through the negro-to-black racial identity development model we can overcome these restrictions. At the same time to help work through underachievement I suggested a performance-oriented model where students are encouraged to detach themselves from race during studies and follow the three tenets of try harder, pay attention and listen. By adopting both these approaches I would suggest there is a greater chance of achieving quality education.

 

I am looking for strategies that will help students achieve quality education. I have suggested that adopting the nigrescence model together with the performance-oriented model will help achieve quality. Yet at the same time if black students are alienated by culture or by content from achieving quality education, then they would find it difficult to achieve. Basically I need to find out whether what the UK perceives as quality education, its curriculum, its content inherently affect the way that black people receive their education. Does the education content itself adversely affect black people. I need to know how people perceive quality education, whether what is offered at school causes offence or alienation, and therefore whether they can achieve quality education. I shall investigate this as the quality education strategy in the interview process.

 

Section 2.4 LITERATURE SUMMARY

 

To begin this section I was examining motivation and its relationship to achievement. I put forward the proposal that rather than trying to build up atomistic motivations it would be better to think of motivation in a more civilised survivalist position of learning for life. This means that for our students to be well motivated they need to see the correlation between their studies and the life they lead when they leave. If the education system fails to have that correlation then this natural motivation disappears and we have apathy and demotivation. This applies particularly to black students who see around them family and friends with ability who have not achieved in life due to the prevailing conditions of society. Then using the Ofsted average notion of underachievement I demonstrated why it is understandable that black students, on average, have lost that motivation and are not achieving. But an average does not define an individual so we come to the point of this dissertation in which I am trying to develop strategies to help students achieve quality education.

 

Here are the strategies:-

 

Racism Awareness Strategy Ė

 

To summarise this strategy concerning racism awareness, it is a movement away from a strong anti-racist approach with students. Is it essential to continually provide young people with the continuing burden of the racist reality? Allow these students to learn about the racism for themselves in private, and then in their adult life. Each student is different and at different stages in their lives they become aware of the issue and then need counselling to cope with this. This will come mainly from the family, but it can also come from educational counsellors. But teachers have an important role in this. Teachers, in my view, should never deny the existence of racism, Ramptonís cycle of disadvantage continues to exist. But is it necessary in a maths lesson to have a lecture on racism awareness? A sound byte Ė do not deny, do not burden but counsel to achieve.

 

Performance-Oriented Strategy Ė

 

To summarise I propound a strategy of working harder, paying attention and listening Ė the performance-oriented model. At the same time I am asking that the social focus of education be placed on this approach rather than opening the Pandoraís box of the adult reality of the experience of racism.

 

Cultural Pragmatic Strategy Ė

 

To summarise this strategy is a little difficult, as a sound byte it might be:- donít be cultural be pragmatic. Cultural issues take on an ill-defined form and young minds cannot always clarify the difference between cultural factors and others. Work at school to get a job and detach oneself from the cultural aspects of the system. Recognise that working for a capitalist system places compromises on us all. Examining the implications of assimilation in this context will be a part of the interview process as well as seeing how much education and its content has affected the interviewees from a cultural perspective.

 

Nigrescence Strategy Ė

 

To summarise strategy 4 would be to encourage counselling using the nigrescence model to help black students achieve. I will be asking interviewees about its applicability to them.

 

Quality Education Strategy Ė

 

I am looking for strategies that will help students achieve quality education. I have suggested that adopting the nigrescence model together with the performance-oriented model will help achieve quality. Yet at the same time if black students are alienated by culture or by content from achieving quality education then they would find it difficult to achieve. To help with the development of strategy I need to know how interviewees perceive quality education, whether what is offered at school causes offence or alienation, and therefore whether they can achieve quality education.

 

Appendix 2A Theories of Motivation

In this appendix I look briefly at theories of motivation. Substantively I conclude in section 2.1 that learning is a natural process, and that if a student is not motivated it is because what the student achieves is not of value. Looking at the motivational theory in this appendix, there is nothing that contradicts this.

In Psychology and the Teacher, Child [p33] begins by examining three theories of motivation:-

1) Instinct

2) Drives and Needs

3) Cognitive

 

On p17 he describes a physiochemical homeostasis "as the balance between need and satisfaction. When "fuel" is running low in our bodies, the "homeostatic balance is said to be disturbed". According to Child the physical part of the brain which is supposed to regulate this is called the hypothalamus [p17]. I find this natural balance idea interesting and feel that homeostasis need not only be a condition of physiological appetites. What if we have a spiritual drive and we make no effort to satisfy it, then our spiritual hypothalamus sends out signals to tell us to get spiritual - a spiritual homeostasis. If we fail to do so would that imply there is a psychological imbalance? [Child p39 mentions the cognitive dissonance of Festinger, Piaget's equilibration and Bruner's mismatch in this light].

 

I feel this natural notion of homeostasis is important at all levels but I wonder if Child is particularly interested in what might be termed the higher levels. When Child says that assumptions "should be tempered with the possibility that our behaviour is more than the sum of our physiological parts, and that conscious life is more than an epiphenomenon arising from body functioning [pp27-28]", I feel that his emphasis is not on the more esoteric levels such as quality.

 

In his description of the common ground of psychological theories of motivation [p40], he describes the motivation as a source of tension, and "successful tension-reduction" ..... "as an event which is likely to be remembered, and so learning takes place" [p40].

 

Child [p42] quotes Maslowís pyramid as a description of levels of motivation, and within this the motivation for "self-actualisation" is seen as "the desire to fulfil one's own potential." He also connects this to self-realisation, "We have to know what we can do before we know we are doing it efficiently". In terms of cognitive needs he says the "accumulation of knowledge is not enough. With knowledge, humans tend to systematise, organise and analyse in a search for order and meaning in the world; they possess a desire to understand" [p43]. And we reach the order of Krishnamurti, an order which is both spiritual and full of quality. And in terms of Maslow's pyramid we have that "the relevance of these cognitive needs to the basic needs is obvious when one considers the necessity of possessing the former in order actively to seek satisfaction of the latter" [p43]. This order in terms of motivation and achievement could quite easily be considered a descriptor of quality education.

 

He then examines motivations from two points of view giving examples of each:

Extrinsic Motivation [pp44-46] - incentives, knowledge of results, reward & punishment, co-operation and competition. Remember Maslow's pyramid here.

Intrinsic Motivation [p47] - Curiosity, exploration and manipulation attention needs.

 

Perhaps most important about intrinsic motivation is when Child [p47] describes these attention needs. "Belief in these as components of human behaviour reflects an active rather than a passive view of life, with humans as goal-orientated animals actively engaged in exploring their environment. Children, once they can move, do not lie or sit around waiting for information to wash over them; they actively seek out and manipulate." Now unless this intrinsic motivation is instinct and disappears after instinctive gratification then we have a question to ask in the UK education system, where is that enquiry?

 

Appendix 2B Theories of Achievement

 

In this appendix I examine some of the theories concerning achievement in an attempt to look briefly at what is termed underachievement. It indicates that an holistic approach to achievement in line with the notion of a natural learning process could be appropriate. The need to achieve is clearly a motive of sorts, and is very clearly important with the quality perspective of my dissertation. Child [p48] describes 3 aspects of the need to achieve:

 

A) Cognitive

B)   Self-enhancement

C)   Affiliation

A)             is the "need to know and understand",

B)              is the "desire for increased prestige and status gained by doing well scholastically, leading to feelings of adequacy and self-esteem",

and C) is "dependence on others for approval"[p48].

 

If we are to consider this as a working model for achievement, then the question is how do these factors of motivation interact? For some they find academic success, and perhaps lacking in social skills or in some other way not being popular C) is not important and they gain their self-esteem in an isolated academic fashion.

But what are the pressures on a black child in the UK? At Brixton Comprehensive when I was there, students experienced a real negative motivation for academic success. Higher achievers, known as "boffs", were regularly criticised so C) meant you failed by peer pressure. Although the pressure from home was usually very strong (many Afro-Caribbeans came to the UK after the war - at the request of UK government - and put up with the racism because they wanted the schooling for their kids), this never seemed to overcome peer pressure. Combine this with the dubious connection between exam passes and the power professions for black students and there is a strong disincentive to achieve. By the power professions I mean senior civil servants, senior ranks in the military, and captains of industry. In terms of the interviews and questionnaire, it is important to find out what the attitude of the interviewees to achievement was. Success/Failure Motivation

In our fashion-conscious consumer world where advertising and the star have replaced the elders - parents and teachers, appearance has become a strong measure of self-esteem amongst teenagers. But I am not just talking about fashion. What does it look like if I work hard and fail? An even stronger incentive to consumerism completely reemphasises the priorities of students, it is almost now as if students are successful at the expense of social acceptability.

Child talks about Fear of Failure when he says "In an achieving society success is highly instrumental in gathering esteem and respect, while failure is a standard way of losing esteem" [p50]. I feel that he has not got his finger on the pulse of contemporary UK teenagers, the Fear of Failure that many relate to is not fear of academic failure but fear of being socially unacceptable.

Nowadays I feel UK students walk a tightrope of appearance and acceptability, they have to do what appears right by their peers and do sufficient to satisfy parents and elders/teachers. In this situation academic achievement was rarely the single focus, if it is not the singl e focus where is the quality education? Self-Concept

"Well-designed motivation tests used with both adult and school samples gave support to the high position of self-concept in relation to achievement. The picture emerging with high and low achievers is consistent and underlines the importance to high achievement of the esteem one has been led to have of oneself (self-sentiment), of a sense of duty, consciousness and acceptance of authority (superego), of curiosity, of fear of insecurity ...., and of positive attitudes to school"[p54]. So here we have in a sense a description of motivation and achievement that is based on how the individual perceives themselves within the measures of motivation and achievement.

From the above descriptions there is one attitude that is clear, and that is that there is not a consensus of understanding concerning motivation and achievement of students. Specifically with regards to motivations there are various descriptions of instincts, needs and drives, and the list of instincts "grew to 6000 in the 1920ís". I see this as a problem of the fundamental position of logical positivism in the academic world. By this approach of defining numerous drives, needs and instincts, they try to synthesise a series of atomistic concepts into a theory rather than detaching themselves from the situation and trying to perceive a holistic approach to their epistemology. That holistic approach can be seen as related to the natural process of learning and the achievement that ought to be associated with it.

 

Appendix 2C Public School Approach to Education

 

In this appendix I wish to demonstrate that in UK public schools the students donít question values, they accept that they have to work and they follow a performance-oriented approach.

The UK public school system works, for what some would consider its intention, to provide qualifications and to provide a platform for jobs. Do these schools allow students to consider the value of the curriculum? Do they allow black students to dwell on the problems of racism? Poverty is not usually a barrier in pay schools but would they allow environmental factors to impinge on the students? No the education is simple, get qualified. Go to prep and study. Pay attention in class and study. Revise and learn for your exams. At the end of this process children of rich families go off to attend university with better qualifications, and yet there is no reason to contend that these children are more intelligent. But they have remained focussed, or rather they have been forced to focus on the task at hand - getting qualifications. Yes the old school tie network for jobs is important, and those students will know that they will get a job if they go through their school and get qualified. But the fact that there is a clearly-defined qualification-job education model in these schools is an important part of their raison d'etre, I perceive no deficiency in this education model within their parameters.

Yet the whole public school system could be questioned in terms of racism, social education, environmental education and curriculum content; it can be questioned in the context of learning for life. But the students don't question, they perform.

 

Appendix 2D Practical problems of Finance and Disruptive Students

In the dissertation I quoted Ford referring to various approaches for overcoming underachievement. I donít disagree with the approaches but they are not financially viable. In this appendix I would like you to consider the financial implications in this example and the educational advancement that might occur.

One aspect of the deficiency model that black underachievement highlights is that of finance. There is little evidence that the system actually wants to finance programmes that will lead to equality, I have previously suggested that, in the UK, we must start from the position that factors leading to black underachievement continue to exist. In fact I would argue that the only time society responds is when the problems of racism hit the streets such as the riots or uprisings of the early 80's.

Let's consider a scenario. We have an able black boy in year 8 who is beginning to become seriously disruptive. The school recognises he is intelligent but they have also seen many such boys fail. An incident occurs and is recorded on his file, maybe swearing, fighting or rudeness to a teacher. The head of year calls the parents who are supportive. The boy agrees to change, he is put on report and shows improvement. But his work is not really commensurate with his ability, and after a while his discipline slips again until there is another incident. The teachers and parents try again, and the boy settles down again. The boy decides to walk a line between defiance, and limited work in school. At home he behaves well but takes his anger out on the street.

 

Everybody ends up hoping it will be OK. The teachers are trying to minimise the disruption in school, the parents have a stable home, the boy realises it is probably easier just to keep out of trouble in these situations, and the result is no education.

Already this boy has taken up more than his fair share of school time. Why is the system going to invest more time and money into him when they expect him to fail? And the boy, how much does he want to pass? Yes he will say he wants to pass but then in practice events take over and he loses interest.

Fundamentally that boy cannot be successful unless he fully embraces school as an academic place. Exams cannot be passed unless students revise. Using the three attitudes discussed in the Performance-Oriented model he cannot be successful unless he tries harder - permanently, pays attention, and listens with a learning mind. It might well require a full-time team of teachers, counsellors, and psychiatrists to help the boy commit himself to this approach. Will the state fund such an undertaking - no? And then with other boys in his situation - again the answer is no!

"In general strategies for reversing underachievement must address academic skills deficits (such as test-taking and study skills) and include curricular changes (such as multicultural education) and instructional changes (such as accommodation of learning styles). They should also include increased training among school personnel in gifted and multicultural education and increased family involvement" Ford [p63]. Advocating strategies, such as these, will not be financially viable. In my experience the only time such approaches have been undertaken even in part is as a containment exercise, and not with the ultimate aim that the student will qualify - if they qualify it will be a fortunate happenstance.

 

Appendix 2E Emotional Reaction to some of Ford's positions

 

In this appendix I want to describe a dilemma that I am placed in by Ford's work and others. I want to describe my emotions at this point. I am finding myself writing from a position where I am beginning to attack work such as hers, yet at the same time I am deeply sympathetic to what she is trying to do. There is an extremely serious situation of black underachievement which, as a black woman, she understands and has experienced, far more than I do or can as a middle-aged white man. But she is trying to question various definitions. She is questioning what needs to be considered as intelligent to suit attributes shown by some black youth, when she describes leadership skills of gang leaders as intelligence then we are entering a difficult realm.

As a socialist I have little time for the moralities of the prevailing capitalist system, I am sympathetic to the notion that capitalism on the world's stock exchanges is simply institutionalised and socially-acceptable social crime. This is again where the deficiencies of the education system show themselves by marginalising the achievement of black people, by accepting specific aspects of criminal activity. In fact some would argue that society educates towards this institutionalised crime, improved technology facilitates it, and status and reward follow from it. If we militate against this prevailing direction, for whatever social or altruistic reasons, then it is we who will suffer in their terms, we who will not receive the social and financial rewards.

 

Appendix 2F Botswana's White Model of Education

 

In this appendix I hope to show that it is not that the curriculum is "white" that is the problem by considering the education system in Botswana.

Many Africans are very powerfully motivated to gaining an education even though the education they are gaining could be called a white education. Here in Botswana, at present the students work for Cambridge Overseas Certificate because the black Government Ministry says so. In order to obtain this Cambridge certificate, which is recognised as a job qualification, they have to pass English. Although their national language is Setswana, and the majority speak that language, many fail to pass English yet they pass other subjects. In other words because they fail to pass an exam in someone elseís language they fail to get qualifications for jobs. My view of the government position is that business requires English and they wish to compete. In other words because black people want to function in a business world they adopt a UK education model with all the disadvantages stated above that come with it.

 

In this paragraph I use black and white as descriptors to enable comparison. However business is business as part of a capitalist system, and it is not helpful to use white as a descriptor of business as discussed in Ch 6 Analysis of Findings. In Botswana black students accept a white education system in order to gain work in their country because the work in their country is part of the global business community which has certain white aspects such as the language of English. Although affected by being in Africa the business structures are little different to the business structures of the UK and US. To paraphrase black Africa has accepted white business, and adapts its education to work towards this business goal. I accept that this is a simplistic position but as a generalisation I feel it has a great deal of truth. Again simplistically black African students are motivated to achieve within a white education model.

If we accept this then let us now examine the differences between African students in Africa and black students in the UK and US. One major difference is that a black government has made the decision as to the curriculum, therefore the system is a Tswana system. Another important difference is that the prevailing culture is Tswana and not white, so that the black students are not in the minority.

Both of these reasons could completely negate the point of comparing the African attitude to education, and the black attitude to education in the UK and US but I don't think that's true, I think there are lessons to be learnt. What happens to the crossover - Africans educated in the UK or US? If they join the system early enough they suffer from similar difficulties as do other blacks - this is borne out with data from an interview with Grace (see her interview transcript in appendix 5F and discussions in the sections of chapter 5).

 

Appendix 2G Culture becomes an Excuse for Failure

 

In this appendix I delve slightly deeper into this question of culture and its implications in the work situation. In essence this diversion appendix simply adds fuel to the position that it is the right of the individual to choose Ė to choose to work as a wage-slave for money??

I have a difficulty here. My feeling is that culture has become another of these excuses for failure. In some quarters black students are told that they are working for the white system, and so they are told not to do it, or worse it becomes part of the culture not to work so the students fail. But how as a white person can I ignore the claims of so many black people, especially intelligent ones, that they are alienated from their culture by white education.

I cannot, but I do want to question some of these cultural assumptions - even if I am questioning them from a position of white ignorance. The question for me is that of importance. How important is the cultural attack on black people by the white education system? Is it important enough to say that it is so important that black people will never try to work in business because they will never get qualified in school, that they will never want to work in business because those businesses are white-owned? In Africa these questions are not so important because blacks here work to get qualified and work to get a job, but in a situation of a minority in the UK and US they become much more important. My question is this, have they become too important - an excuse for failure?

I also want to place these questions in another context. Business does not really care if you are black or white so long as you do things their way. For this reason I am not in big business, I cannot do it their way but that is a choice I have made although financially it is a decision I often consider. But if a black person joins a company and can work within that environment and can make a profit for that company then it is not in the company's interest to sack her/him. Out here many Batswana are prepared to work for Boers and Rhodies because it is a job and a pay packet. But, and it is a big BUT, in both circumstances they are victim to racist practices. With the Boers and the Rhodies it is obvious, blacks are often ordered about and treated in a second-rate manner, but both sides set limits because in the end the profit motive is the guiding factor. What will the employee take in order to keep the job? In the multinational what subtle forms of racism will the black executive take in order to get promoted?

Now you could argue that racism should not happen, and therefore people should demand to be treated equitably but in the end by making those demands you are likely to be limiting your opportunities. Do you wait for the end of racism? Big business is not concerned, they will always find people willing to work to create their profits. As a socialist I would support a move towards global revolution of a non-violent type to remove capitalism but there are no serious indications that black people particularly want socialism, it is only that they want their share of the cake equitably. (As a socialist I believe that they can only get their share of the cake under socialism but that is another issue!!!).

 

Appendix 2H  Assimilation and Socialism

 

In this appendix I want to develop the notion that assimilation can be viewed within a framework. If we choose to make the acceptance of a job as being assimilation in a black and white issue, then that framework increases racial tension. If we see the acceptance of a job as wage -slavery within a capitalist environment, it reduces racial tension and directs that tension towards the 5% who own. If I was a capitalist I know what I would want Ė divide and rule!

In racial terms this issue of assimilation means black people are expected to behave like white people. But let us look at this term in another context. This process of assimilation is not a racial assimilation, it is big business assimilation; it is business demanding that people behave in a certain way in order to continue to be paid. So the question of assimilation is also related to the question of employment, it is saying that if you want us to employ you then you must behave in a certain way. Many black people see the way of being employed as being a white way, and I can understand their way of seeing it because the bosses are usually white. As a person who was not able to be assimilated into the ways of big business, I can see an alternative assimilation. If I use the socialist analogy I cannot go into big business and tell them they should work as socialists (I know that is a contradiction in terms). But if black people are expecting big business to change then it is another question, big business does not want to change but it will employ black people who do what they want as readily as white people. But in my view for this to happen black people will have to make more sacrifices due to prevailing racism.

Are wage slaves treated differently because they are black and white? The context of the situation is the same, the employer chooses. Because the employer chooses and because the employer is often white, then the black person is treated worse - but again it is a matter of degree. It could be seen that the situation is not the whiteness of the system against the marginalisation of blacks, but rather that it is the system of wage slavery where blacks are treated worse than whites.

Is this distinction subtle and semantic? No! To my mind that is because the question of assimilation on a personal level can be seen as a question of control. If you are a wage slave your employer can demand certain practices in the workplace but he cannot make demands on your soul and your integrity as an individual. Yes you can be compromised within the workplace situation but that is work, outside of work you live your life within the customs and practices of your community. Accepted your culture is not recognised at work but it is not a saleable commodity, it is not your labour, your labour is what the employer pays for. In my view the process of working for money assimilates you into wage slavery into a capitalist model, and with a recognition of this comes a form of control. You have the control of your labour, if your labour provides good work, sufficient profits, then the employer can be compromised in terms of the worst aspects of her/his personal racism. At the same time control comes from recognising that at work a person is alienated form her/his race and culture but that is the price to pay for being able to live in your own culture.

Am I saying black people should shut up and take it? No! But at the same time if black people start to say to employers you should work this way because black people work well this way, then it is a non-starter. Big business has the money, big business has the power, big business chooses the employees, that is the reality.

 

Appendix 2I Personal Reflections on Lowest Common Denominator Behaviour

 

In this appendix I am trying to support the suggestion that black people be involved in some sort of cultural PR exercise. Some people describe some of the worst behaviour of black people as being the norm, and at other times they reject as norm other forms of behaviour which might be considered more socially acceptable by all. At times people are their own worst enemy.

Ford describes a situation where black students are in conflict with the system because they are black. They have to struggle to overcome this conflict, and yet when they overcome this conflict they are rejected by the black community. This is a theme which recurs throughout Ford's work, and it is a theme that I have difficulty with. Although it is nowhere near the same, let me state that as a young man I used to suffer angst because I would go to the pub and the guys would make fun of me because I was an academic or a teacher. Is it wrong to be an academic or a teacher? No. Where was I wrong? Because I felt the angst and because I allowed my younger insecurity to be played on by the envy of these people in the bar.

I am not describing the pub as being a place full of ignorant and envious people but what I was being subjected to was what might be described as the lowest denominator of my culture - the envy. Yes there is this envy and it often gets expressed, but that does not mean that my conduct has to be governed by this grossness. (Nor does it mean that I should go to the pub and be arrogant about my academic/school background).

I think envy is a keyword here. Academic achievement is an important issue within the black community, and when some achieve and others don't then the others are envious and try to influence. BUT this is not a cultural characteristic, it is not a description of black people that they are failures, it is a description of a lowest denominator nature. But sadly it is a descriptor that some have accepted as cultural. "For some gifted black students, the mere act of attending school is evidence of a semi-conscious - or even conscious - rejection of the Black culture. School is perceived by some Blacks as a symbol of the dominant culture communicating both directly and indirectly that to succeed Blacks must become "un-Black" (Fordham 1988 p 58)" [Ford 2 p409].

 

When I was young I used to go to Old Trafford to watch the football. Whilst there I witnessed certain behaviour based on drunkenness and hooliganism, fortunately I never wanted to imitate it. Some would argue that football is part of white culture but they would not argue that this abysmal behaviour is cultural, no it is aberrant behaviour. This lowest denominator behaviour is never accepted as white culture although it could quite clearly be argued as such. Football is white culture but not hooliganism. This rationalisation is accepted yet there is strong evidence that it is not true. But when it comes to black culture lowest denominator behaviour is accepted as cultural by many, both black and white.

I personally have never accepted such lowest denominator behaviour as cultural but, on many occasions, I see the defensive attitude of accepting this behaviour as a protective response to racism (see peoplehood later - inc. Appendix 2J). I feel that it is essential for leading black people to reject the lowest denominator behaviour and isolate it from the cultural perspective. If leaders and academics in the US accept gang behaviour as cultural, then the lowest denominator has begun to dominate the cultural perspective and this can only be detrimental.

I feel this is an aspect of a wider problem - the worship of youth. African tradition has a clear respect culture based on age, sadly it is being practised less and less as western media gains influence. In my view this aspect of respect establishes an order in society which then creates a positive social order. This is not to say that old people always behave respectably but the order that is created leads to more harmony.

Appendix 2J Moral Peoplehood

Although one can understand the need to protect the community from the position of adversity within a racist society, the notion of peoplehood without morality in the long run cannot be constructive for black people. In this appendix I am asking for an element of moral discernment.

As a minority, UK black people are under pressure and tend to seek collective strength to overcome adversity - this is a natural human response. "Previous generations had defined success for one black person as success for all Blacks", this has been replaced with "the perception that successful Blacks have "sold out" [Ford2 p409]. "Peoplehood, which is based on more than just skin color, represents a cultural symbol of collective identity, ethnic consolidation (Green 1981), and mutual interdependence (Barnes, 1980) among Blacks" [Ford3 p577]. In recognising the importance of peoplehood there also needs to be a moral dimension that removes the lowest denominator from being accepted as the cultural norm, that is not to deny acceptance of this lowest denominator but to deny acceptance of it as the norm. In other words adopt the position of stage 5 of Internalisation-Commitment by addressing the issue of controlling stage 3 of the process - the Immersion-Emersion cherishing of all that is black however immoral. If a black youth misbehaves it is wrong irrespective of the racism in society. Combat the racism but also combat the immorality. The principle of peoplehood does not prevent people from accepting individual difference, from accepting the consequences of such differences eg good and bad behaviour, but peoplehood should not be blind, it should demand a moral position as well.

 

Appendix 2K Negromachy

In this appendix I try to point out that it appears that some people are unable to accept normal behaviour for black students. Rather than seeing positive attributes such as compliance subservience and sensitivity to racial issues as being positive, it becomes necessary for some to label it in a negative way as negromachy. This is an additional example of PR requirements.

Negromachy is referred to as "confusion about self-worth and dependence on the dominant culture for self-definition. Gifted Blacks suffering from negromachy are thought to be compliant, subservient, oversensitive to racial issues, and filled with repressed rage" [Ford2 p412]. Such a student could also be described as well-behaved and racially-aware - intelligent, but because that student is black some adults in the immersion-emersion stage associate welleducated black students with a negative image - negromachy. Of course some black students exhibiting those characteristics might be going through a racial identity crisis such as negromachy. Here in Botswana students could be described as compliant, subservient, and sensitive to racial issues because their society teaches them to repress their anger at injustices and conform to the required social norm. It is not thought necessary here to coin a term like negromachy to describe their normal upbringing - respectful compliance and controlled subservience are virtues within the Botswana education system. Yet in the US such students are suffering from negromachy. To my mind this confusion is caused by the need of some to identify academic success, and success in jobs, with white culture - as such the oppressor. I would suggest that this could be part of the immersion-emersion stage of racial identity development, and needs to be counselled against.

Rather than accepting positive attitudes a term "negromachy" is created for attitudes that can only be seen as virtues. When people are reaching a higher level of development epitomised by the internalisation-commitment stage, someone has to invent a derogatory explanation for that development. How selfdefeating!

 

Appendix 2L Further Counselling Strategies

In this appendix I have raised a number of counselling issues and related strategies. As I am not investigating them as part of my dissertation and interview process I have included them here for consideration by teachers:-

"Parham (1989) delineated two issues that counsellors might be required to address when working with black students:-

a)      "self-differentiation versus preoccupation with assimilation" (p217) inwhich the individual strives to become comfortable with the recognition that he or she is a worthwhile human being irrespective of valuation or validation by whites

b)      "ego-transcendence versus self-absorption" (p217) whereby the gifted Blackchild strives to become secure with himself or herself so as to develop personal ego strength" [Ford2 p411].

"Yalom (1985) recommends group counselling .. to be characterised by:-

1)   Interpersonal Interaction

2)   Establishing Universality

3)   Instilling Hope

4)   Imparting Information

5)      Developing socialization techniques" [Ford2 P414] 

 

For a full description of these counselling strategies see the Ford 2 article photocopied in appendix 2Q, but I have raised them here because as principles they might help teachers.

In Yalom's 1) the context is to make people aware of how others see them, in 2) people are to recognise that they are not unique, in 3) hope and ambition provide motivation, in 4) students are given the knowledge/information they need to move forward, and in 5) the social skills provided might be how to function in two worlds - the world at home and the world at work.

Counselling against defence mechanisms is an important strategy. At the personal level excuses for failure can exhibit themselves as defence mechanisms, associated processes might be denial or disowning - "a conscious screening out of unpleasant information that might threaten one's sense of self and peoplehood" [Ford2 p412]. These mechanisms can be used to protect from pain and discomfort, and can take the form of "denial of one's problem and projecting problems onto others" [idem]. "Underachievement may be a way of disowning or denying one's giftedness and abilities" [idem].

Counselling against isolation can be an important strategy, "counsellors must teach gifted Black students how to cope effectively with feeling different from, inferior to, and otherwise isolated from both cultures - feelings expressed by many successful blacks" [Ford2 p413]. "A positive identity, or enhanced self-concept, is critical for the academic, social and personal success gifted Black students need to reach the final stages of racial identity development" [Ford2 p413].

 

Appendix 2M Philosophical Investigations of Quality

To begin the Independent Study module (please see LINK) I tried to gain an understanding of quality, in the conclusion I have tried to show that we cannot define quality. Paraphrasing Plato it is only by divine fate that quality is present. But a definition is not a prerequisite for understanding. It is accepted that we all have different religious concepts of soul and spirit and it is not an academic necessity to define these terms in order to use them. In the philosophical field quality need not be defined, however we do need to try to understand it.

 

Quality is inherent in actions, and these actions come from a quality person. What constitutes this quality person? These are attributes such as virtue, honesty, self-knowledge described in the above concept summary. How do we know quality actions? Because of our judgement as a teacher, we see that a student is producing quality work, clarity and precision in maths, creativity in art, etc. It is a perception, a recognition of covert things, "if you got to ask what is all the time, you'll never get time to know" Pirsig [p222].

 

One attribute of quality is professional artistry, with all that Schon has written this will help in looking at processes to quality and achieving quality education through educating the reflective practitioner.

Understanding quality is like trying to understand the divine; it is an understanding we can never achieve but we can learn a great deal trying. Then I have tried to establish a number of processes to try to achieve quality:-

1)   Channels to Quality through peace of mind, meditation, and                       concentration.

2)   Removing Hang-Ups

3)   Reflection-in-Action

4) The Way of the Ronin

5) Removing Wrong Processes

 

Can we then teach quality education? I would contend that absolute quality can never be taught but we can teach towards that goal, enhancing the gift of quality in the student but not necessarily reaching the absolute. But being realistic when in education do we ever achieve anything 100%? But the problem with quality is that we don't really try.

Despite Plato's conclusion to the contrary, I believe I have countered to suggest that a process to quality ought to be possible within the realms of education, in some way teachable. "Education is a force, a process which is shapeless and amoeba-like attaching itself to the boundaries and limitations of those to be educated and pull them towards Quality/arete, the attitudes of the truly educated."

So can we ever achieve quality education? I believe that quality is something that can be taught through processes. However this is not practical in our existing institutions with society's current attitude to education. If we want quality we must decide to reward through recognition those with quality, and also provide institutions with the freedom and applicability to develop quality. But is that quality what the system wants?

 

Appendix 2N Alienation and Quality

In this appendix I hope to demonstrate that students experiencing alienation cannot achieve quality education.

An important concept that regularly comes up concerning youth, particularly black youth, is alienation; I feel it has an important bearing on quality education. According to the dictionary alienation is the "result of being alienated", when someone has caused you to "become unfriendly or hostile" and someone has caused you "to feel isolated or estranged ". Let us consider how this could be related to quality as described in Appendix 2M by seeing how alienation could affect the 5 processes:

 

1) Channels to Quality through peace of mind, meditation and concentration.

2)   Removing Hang-Ups

3)   Reflection-in-Action

4)   The Way of the Ronin

5) Removing Wrong Processes

Quite clearly if alienated one would find it difficult to maintain the proper attitude to focus on the channels of learning. One could remove hang-ups whilst feeling alienated but the alienation is likely to be a greater hang-up. Reflecting would be difficult. As adults when we are angry at work do we work well? Yet we ask alienated youth to work in a system that they are estranged from. Effectively an alienated person has to become strong in isolation if they are going to achieve, in some ways the ensuing isolation is an advantage if your spirit is capable of coping, but if not it is a problem as in the majority of cases. If one can bring oneís mind to it then the removal of wrong processes is not difficult unless you are focussing on such a wrong process as alienation. This issue of the relationship between alienation and quality could be considered in much greater depth. However using the philosophical deliberations of the study module, summarised in Appendix 2M, clearly shows that an alienated person has far more difficulties to overcome than for someone who sees the system as their own.

Marx describes alienation as four categories (quoted in Meszaros p14):

a) From Nature

b)   From himself

c)   From Species-Being

d)   From other men

 

Clearly cultural or racial alienation has components in categories b), c) and d). It is quite clear that for many people culture can cause alienation and based on my arguments above would have their path to quality education restricted.

Undoubtedly then black people can become alienated because of other people's attitudes to their culture. As such they are then restricted from receiving a quality education. In other words the question of culture can significantly affect the question of quality education. For me the issue of culture is as described before, how much should the cultural issue be allowed to affect students in education?

If we consider the negro-to-black model of racial identity development then black people who have internalised their identities do not feel alienated from their identities, being committed to working for racial equality is not alienation but a constructive response. It is when someone is not comfortable with their racial identity that alienation can occur.

So the issue of alienation is tied in with the stages of racial identity development. If a person is identifying with white people or unreasonably with black people ie because they are black then alienation is occurring, and therefore there is a restriction towards quality education.

Hence strategies that help black people work through the stages of this model will help with alienation and lead to quality education.

 

Appendix 2O Detachment in Meditation

 

In this appendix I describe the process of detachment as practised in certain meditation methodologies. I am suggesting that similar approaches in education could help students overcome the emotional turmoil of our education system, especially for black students in the UK system

During meditation you are trying to achieve various states of consciousness, basically centring yourself, relieving the stress of the day, and maybe trying to achieve more (not relevant here). If some student has really rattled your cage or you have argued with the boss it is very difficult to meditate without thinking about these events. You try to calm your mind and then you start thinking about what happened. These events are powerful to you at the time so there is no point in trying to push them to one side and tell them to go away because they won't. Similar situations happen when you go to bed, you want to sleep but these events rattle your cage and keep you awake.

During meditation they say not to push them aside but think about them. Can you resolve them? No. OK, think about them, you cannot resolve them, you have tried, so quietly think they are not so important. You have tried to solve them, there is nothing else to do, give them less importance, calm down, they are not important. And gradually these events become less important, you calm down and begin focussing more on your meditation.

Emotions are powerful, you cannot just tell them to go away. So you let them have their head and gradually their power dissipates and you can watch the emotions but without the emotions dominating your state of being. This process is known as detachment.

 


 

 

Chapter3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

 

Section 3.1 RESEARCH PARADIGM WHY QUALITATIVE

 

In my dissertation I want to try to counsel towards achievement of quality education. How is quality education researched? Can we put a number to it? No, so a quantitative approach is not appropriate; but that is only a negative justification for the approach I intend to take. The main purpose of the dissertation is to determine strategies, not to evaluate them in terms of how many people find them successful. For both of these major tenets of my dissertation a qualitative approach is more appropriate.

Quality, as in quality education, can only be described within its own terms. In my Independent Study LINK and in appendix 2M on Philosophical Investigation of quality, I put forward the contention that we cannot define quality. If it cannot be defined then an analysis cannot be quantified so quality can only be considered in qualitative terms - descriptively. But that description needs to be academically acceptable so I must follow the paradigm of qualitative research that is currently gaining favour within academic circles. The rationale of MM's (Maykut & Morehouse) book is to justify to a US academia grounded in the quantitative approach that there is scientific value in qualitative studies. "If the researcher cannot articulate, at least to herself, the reasons for using qualitative methods in a research project, it is likely that she will be unable to defend the project as a rigorous and valued piece of scholarship" MM [p2].

In appendix 3A I have outlined a consideration of the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research. Fundamental to that consideration was a discussion about what is appropriate material to be studied in qualitative and quantitative research. Using Bacon's "paradigm of reason and revelation", quoting from the same appendix, "when I discount the positivist method of quantitative methods for examining quality it is because I feel that quality is part of that area of understanding that has become divorced from the scientific arena" - part of "revelation".

In appendix 3B I described how the phenomenalist position might consider noumena, in this case I am suggesting that the noumena concerned would be quality or quality education. Following the proposition that quality is an undefineable reality, it still has to be recognised by a research paradigm otherwise how do we research it? By considering quality as a noumenon we obtain our framework.

Fundamental to research on how individuals develop strategies has to be an approach that actually considers that humanity. In appendix 3C I consider how human beings are considered within the phenomenalist paradigm, and therefore its appropriateness is clear. How can we learn about strategies that individuals believe in or practise without asking them how they individually cope?

In this section I have tried to demonstrate that qualitative methods are best suited to research on quality education. By examining the philosophical underpinnings of the paradigms of research I have attempted to show that what might be termed the phenomenalist paradigm is most applicable. By further analysis of that paradigm I have also attempted to show that even if quality is not defined, I am proceeding as if it is undefineable (for a full discussion of why this is an appropriate approach please see my Study Module), it still does not prevent qualitative research being carried out on the notion of quality education.

 

Section 3.2 DATA COLLECTION APPROACH

Interview Process

So far I have determined that a qualitative analysis is more appropriate for determining the strategies for achieving quality education; in section 3.3 I will show that a case study approach is an appropriate form of data collection and will analyse appropriate conduct for a case study interview. Let me now plan out the actual conduct of the interview process.

To be perfectly blunt at the outset, my interview process is governed more by non-academic reasons than academic ones. From the professional biography (LINK), I determined that my field of interests were equal opportunities and the achievement of quality education. Moving into a relatively new area of counselling underachievers, as Ford describes it, my population can only be UK-based. I therefore was restricted because I was working in Botswana, and I could only interview during an end of contract visit of five weeks.

I did make efforts to coordinate a collection process through UK contacts but this did not materialise. I therefore decided that I would have to conduct interviews on a relatively ad-hoc basis. Statistically this did not worry me unduly. I am not using an unbiased sample to make inferences about a population, therefore the sampling technique did not have to be rigorously random. At the same time I didnít want to interview stereotypically, I therefore produced a sample sheet containing typical population categories such as sex, age to maintain an appropriate level of diversity for such a study Ė this is included in appendix 3G. My sample strategy was to therefore conduct interviews with those who are willing on a cold basis ie going up and asking them.

I conducted postal questionnaires for reasons I will explain later, and after analysing their results I wrote to ask for follow-up interviews. I asked the pilot to help me with a purposive sample to no avail so I decided to conduct my interviews by venue initially, and then be heuristic Ė play it by ear! I knew that I would be staying in two places Ė London and Manchester, and both cities have thriving black populations. London I knew better as I had lived there for 9 years, and spent personal time there whilst living in Brighton. I decided to start at the NUT as I knew they had an Equal Opportunities department. I was also partly familiar with the studentsí union in Malet Street and the Institute of Education nearby at Senate House. I decided to begin interviewing there. At the same time I knew of a number of "multicultural centres" in London such as the Gresham where I used to work, Ahfiwe nearby, ACER, Institute of Race Relations, Africa Centre and others. I could visit all of these. The person I was staying with in London worked in the youth service so I could make contacts that way. And this is before I go to Manchester. So although I have doubts about the process I do feel there are sufficient avenues for collecting sample interviews.

Now this interview strategy appears substantively vague but let me be clear that these interviews are part of an emerging design; I therefore donít want to be too prescriptive.

What is the purpose of the interviews? I wish to discuss the strategies presented in the summary of Chapter2. It is my hope that the discussions will support the work that I have done but suppose it takes me in a new direction then I must follow. Suppose the work negates what I am proposing, then I must follow that negation. I therefore must be flexible so I have a loose interview collection strategy.

Because I will have such a short period of time to collect the data, I must have completed proper preparation first. Hence I must complete the literature review and the research methodology before starting the interview process. But what if my research is groundless? I needed to conduct some form of pilot research prior to the interviews.

 Pilot Study

I was very lucky. There was a black person who had been educated in the UK working in Botswana, and I was able to interview her. I conducted this interview early on during the development of the Literature Review. As this was a first-stage pilot interview it was very broad concerning the question of achieving a quality education. I have included an interview summary in appendix 5J. I showed the interviewee the summary but the interviewee declined to comment although she said it was an accurate summary.

This pilot interview substantiated many of the areas of concern of my study, and helped me to build up to the dissertation as discussed in the Research Strategies module. Was the pilot unique? Were the supportive views of the pilot unusual? I then sent questionnaires to the UK by post, and obtained 3 responses. These questionnaires were also helpful with their content, and showed me that I would obtain something if I continued with the research. I have included the three questionnaires as appendix 5K. I noted that their use was limited because points could not be developed. I tried to contact them during the interview process but they were not interested. At the end of the pilot discussions I was able to produce a schedule for the conduct of interviews (see appendix 3E). As part of a process of provisions for trustworthiness I answered the questions of the interview schedule and also of some research questions I had developed in the Research Strategies. By doing this I hoped to remove bias by recognising what I brought to the interview process, my responses are in appendix 3D.

To conclude section 3.2 on data collection, I have decided to conduct case study interviews because I am interested in getting testimony of personal reaction within UK education. At the same time I will be able to explore strategies for achievement through this interview process. I have considered various approaches towards gathering the interviews but concluded that a heuristic method most suited the emergent design Ė play it by ear! Finally to ensure that the data collection would be meaningful, and that my research had a reasonable basis for success I conducted a number of pilot approaches including interview and questionnaires. These had relative success so I felt that I would be able to gather the data through interviews in the UK as hoped.

 

Section 3.3 CASE STUDY METHODOLOGY

The basis of the research is to determine strategies to overcome black underachievement. I need to determine how individuals perceive strategies for underachievement either from their own experience or from what they consider might be appropriate. It is my intention to carry out the bulk of my research on an interview basis - case study interviews.

 Perceptions of Knowledge in my Interview Situation

In an interview there are two people, and I want to examine this question from both sides. Firstly my knowledge is limited because I am dealing with an area of black experience so although I can work with explicit knowledge my understanding is only second-hand and therefore limited. Secondly although my experience in this area is quite large for a white person I do not possess a tacit understanding of black experience, and therefore there are limitations.

 

Thirdly it has been a long time since I worked with black people in the UK so I will not understand what I might call the contemporary code of communication. It is common amongst oppressed communities to develop a way of speaking to each other that excludes outsiders, part of this is called patois, part of it can be heard in the lyrics of rap music etc. Further age distances you from the young with regards to this code. At the time I was working in the community I had knowledge of this contemporary code of communication, and although accepting that I was an outsider I had an element of understanding.

I have become distanced from the contemporary situation yet at the same time I think that my position is not hopeless. I believe my perception of the situation is still relevant even though I am not now contemporary, whatever understanding of the situation I then had still is appropriate to some extent. My experience is broader, but that is not necessarily an obvious advantage. Communities under siege become isolated, such as white South Africa, but black communities in the West are also isolated by racism. Their youth and adults both appear to have a wisdom beyond their peers, but this wisdom is sometimes lacking in breadth because of this isolation.

To the interview situation. My tacit understanding of what is happening as black experience, which could never be complete, has become worse because of distance; even the explicit understanding might cause problems owing to my lacking the contemporary code of communication. Ways in which I can overcome this are through my interview preparation and through a pilot study.

I see much of my work with the interviewee being exploratory, exploring their understanding of the strategies leading to quality education, and whether these are related to their experience. I could imagine that such questions, particularly those of quality are not normally asked. I would expect the interviewees' understanding of these ideas to be tacit, and that the interview must attempt to make it explicit. I also expect to be discussing areas of experience that would be deeply personal Ė areas of experience of racism. This would require an element of tact and sensitivity, which I am not reknowned for. I must be aware that in the time available I might not succeed.

Process Strategy - Indwelling the Research

MM put forward a concept of Indwelling in Chapter 3, I like this approach but it cannot work totally for my research. Let me start by examining the term indwelling. Indwelling as "naturalistic inquiry" means "being at one with the persons under investigation, walking a mile in the other person's shoes, or understanding the person's point of view from an empathic rather than a sympathetic position" [MM p27].

As a white man I cannot indwell in the shoes of a black person, no matter how sympathetic I want to be I cannot experience the racism; they say a white man cannot play the blues. If the more strident of black activists were to say that as a white man I should not be conducting this research, I would tend to agree. There are however certain mitigating circumstances. I taught in Brixton Comprehensive for 8 years, after moving to Brighton I lived with a black Jamaican and her family for 2 and a 1/2 years. Then I moved to Botswana for 6 years where I have lived with 3 African women. I would say this placed me part way between indwelling and outdwelling, although I still feel my understanding is limited. "Indwelling requires the investment of sufficient time to learn the culture, test for misinformation introduced by distortion either of self or of respondents, and to build trust" [MM p29]. The above glimpse of my life history gives me some insights into the culture, and I hope some ability to discern misinformation.

But I will always recognise that as a white man I am an outsider to black experience, so when I question a black person concerning their experience I know I cannot make judgements - I must listen.

Indwelling is not simply a position taken to understand the enquiry into another person's viewpoint, I perceive it as being my "interactive spirit, force or principle" [MM p25] acting as a oneness with the research. What does this vague statement mean to me? The journey I take through the research has to be step-by-step, reflecting at each stage, and recognising that research means that I am trying to discover and not trying to enframe the data. Although hypothesis-testing is a sound technique there is a tendency to try to make the data and conclusions fit the hypothesis rather than allowing the statistical method to dictate the answer. This research means discovery for me, and by indwelling the research I would hope my spirit is trying to discover rather than enframe.

I want to consider how I will know or learn during the research. "Tacit knowledge is gained by indwelling" [MM p31], but what exactly does that mean? I would hope to "understand the problems, the actions of persons, or the meaning of institutions or rituals" [MM p31]. I still feel this is vague - for me. Indwelling the research means for me a form of immersion. I hope the journey to discovery will be authentic, a genuine attempt to conceptualise their strategies by determining processes that have led the interviewee to quality education, a genuine listening to a a black perspective without judgement, attributing "chips" or any such negative stereotyping. Essentially as researcher I must be part of the research as opposed to an observer with a viewpoint, my viewpoints and knowledge must flow with the research journey and not simply say "Ah this is my conclusion at the end, I must now alter what I think and change then." This journey must be an ongoing reflection-in-action, perceptions must change constantly but also I must perceive that they change, not simply a tacit change, because by perceiving an explicit change I can then reformulate and accept the new patterns of the research.

Here I am beginning to touch on a subtly, an indirect, way of understanding. By translating tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge I can then reformulate the patterns of my research. But I am being too theoretical if I think that all my processes are that good or can be that easily defined. By attempting to understand the various stages of the research process and by focussing on those individual stages as I go along I must have a faith that they will become meaningful and that the research will take shape - much akin to the process I

carried out during the research strategies module. At the same time the individual pieces are not enough, I must be constantly aware of the overview of the research, focus on the pieces whilst indwelling the totality. "The pieces of the puzzle are essential to knowing the whole, but in order to gain an understanding of the whole, we must experience, rather than attend to, these pieces, thus allowing the whole to emerge from the experience" [MM p32] by being constantly aware of the totality at all times. "The knower cannot stand outside of what is to be known" [MM p37], you cannot know the totality by only focussing on the pieces whilst at the same time you cannot process the pieces without focussing on them, this paradox of indwelling and overall awareness is a line, a process I will try to follow - indwelling my research.

METHODOLOGY - THE POSTURE OF THE INTERVIEWER

What bias do I bring to the process of interviewing? To begin to answer that question I will put forward a brief position now. "The UK education system, and systems modelled or similar to it, do not make any attempt to develop quality education. Education is some glorified process which produces the type of workforce we now have, disillusioned and prepared to accept working practices beneath the dignity of humans. Black people knowing that employment is an area of discrimination realise that the education system at the higher level will not benefit them because the power professions exclude them even more so they do not apply themselves as much as they might".

If I am interviewing and all I do is push the interviewee to this position then my interviews will be biased and worthless. There are ways I feel I can improve my situation. Firstly I must determine the level and scope of bias, and to do this I am going to analyse my position before the interviews following the background study, and by doing this I hope to find out exactly what my starting position is. Once I have determined this in detail I need to consider each question and examine what is my bias, and then I can say these are the errors, the pitfalls I can make during the interview. Please see appendix 3D for my presentation of these provisions of trustworthiness.

The second position I can take is that of detachment; this is an approach used in meditation, and in appendix 2O I describe this process. I am suggesting a similar posture for the interview - I must remain detached. In order to remain detached I must know exactly where I stand on the issue; when I am interviewing I must try not to be biased therefore I need to know exactly how my bias might occur. I can observe my own responses to their answers, recognise that I have my own reaction but recognise that I must focus on unbiased questioning. It is this process which I shall use the term detached interviewing for.

 

"Enter into the world. Observe and wonder; experience and reflect. To understand a world you must become part of that world while at the same time remaining separate, a part of and apart from. Go then, and re turn to tell me what you see and hear, what you learn, and what you come to understand" [Patton p121 quoted MMp27]. This recommended approach is akin to what I call detached interviewing.

I want to further note attributes, for later reference, MM describe as part of the equipment of a qualitative researcher. "A person, that is, a human-as-instrument, is the only instrument which is flexible enough to capture the complexity, subtlety, and constantly changing situation which is the human experience [Lincoln & Guba pp193-4 quoted MM p28]. "Further a human investigator has knowledge-based experience, possesses an immediacy of the situation, and has the opportunity for clarification and summary on the sp ot. Finally, a human investigator can explore the atypical or idiosyncratic responses in ways that are not possible for any instrument which is constructed in advance of the beginning of the study" [idem].

MM [pp34-35] pointed out a further attribute to interview technique calling on a metaphor of Cezanne's painting (a metaphor originally discussed by Merleau Ponty 1964 p12). "The qualitative inquirer explores ..... the contours of the investigations as they emerge, that is, not as a pre-set research script to follow in detail. ..... (She) must move towards letting the painting establish its own contours, while constantly looking for the patterns as they emerge from the study."

Paraphrasing a quote from MM p29, quoted above, indwelling means that the investigator needs to build trust, I think this needs to be particularly stressed concerning my study. At the time I was working in Brixton on the Youth Centre magazine I have no doubt I had built and earned a strong element of trust (please see Professional Biography for discussion of this work). But I left Brixton in 1985. Fourteen years on, fashions change and attitudes will have changed; to be quite honest I don't know. Even though I have been working with black people here in Francistown since Jan 1993, this is not the same as working with Afro-Caribbeans in a hostile society in the UK. When I consider population strategies for the plan I am aware of this problem and will make attempts to overcome distrust, but I am also aware that it will not be by planning if my strategy is 100% successful.

Section 3.4 METHODOLOGY SUMMARY

In chapter 4 [pp43 -] MM describe an overview of 8 characteristics of qualitative research. In appendix 3F I explain step-by-step how my research fits those 8 characteristics, as they are a reframing of what I have already explained I have included it only as an appendix.

In section 3.1 I have established the theoretical basis as to why I have chosen qualitative research, and in section 3.3 I looked at the theoretical basis for the conduct of the interviews. The Analysis of Findings in chapter 6 is going to be founded on testimony. I want to know the reactions of interviewees to the strategies I am putting forward, it is they who are the cutting edge, the sieves of experience, who will be determining the validity of what I am considering. I am interested in the practical value of such strategies so I need to confirm through testimony what that value is. At the same time I need to explore with the interviewee the very strategies I am discussing as I outlined in section 3.3, and the case study interview is the most appropriate method for the material content and the need to explore.

In section 3.2 I have outlined the data collection procedures I am going to adopt, together with checks and balances whilst I am "on the job" including a sample sheet (see appendix 3G) which will guide me in choice of interviewees. At the same time I will be guided by the emergent design. How will the interviews go, will they lead to an analysis of the strategies as I hope? I

will keep a diary of this emerging design, and submit it in the Implementation chapter as appendix 4A as an integral part of the dissertation.


 

 

Appendix 3A Philosophical Underpinnings of Qualitative Research

Let us examine the "philosophical underpinnings" for qualitative study. "Qualitative research is based on a phenomenological position, while quantitative research is based on a positivist position. ..... Positivism and phenomenology are the two overarching perspectives that shape our understanding of research." MM [p3]. MM also refers to Comte as coining positivism, and Schon refers to the three principles of positivism [referred to in Schon p32] whose practice was intended "to cleanse men's minds of mysticism, superstition and other forms of pseudo-knowledge". As Schon [pp35-37] continues, "empirical science was not just a form of knowledge but the only source of positive knowledge of the world" and that this knowledge was to be extended to the "technical control of human society". Bacon also contributed to this situation. "The whole basis of his philosophy was practical: to give mankind mastery over the forces of nature by means of scientific discoveries and inventions. He held that philosophy should be kept separate from theology, not intimately blended with it as in scholasticism. ..... He was thus an advocate of the doctrine of "double truth", that of reason and that of revelation" Russell [p527]. Amongst others Bacon's epistemology of dichotomy, followed by Comte's affirmation as positivism being the only source, has led to a great area of understanding being divorced from the scientific arena. Pirsig (throughout) examines the dichotomy of this arena through his journey into the Church of Reason, and his way out of the dichotomy came through embracing quality; some of his approaches I have used as processes to quality (see derivation in Background Study). When I discount the positivist method of quantitative methods for examining quality it is because I feel that quality is part of that area of understanding that has become divorced from the scientific arena. But there is a difficulty with the phenomenological position that MM counters to positivism, and I think the root of what I am questioning lies in the notion of paradigm. To try to explain this I want to look at what was described as the positivist paradigm, or the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm described in section II and III of Capra's "Turning Point" variously as The Newtonian World machine, The Mechanistic View of Life, etc. As Capra and others have pointed out the problem with these paradigms is not what they explain but what they miss out, the misfits or anomalies as Kuhn calls them in "The Structures of Scientific Revolution". I would contend that what is not explained is part of the totality of the paradigm. Perhaps the evolution of the paradigm is that what people want to explain broadens into the area of the anomalies and because of that change of emphasis there becomes a change of paradigm.

So in terms of completeness that which MM describe as the positivist paradigm includes not only the knowledge and understanding which it tries to explain but also it contains the position that there are areas of knowledge and understanding that it does not try to explain, and those areas are dismissed under the guise that they are not "scientific". Bacon's paradigm was the "double truth" of reason and revelation. Yes, he was interested in reason explaining the world but also revelation was an integral part of his paradigm. Perhaps now using the terms of Bacon's paradigm, the existing scientific paradigm needs to try to explain revelation more.

"Lincoln and Guba (1985) and others (Hesse, 1980; Schwartz and Ogilvy,1989) call this traditional method the positivist paradigm. However there is also an emerging approach to understanding the world which we call the qualitative approach and which Lincoln and Guba call the emerging paradigm(1985). Each of these approaches or paradigms to research is built on a very different set of underlying assumptions" MM [p10].

There is an attempt within MM to describe as complementary qualitative and quantitative methodology, when they come to talk about paradigms of research "these two paradigms are based on two different and competing ways of understanding the world." MM [p16]. Here is what confuses me. Initially qualitative methodology is beginning to explain the anomalies of the positivist paradigm in a complementary fashion, and yet when they become paradigms of research, positivist and phenomenological paradigms of research are in competition.

Am I just playing with the semantics of paradigms here? I don't think so. I am concerned about the phenomenological aspect of the emerging paradigm, and I want to now consider the question of noumenon. Noumenon was introduced by Kant in "The Critique of Pure Reason" as a contrast to phenomenon. "In Kant" noumenon is "an object of purely intellectual intuition devoid of all phenomenal attributes" [The Oxford English Dictionary Vol X]. Isn't an object a phenomenon even if it is an object of intuition? In maths my intuition tells me to start the problem with such and such an axiom, that axiom is the object of my intuition and is a phenomenon. I intend to proceed by using the term noumenon as being that which produces the object, that which intuits. This usage of the term is then consistent with other dualities such as spiritmatter, unmanifest-manifest, and is consistent with the use of spiritual terms such as Tao, Virtue, Quality etc.

And here is why I am not playing with semantics, the phenomenological position does not attempt to understand noumena, spirit, quality, virtue etc(see discussion below for a possible explanation as to why the phenomenological position might attempt to understand these dualities). So we have the new complementary paradigm, phenomenalism, which includes positivism but ignores noumena. Or we have the paradigms of research which might be termed as mutually exclusive - the positivist paradigm of research and the phenomenalist paradigm of research. Yet both of these research positions do not recognise these important spiritual concepts. So again we have the existing paradigm of science engrossing itself in matter but at least expanding its ambit into the realms of phenomenalism not just accepting the limitations of positivism.

At the same time I was postulating that quality could not be defined, and that I then postulated processes to quality as means of evaluating access to quality education. So why am I being critical of these paradigms when quality cannot be defined. I am asking that science recognise such areas as quality. If I refer back to Bacon's "double truth" then MM's phenomenalist paradigm above is approaching the borders of reason and revelation. Reason became limited by positivism and quantitative method, now it is expanding into phenomenalism which pushes back the borders of revelation. As time goes on paradigm shifts will push further into the realms of revelation ...... to what? Pirsig throughout was trying to push back the borders of the Church of Reason and he came to quality.

It is the recognition of quality as an undefinable concept that I am trying to drive at, a concept that is part of the realm of revelation in the Bacon paradigm. Science need not be afraid of these unexplainables so long as it doesn't try to conquer nature, paradigms perhaps should put forward their "unexplainables" as part of their completeness.

I am further assured by the phenomenological approach taken by Husen in the

Selected Readings on Paradigms of Research as part of the Research Strategies Module literature. "The phenomenological, and later the hermeneutic, approach is holistic, it tries by means of empathy ..... to understand the motives behind human reactions. By widening the perspective and trying to understand human beings as individuals in their entirety and in their proper context it tries also to avoid the fragmentation caused by the positivistic and experimental approach that takes out a small slice which it subjects to closer scrutiny" [Husen quoted on p18]. A human being in entirety can easily encompass notions of quality if they so wish, the research model need not be limiting in this undefined area.

 

Appendix 3B Why the Phenomenalist Position might consider noumena

From the Concise Oxford dictionary phenomenon (philos) is "the object of a person's perception, what the senses or the mind notices". Now this clearly makes no attempt to encompass the realm of the spirit or quality. However when

MM talk about phenomenalism they describe the "phenomenological approach" as "focussing on understanding the meaning events have for the persons being studied" MM [p3]. Further they quote Valle and King, 1978) "In the truest sense, the person is viewed as having no existence apart from the world, and the world as having no existence apart from the person" quoted MM [p3]. In both these quotes their position on phenomenalism draws no distinction around the noumena-phenomena duality, in other words based on these quotes their phenomenon could quite easily contain both a noumenal and phenomenal component. The meaning depends on the person being studied, and the world and person are seen as "co-constituted", and the questions of quality, virtue etc are at the discretion of the individual being studied. So if questions on quality are framed in this total perspective, this co-constituted person-world context, then the phenomenalist paradigm of research (as put forward by MM) can legitimately be applied to a study on quality.

I think there are further justifications for examining these noumenal issues if we consider how MM move on to discuss the four philosophical categories of the phenomenalist paradigm; I reproduce here Table 1.1 MM [p4]:

 

Table 1.1 Framing research within philosophy

Areas of philosophy as they relate to Research Questions (Matriellez - gave up on exact wording)

< of the FONT reality. What is the nature of the nature about questions world?

raises Ontology ɭ>                        

What is real? What counts as evidence?

< of the in FONT nature    What is the relationship knowledge.construction and between knowing and the origins interested is   knower and the known? What Epistemology ɮ>       role do values play in

understanding?

Are causal links between bits of information possible?

What is research for?

[BZ Sorry formatting problem in the original]

A cursory glance at these philosophical concepts allows undefined quality to be part of qualitative research from the position of the phenomenalist paradigm. Is quality part of reality - an ontological question? Can quality be known without being defined - an epistemological question? And from a teleological point of view look at these two definitions in the Concise Oxford Dictionary:

Philos the explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes

Theol the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world

Isn't quality part of the design of the world? I feel justified in claiming that undefined quality could be encompassed within this philosophical framework of the phenomenalist position. The Middle Way

I am concerned about the academic need to compete over the positivistic and phenomenalistic paradigms of research. For me positivism and phenomenalism should be joined, together with noumenal considerations if necessary, into one research paradigm. Surely the issue is not to have competing paradigms, surely the issue is what research method is most suited to the situation. Do girls do better than boys in GCSE maths? It would be senseless and inconclusive to use anything other than statistical proof (with error factor) to answer this easily quantifiable question. Why do some girls make better mathematicians than some boys? A question like this is not asking for a statistical answer, it is looking for reasons. Maybe the purpose is to help teachers to encourage girls to do better. Imagine this interaction:-

BZ Chantelle, I am worried about how well you are doing at maths.

Chant. So am I, sir. Can you tell me how to improve?

BZ Well, 32% girls do better if they have a woman maths teacher, 42.5% of girls do better if the teacher makes sure that girls answer as many questions as boys, and 73.41% of girls do better if there is strong discipline in the classroom.

Chant. Thank you, sir. You have been very helpful. 

But, of course, not much help has been offered despite what might be accurate data. The teacher needs to be aware of different factors that can help girls improve at maths. At the same time he needs to understand the particular student and find out what are the particular difficulties she experiences. And finally he needs to gain the student's trust so that when he offers her a strategy for improvement she will follow it and work with him to make an improvement.

How can research help in this case? It could help the teacher see what might be the factors, it could perhaps provide case studies where a teacher has undergone such an interaction and has examined the outcome of the interaction and considered the success. Research should also make this information easily available to the teacher in a palatable form so that the teacher can put it into practice. And the education authorities should ensure that there is sufficient valid in-service training to enable the teacher to internalise and even practice the results of the research.

Historically I can see there is a need for the paradigms to compete, the prevailing positivist paradigm clearly lacks the flexibility to allow different forms of research practice. Making unnecessary claims concerning the qualitative approach (see The Human Being in Appendix 3C) cannot help the argument, let the tolerance of The Middle Way prevail.

 

Appendix 3C The Human Being

In this appendix I discuss the notion of human being presented in support of qualitative methodology. I hope to show that certain posturing is not positive in the discussion of paradigms. I referred to this in The Middle Way as part of Appendix 3B.

I am concerned about the notions of the human being presented by Hitchcock and Hughes (H&H pp22-29 Selected Readings on Paradigms of Research). I feel there are two processes happening in their approach. They have a perception of a stereotypical human being required by quantitative research; those researchers are supposed to try "to make human beings out to be "things" whose actions are unproblematic, clearly self-evident, quantifiable, and able to be objectively investigated." Bertrand Russell writes an essay on philosophy and gets 100%, Plato writes an essay and also gets 100%. Quantitative methods record 100 for both Russell and Plato. Does that mean that the essays, and the process of writing those 2 essays, were unproblematic actions which were clearly self-evident? Certainly not! Would an objective investigation legitimately say that both essays were of the highest quality when they see the quantities -100%? Yes, and wouldn't they be right? The point I am making is that in quantitative methods the description of why a particular action takes place is lost information because only the quantity is recorded.

Although the information is lost to the analyst it does not say that the human being is passive or active, reflective or automative, what the human being does that leads to the recording of the observation is contained in the quantity but is lost to the analyst. This is both the advantage and the disadvantage of the method. The disadvantage is clearly the loss to the analyst of the understanding and the processes of the actor which have led to the quantity that was recorded. The advantage is that if the statistical model and techniques are applied correctly, then the statistician and then therefore the researcher can state with a level of accuracy that the hypothesis is going to be correct with 0.5% error. As a method of proof in a social situation, where proof is difficult because of the number of variables, this categoric statement is very useful.

But quite rightly it is recognised that much information is lost, why did the teacher send the student out of the classroom? Why were the students at Ridings ignoring the teacher and generally behaving so badly? This cannot possibly be recorded in their GCSE results.

In my view in the above quote H&H are not fully grasping the strength of the conclusions of statistical methods, and are disparaging because of their obvious, and stated, bias.

They then go on to describe the advantages of the qualitative approach. "Human beings are thinking, feeling, conscious, language- and symbol-using creatures.

Interpretative researchers therefore stress the principles of intentionality to grasp the active side of human behaviour. In contrast to the often-passive view of individuals reacting to situations or stimuli, interpretative researchers stress that human action is for the most part deliberate. They stress that people do not simply react to events and situations but reflect on this situation and act on this reflection, in a reflective way" [H&H p28]. Yeah, right!! Which planet of human beings do these people know? If that isn't fitting square pegs in round holes to suit their own viewpoint I don't know what is.

I have just written an incident report on some student, who refused to leave the classroom to complete the homework he should have done. Why did I do that? Do I always do it? No. Has the student always done the work? Do I like the student? Was his manner suitably polite even if defiant? Did the boss tell me off 10 minutes ago? Did the car break down on the way to work? A flu virus entered my body yesterday and it is gestating, it is not fully blown flu yet but it is beginning to affect my mind and judgement a bit but I don't know. My girlfriend refused sex last night and I really wanted it and I'm still ratty inside even though I don't know it. In a previous reincarnation this boy had slept with the wife of my previous reincarnation. Despite years of professional objectivity can we be sure we are being fair? Not as professionals with experience can we justify our actions but are we being fair?

How can we possibly say that our actions are a consequence of our intentions and deliberations? Again this is an advantage of the quantitative method because they only quantify results but do not make any assumptions about intentions or deliberations. What about the 1992 General Election? Every single poll, up to the Exit poll, said Labour would win, the best scenario for the Tories was a hung parliament, yet when the results came out it was a Tory majority by approximately 20 seats. Were the polling methods wrong? No, they were statistically correct and carried out properly as far as I know; they were carried out by professional market researchers - reputable companies. No the people lied to the pollsters. Why? I think because the people were ashamed to admit they were going to vote Tory because of all the bad things the Tories had done, but I think they were voting that way because it feathered their nest.

Whether that analysis is correct or not, one thing is clear - people can lie to researchers. But also people can lie to themselves as to their motivations, intentions and reflections. Justifications are also an important part of a teacher's armoury. In this world of children's rights, a teacher has a bad day and some junior barrack-room lawyer spots this and tries to exact revenge for last week's detention. The teacher is provoked into doing something that is close to the boundaries of professionalism; then the teacher is likely to have to spend hours justifying their actions. Without the ability of retrospective justification a teacher could end up in regular trouble, wasting their time instead of teaching, because students are allowed to take advantage of adults in the system.

To describe human beings as intentional, deliberate and reflective to support the cause of qualitative research is extremely academic. But it is not necessary to make such outlandish justifications for qualitative methods. In a social situation, motivations, rationales, intentions, deliberations and reflections must be investigated. Even if the researcher only hears what the teacher likes to tell them that is not important, what is important is to investigate that part of the situation, to try to understand why things happen not simply to measure whether they have happened or not.

Descriptive methods clearly allow you to investigate areas of human behaviour not open to quantification, areas such as quality education, spiritual dynamic in teacher vocation, and many many others. How can we possibly learn about education if we ignore such factors?

 

Appendix 3D PROVISIONS FOR TRUSTWORTHINESS

 

As part of indwelling the research it is essential for me to determine the level of bias I am bringing to the interview process. To this end I am carrying out the following baseline procedures by considering the research and interview questions myself before any interviewing.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS Ė BASELINE

First response to this question is a generalisation - no. Let me be clear, I draw a distinction between achieving examination grades and receiving a quality education. For some black people (many?) quality education would be defined by a school success and getting good grades, in my terms achievement education. I have no doubts at all as to the high motivation engendered by achievement, I would claim that that was almost 100% amongst black people, the desire to get top grades. The breakdown comes with two dilemmas; firstly because of racist employment practices even with qualifications black people might not get employment. Under the various pressures of racism, peers and academic requirements, achievement motivation wanes and the desire for achievement can translate into apathy especially amongst the more able - trust is a factor here. In my view, as a generalisation, quality is not a drive except where quality is needed to raise grades. But there is a contradiction here. You require quality, say in the form of creativity, to achieve a top grade, and no amount of desire can create quality. I therefore claim there needs to be a desire for quality as well as a desire for success. I would also claim that there is a strong cultural difference here. UK teachers have been trained into notions of self-realisation, I would claim this is a form of searching for quality. I would also claim that many such teachers would not see a fierce demand for achievement as consistent with self-realisation or quality. Examine this notion as part of the emergent design amending it as part of the interview. Real education in my view actually contains its own motivation, in a sense it is natural. I would claim that as part of the natural process of learning quality is its own motivation. Consider the notion of art for art's sake. When an artist is s/he gains energy and inspiration through the work itself (the muse!), I claim energy & inspiration can come in all areas of work - academic or otherwise. I like to see the promotion of this form of interest motivation.

How does alienation affect the motivation of black people for achieving quality education?

One aspect of Marx's definition of alienation is alienation from Nature. I contend that learning is a natural process so therefore alienation can be seen as preventing education occurring. It is quite clear that alienation affects most black people within the UK education . What is not so clear is that what they perceive as alienation might not be the same alienation that prevents quality education. I would contend that it is. I therefore need to draw out from the interviewee the connection between their view of alienation and mine. It would almost define alienation as that process which prevents people from achieving a quality education, and as black people clearly suffer greater alienation than groups in the system it is less likely that they are going to be successful (to gain quality education). I must establish in the background study the connection between alienation and education.

The moment I feel that the dominant approach in UK education practice is effectively to accept that black people will not be successful. They elaborate the causes of racism, and allow black people to use them as excuses for failure. This might take the form of "try to overcome the negative factors of racism as the system tries to fight racism". People however know that the system only propagates racism so this counselling is based on a false premise, and therefore has little chance of success. The approach has to be positive and to be geared towards building the individual strengths of the student. This strength has to be positive ie how can we positively achieve quality, not negative in the sense of negatively overcoming racism. By focussing on positive achievement, the counselling has greater chance of success, maintaining the negative arena of wallowing in the mire of racism cannot be constructive. In meditational terms black people should be encouraged to detach themselves from traps of racism and focus in on academic success. Negative images are repeatedly thrown at black people even by those who are trying help them succeed. One image of educational success is that of schools in Africa. In Africa black students have a much healthier attitude than most students in the UK and other Western countries, black or white. With minimal budgets, the only aids being board and chalk, relatively speaking African students achieve remarkable success; it is quite clear that it is not an innate failing of black people when you look at their success in Africa. How many Africans have achieved qualifications and are looking for higher education in the West but cannot afford the fees - and in Africa they cannot afford to maintain higher education establishments. Viewed in this context black people cannot be seen as educational failures, it is only in the context of interaction with Western education practice that problems arise. It is this interaction that needs to be examined, and then counselling strategies be introduced to maintain black people on the track of their traditional success in education. Let me reiterate that the counselling strategies process I want to encourage would be line with the traditional success black people have had in Africa. There have been hardships within the African education process yet black people have overcome these hardships and have proven successful given the financial restrictions. In the UK there is far greater money spent on education but in terms of the black issue it is not producing results. Black people of African origin have a history of underachievement in the UK, and suffer under the current approach of highlighting the deficiencies of the UK system and not doing enough about it. This verbal approach has to be improved but that needs to be considered elsewhere, I want to consider the question of counselling strategies to help people return to the traditional success of Africa. Using this approach then we are looking at strengthening the power and direction of students within UK education. It is an approach which builds on strengths and not focuses on weakness - weakness that is not inherent but that is placed on people by the racist system.

Let's consider the question of the white system. It is undoubtedly true that white people hold the power professions, it is also undoubtedly true that there is racism in employment practices. But is there racism in exam marks - no? An exam script is an exam script so focus on improving the exam script. Keep your mind on the work and not on the related issues of racism, teacher expectation, and many others. Let us examine this in an African perspective. Many countries have dictatorships, freedom of speech is limited, there is a great difference in standard of living, many many faults Ė there are innumerable excuses for failure but the dominant practice is that students do not use those excuses and focus on the reasons for success. Undoubtedly one factor affecting this is the recognition that it is their black system, although this factor cannot be denied at the same time if you focus on something which cannot be changed then you are perpetuating the problem. I cannot become a member of the power professions because I am not from the upper class, but I can still work for academic achievement. It is not the same but if I focussed on this inherent injustice I would never be content. I suppose the counselling is not to focus on the injustices but just keep your mind on the academic.

Teachers indulge in social analysis, they try to explain racism, they become apologists for the system. Why? I didn't create the system, many concerned teachers spent much of their life fighting the direction the system takes them in, why must I apologise for a system that I don't believe in? What is my job? To educate. Without here going into a full definition of what education is, surely my advice can be concerned with education. How do the students do the maths? With this approach I would probably now be considered an uncaring teacher by many in the profession, but if all the teachers were focussing on the needs of the subject in the first place, and not on social issues that they have no control of, then my position might not be seen as uncaring. For the teachers they should keep their minds on the job, and help the students focus on the academic - and not on the injustices.

BASELINE - INTERVIEW PROCEDURE

Teachers Good and bad - what reactions?

Affect her work? Could she as whole have overcome her lack of trust. Am using the concept of trust in the system as a day-to-day notion of non-alienation. Alienation is an issue that concerns me because it allows for an illdisciplined attitude. The way that you can be successful academically is to apply yourself properly in all, whatever the personal excuse for not working. As an adult we are expected to return to work even when we are still grieving, if we then grieve excessively whilst at work our job could be under threat. In schools we are training for adult working so we should train with a disciplined approach. Although we all want to trust our teachers, perhaps that is a luxury, not all teachers are super heroes. In my view a trusted teacher is a benefit, an advantage, but I still have to work for all the teachers - that is the disciplined approach. As a counselling strategy it is essential to instill the strength in students that they have the discipline to work for all teachers of trust or other forms of preference.

Examinations require a certain approach, students can compromise with this approach in order to pass the exams but let's be clear this leads to a lessening of quality (see later). There needs to be a clear counselling strategy here to avoid cultural conflict. There needs to be an understanding of how these hidden conflicts arise, need to be made aware of these conflicts at the appropriate time but then need to be guided away from focussing on these issues into the academic track. Failure to do this could be a non-quality track. Where do these hidden conflicts come from? If a student is required to compromise themselves in order to pass an exam work cannot be quality work because at the highest level of intelligence they cannot be committed to the work. However much the work might be disliked it has to be accepted by the student. I am not accepting the situation, but whose job is it to change it? The student's? No!

It has to be changed by educationalists at various levels but those educationalists are not making the changes. If we involve students in these dilemmas then they cannot dedicate themselves to their studies. The issue here is to guide the students through the system. Given that the education system is part of UK society there must be aspects of the education, that creates, or at least is integrated into, that system, which is also racist. If we focus on those issues the students will become demotivated because they will always be in conflict with the racism. Regarding this situation however it is the teaching profession that is confused. They are not certain as to what they should focus on. Some teachers would claim that students focus on the racism to learn what life is really like. Others would claim that should only focus on exam results. Others would claim the hidden curriculum is more important. This is why I say the teaching profession is confused, diverse rationales lead to a lack of focus for the students, and they also become disoriented. In African schools there is no confusion. They do not study the dynamics of racism, questions of corruption that affect their daily lives are not raised because it is not an issue for students. The curriculum is defined by those above, and in the schools teachers deliver the defined curriculum. There are various forums for making changes, there is some accountability, but in the schools the teachers deliver the curriculum. And the students are only given the choice of focussing on the academic subjects leading to exam passes. Whether the liberal West likes this hierarchical approach or not, what the approach does succeed in doing is focussing the students' minds on their work only. Their model is performance-oriented only.

MOTIVATION) Did you want to do well at school? Top in class? Good exam results? What do these factors mean to you? Cognitive, self-enhancement, affiliation.

Teacher, Parent, Peer pressure.

Reactions to not working in white school

Performance-oriented Model

Try Harder, Pay Attention and Listen.

I have a fear that the main form of motivation is to get the grades to get a job. And because there are limited jobs for black people then the grades are limited. Although culturally the germ of motivation for success in exams is present, in practice that becomes little in evidence because of all the other pressures, and black people show limited success. I would suspect that most black people would subscribe in theory to the oriented model but in practice racism demotivates.

IDENTITY AND CULTURE

Identity Employment and Achievement. How important is her racial identity in terms of Cecil Rhodes is a good man? How important is racial identity when it means that she could be excluded form the job market? Can she accept being detached from race to be successful, or does she see it as racelessness? Is it working in a white system or is it a capitalist system? We need to investigate the relationships between identity jobs and achievement. Can black people eat crow like the rest of us to get a job, but then we don't have all the racial pressures they are under. So I need to investigate their reactions to "Cecil Rhodes is a good man", and their having to write it in exams. Detached from race and culture, difference in control but not in output, can they embrace it? Is it white capitalist?

NEGRO-BLACK MODEL

How important is the question of cultural assimilation through education? Pre-encounter

Encounter

Immersion-Emersion

Internalisation

Internalisation-Commitment

Pre-encounter

"During this initial stage of identity development individuals view the world from a white frame of reference such that they think and behave in ways that negate their Blackness" [Ford 2 p410].

Encounter

"During this second stage, Blacks want to be viewed as just "human beings"

rather than associated with a racial group" [idem]

Immersion-Emersion

"This stage seems to be the antithesis of the pre-encounter stage. During this period of transition individuals actually adopt a new frame of reference. They struggle to rid themselves of an invisible identity and cling to all elements of Blackness. They cherish and glorify all that is black" [idem].

Internalisation

"At this stage of development the individual becomes more bicultural, pluralistic and non-racist (Cross, 1978). A calm, secure demeanour replaces tension, emotionality, and defensiveness (Cross, 1980). Internalized Blacks generally regard themselves positively" [idem].

Internalisation-Commitment

"This final stage of racial identity development is distinguishable from the fourth stage, because the individual becomes more active politically to bring about change for other Blacks" [idem].

I shall put this model to the interviewees. I suspect it will have some reference to them. NEGROMACHY

Negromachy is referred to as "confusion about self-worth and dependence on the dominant culture for self-definition. Gifted Blacks suffering from negromachy are thought to be compliant, subservient, oversensitive to racial issues, and filled with repressed rage" [Ford2 p412]. Such a student could also be described as well-behaved and racially-aware - intelligent, but because that student is black some adults in the immersion-emersion stage associate well-educated black students with a negative image - negromachy. Of course some black students exhibiting those characteristics might be going through a racial identity crisis such as negromachy. Here in Botswana students described as compliant, subservient, and sensitive to racial issues are taught to repress their anger at injustices and conform the required social norm. It is not thought necessary here to coin a term like negromachy to describe their normal upbringing - respectful compliance and controlled subservience are virtues within the Botswana education system. Yet in the US such students are suffering from negromachy. To my mind this confusion is caused by the need of some to identify academic success, and success in jobs, with white culture - as such the oppressor. I would suggest that this could be part of the immersion-emersion stage of racial identity development, and needs to be counselled against. If someone has reached the stage of internalisation-commitment, they will be polite and respectful as would any mature person, they would be racially aware but they will have a controlled rage as to the position of black people in society and that rage will be part of the driving force of their commitment. Does that person suffer from negromachy? The counselling strategy here is to ask the students to have a realistic perspective on the relationship between racial identity, academic success and job opportunities.

After examining certain cultural issues with the students Ford suggests that "counsellors should work with these students on problems associated with academic success and upward mobility" [Ford2 p412], "as Graves(1977) stated achieving a measure of success in society is, by and large, a far more difficult task for Blacks than it is for other Americans"[idem] - other British people. think this is just academic and unreal, and a projection beyond what can be entered into. Will see if their reactions are the same.

Discuss counselling strategies as a way forward.

Detaching from race.

Positive Images not rockstars

Mentoring - successful older students

Counsel against Immersion-emersion trap of only working for black teachers.

Self-differentiation vs Preoccupation with Assimilation

Ego-transcendence vs Self-Absorption

Against Defence mechanisms eg excuses for failure

Against isolation from both cultures

General approach to counselling Yalom (1985) recommends

Interpersonal Interaction

Establishing Universality

Instilling Hope counselling to

Imparting Information

Developing socialization techniques" [Ford2p414]

Discuss the counselling strategies. I expect the answers will be of the "if the cap wear it" variety.

In this part of the interview I want to try to determine how the interviewee perceives quality.

Good school? We have talked about good schools above. What do you really mean by good? Is it results? Is it suitability for taking your place in society? Is that jobs? Is that being a good member of society? Is it more personal? Looking at what makes a person good. Summarise C1) Does she agree?) Quality? Having established a bit about what is good, can take it further to examine quality - use background notes.) Quality Education? Here I have interchanged good and quality but that will have happened in discussion anyway - probably. I hope in the answer to this question to have got the interviewee to relate answers to D1) to quality education - difficult.

BZ make notes here to refer to later, expect to see good equated with exam success and that there be limited awareness the quality issue. I see this as a consequence of the qualifications for jobs. Quality education is grade A's.) See Qualien - basic notion that double alienaton leads to slave mentality and Quality to fashion and consumerism, what about back to quality? They think that they will not be alienated from quality as quality in schools and education is on their agenda, the agenda is qualifications. And if the qualifications are not then the agenda is image, the white man does not control me. I have style, I look good even if I am not passing exams.

OTHER

This part is to allow the interviewee to talk about other factors which influenced the quality of her education. BZ make notes as you go along about other factors (see interview sheet)

FINAL

If you were advising teachers how to help black students achieve high quality what would you tell them to do?

 

Appendix 3E INTERVIEW PROCEDURE

An interview is an investigation with the interviewee, and as such the questions I ask must be much more flexible than a questionnaire. I am going to write these questions as keywords and purpose, and then use the situation to establish whether the purpose has been achieved. INTO TAPE RECORDER SUBJECT#, DATE AND TIME, PURPOSE)

Age)

Sex)

Qualifications

Measure of Success in education system. Viewpoint on success

Note I am hopefully in terms of this M Ed interviewing intelligent failures as well.

Does she consider herself a success or failure, how well did she do?

School) Type) Good school A brief answer.

Was it hard to work easy to work? Discipline?

Good results?)

How did you find the school for working in?)

Do you think your school had a good or bad influence on your academic progress?

BZ make notes here& ALIENATION)

Teachers Good and bad - what reactions?

Affect her work?

Could she as whole have overcome her lack of trust. Am using the concept of trust in system as a day-to-day notion of non-alienation.

Begin alienation by looking at Kwame and his attutude to colonial/liberal education.

Ask for definition. By definition was she alienated. Use background notes to prompt a greater understanding of alienation What about Samuel Jackson(4.1.13) MOTIVATION)

Did you want to do well at school? Top in class? Good exam results?) What do these factors mean to you?

Cognitive, self-enhancement, affiliation.

Teacher, Parent, Peer pressure.

Reactions to not working in white school)

Performance-oriented Model

Try Harder, Pay Attention and Listen.

IDENTITY AND CULTURE)

Identity Employment and Achievement. How important is her racial identity in terms of Cecil Rhodes is a good man? How important is racial identity when it means that she could be excluded from the job market? Can she accept being detached from race to be successful, or does she see it as racelessness? Is it

working in a white system or is it a capitalist system?)

 

Negro- Black Model

How important is the question of cultural assimilation through education? Pre-encounter

Encounter

Immersion-Emersion

Internalisation

Internalisation-Commitment

Pre-encounter

"During this initial stage of identity development individuals view the world from a white frame of reference such that they think and behave in ways that negate their Blackness" [Ford 2 p410].

Encounter

"During this second stage, Blacks want to be viewed as just "human beings" rather than associated with a racial group" [idem]

Immersion-Emersion

"This stage seems to be the antithesis of the pre-encounter stage. During this period of transition individuals actually adopt a new frame of reference. They struggle to rid themselves of an invisible identity and cling to all elements of Blackness. They cherish and glorify all that is black" [idem].

Internalisation

"At this stage of development the individual becomes more bicultural, pluralistic and non-racist (Cross, 1978). A calm, secure demeanour replaces tension, emotionality, and defensiveness (Cross, 1980). Internalized Blacks generally regard themselves positively" [idem].

Internalisation-Commitment

"This final stage of racial identity development is distinguishable from the fourth stage , because the individual becomes more active politically to bring about change for other Blacks" [idem].)

Negromachy

Negromachy is referred to as "confusion about self-worth and dependence on the dominant culture for self-definition. Gifted Blacks suffering from negromachy are thought to be compliant, subservient, oversensitive to racial issues, and filled with repressed rage" [Ford2 p412]. Such a student could also be described as well-behaved and racially-aware - intelligent, but because that student is black some adults in the immersion-emersion stage associate well-educated black students with a negative image - negromachy. Of course some black students exhibiting those characteristics might be going through a racial identity crisis such as negromachy. Here in Botswana students described as compliant, subservient, and sensitive to racial issues are taught to repress their anger at injustices and conform the required social norm. It is not thought necessary here to coin a term like negromachy to describe their normal upbringing - respectful compliance and controlled subservience are virtues within the Botswana education system. Yet in the US such students are suffering from negromachy. To my mind this confusion is caused by the need of some to identify academic success, and success in jobs, with white culture - as such the oppressor. I would suggest that this could be part of the immersion-emersion stage of racial identity development, and needs to be counselled against. If someone has reached the stage of internalisation-commitment, they will be polite and respectful as would any mature person, they would be racially aware but they will have a controlled rage as to the position of black people in society and that rage will be part of the driving force of their commitment. Does that person suffer from negromachy? The counselling strategy here is to ask the students to have a realistic perspective on the relationship between racial identity, academic success and job opportunities. After examining certain cultural issues with the students Ford suggests that "Counsellors should work with these students on problems associated with academic success and upward mobility" [Ford2 p412], "as Graves(1977) stated achieving a measure of success in society is, by and large, a far more difficult task for Blacks than it is for other Americans"[idem] - other British people.

Discuss counselling strategies as a way forward Detaching from race. positive Images not rockstars

Mentoring - successful older students

Counsel against Immersion-emersion trap of only working for black teachers.

Self-differentiation vs Preoccupation with Assimilation

Ego-transcendence vs Self-Absorption

Against Defence mechanisms eg excuses for failure

Against isolation form both cultures

General approach to counselling "Yalom (1985) recommends group counselling to be characterised by:-

Interaction Interpersonal

Universality Establishing

Hope Instilling

Information Imparting

Developing socialization techniques. [Ford2 p414]

 

In this part of the interview I want to try to determine how the interviewee perceives quality.

Good school? We have talked about good schools above. What do you really mean by good? Is it results? Is it suitability for taking your place in society? Is that jobs? Is that being a good member of society? Is it more personal? Looking at what makes a person good. Summarise. Does she agree?

Quality? Having established a bit about what is good, can take it further to examine quality - use background notes.)

Quality Education? Here I have interchanged good and quality but that will have happened in discussion anyway - probably. I hope in the answer to this question to have got the interviewee to relate answers to to quality education difficult.

(BZ make notes here to refer to later)

Alienation and Quality

See Qualien - basic notion that double alienaton leads to slave to fashion and consumerism, what about back to quality?)

OTHER

This part is to allow the interviewee to talk about other factors which influenced the quality of her education

BZ make notes as you go along about other factors

(see interview sheet) FINAL

If you were advising teachers how to help black students achieve high quality what would you tell them to do?

 

 

 

Appendix 3F Characteristics of Qualitative Research

In Ch 4 "Designing Qualitative Research - An Overview" [MM pp 43 -], they list

8 characteristics of qualitative research:-

1)   An exploratory and descriptive focus

2)   Emergent design

3)   A purposive sample

4)   Data collection in the natural setting

5)   Emphasis on "human-as-instrument"

6)   Qualitative methods of data collection

7)   Early and ongoing inductive analysis

8)   A case study approach to reporting research outcomes

An exploratory and descriptive focus - In my research I am asking black students educated in UK schools to explore their experience of that system and to describe factors that might have affected their achieving a quality education.

Emergent design - Through background study I have developed a skeleton structure of questions which I hope to have answered. To begin with I shall interview one person (known) and send questionnaires to several. Although I have a clear idea as to the areas of interest I have stipulated research questions to be answered as part of the Research Strategies process. I see my questions changing as I go along depending on answers, and I see this as leading to the research questions also altering. Although my main themes of quality, motivation and alienation in an equal opportunities framework are unlikely to change, I do see the detail of these themes emerging as a consequence of the questions and interviews. If I knew the reasons or factors there would be no research.

A purposive sample - This is self-evident. The purpose of the research is to question black people to determine factors affecting their UK education to enable me to counsel black achievement of quality education.

Data collection in the natural setting - If the natural setting is the UK then I qualify. But seriously I am asking interviewees to examine their personal history and to consider factors contained therein, there is no natural setting. Emphasis on "human-as-instrument" - Although I am using initial questionnaires the main emphasis of the research is interview and as such I shall be "culling meaning from people's words" [MM p 46].

Qualitative methods of data collection - My first method of data collection will be a questionnaire. Although this is formal I see the questions as being primarily open-ended seeking interviewee's personal exploration to describe the factors affecting their achievement. I am not looking for a quantified response. I will also be conducting a pilot interview asking the interviewee to explore and describe personal factors. From these initial qualitative approaches I shall enhance the questions to try to hone in on the type of factors and aspects of achievement I am most interested in. If it comes off I shall also try to hold a group workshop to allow the group to discuss and hopefully develop the issues concerned.

Early and ongoing inductive analysis - Immediately I get answers to questions and the pilot interview I shall re-examine my aims. Am I getting the factors I want? If not, how can I get them? Will the answers I am getting take me in the direction I am looking for in terms of my themes within EOPS?

 

Appendix 3G SAMPLE SHEET

CATEGORY

Age 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60

Sex Female Male

Type of School Single sex Mixed Comprehensive Not Comp

State Church Private

Nationality

Generation/View of UK OTHER

Born Outside UK

First

Second

Other

 


 

Chapter4 Implementation Process

I prepared an interview folder with the interview schedule, sample characteristics summary, individual summary sheet, and supporting evidence (credentials) including magazines and the work on culture and anti-racism from my professional biography. Then with my tape recorder I started. For full details of the interview process please see appendix 4A - the Interview Diary.

In the later parts of this chapter I shall be introducing the interviewees. In the dissertation I shall be using false names as this was what I told them. In Appendix 4B on Personnel Profiles, I have detailed certain information that will give greater validity to the authority of some of the statements, without disclosing particularly who they are. To be honest I believe that I am being academically correct rather than being sensitive to their desires, as they required of me no expression of confidentiality.

Let me first note that I had surprisingly little trouble as a white man interviewing black people about sensitive black issues. On only one occasion did the issue arise, and this was because the person concerned had been asked on many occasions to be interviewed. Further he had recently been a student where he had come into conflict with liberal white middle-class males - me only younger! We however ended up on a friendly basis and I would expect to see him again.

This is the only place in the dissertation where I am going to admit that I have a significant amount of spoiled data - I either messed up the taping or there was too much background noise from the recorder or the environments. You will see an inconsistency between the interview process here and the transcripts in presentation of findings in chapter 5.

To begin with I interviewed a colleague, Abbey, here in Botswana, and sent questionnaires to the UK and asked friends to circulate them. 3 were returned. Please note that I also had a second interview with the colleague but that data was not recoverable.

As I suggested I started by going to the NUT and meeting an interviewee who worked in the EOPS department. I was staying with a friend who I also interviewed. Then I went to the University of London building, and was able to interview 2 students in their lounge.

At this stage I noticed a possible problem. There were suggestions from all 4 that conditions in the schools were such that if a black student wanted to achieve they could. Now this certainly was not my experience in Inner London so I began to question whether some of the premises of my dissertation were fully founded.

A friend of mine from Botswana was working in an Inner City school, and I was fortunate enough to catch him on a day-off - and he was going into school! I went with him. When I went to the head teacher to ask permission to speak to some of his students, he gave me an interview. It was also fortuitous that he used to work in a neighbouring school in Hove so it was a deep and pleasant discussion. At the school I was able to interview 2 students, and I also interviewed my friend to determine his view of the ethos of the school.

It was Xmas, and after I was in Manchester. I went to the Public Library with a view to finding appropriate organisations in order to interview their staff. Also at the same time from my interviews at the Inner City school I determined that I would like to discuss with someone the state of race (or black) counselling. This should have been a target of my preparation! I discovered that attached to Manchester University was someone who worked arranging interviews with community organisations. I went to see him, and he was involved with a mentoring programme at the university and suggested I speak to someone from that. I did.

Over Xmas itself, as is detailed in my diary, I had begun to question my assumptions. As I said above I began to question whether Inner City schools had the same problems as I had experienced, problems which had premised the dissertation. I was able to investigate this at the Inner City school my friend taught at.

But I had also become concerned about the issue of race in UK society. As I had been walking around I noticed that there appeared not to be the tension that I used to notice. 15 years ago when I moved from London to Brighton I noticed a relief in tension down there, and initially when I returned to London I had found the atmosphere quite oppressive in places that I used to visit regularly. I did not notice that atmosphere when I began my interview process.

 

Certain areas such as the Tube had previously been a focus of racial tension.

 

Black youths would gather together and being young often behave outrageously. This would often elicit racist reactions such as white people mumbling to themselves about the behaviour of young black boys. I did not see any of that. Also this time I did not see any such anti-social behaviour from white youths either. As this appeared to be a change for me I felt I needed to investigate this in interviews.

 

As I said above my first interviewee was from the mentoring service at Manchester University. He was a very good contact. Not only was he willing to be interviewed but he also had contacts with others. He was able to put me in touch with a woman who was willing to help with the mentoring. He gave me the contact for a race counsellor who was also involved in mentoring with schools. I wanted a contact with business, and he gave me the name of someone who supported the mentoring but who also worked in business. And finally he suggested that I contact someone from a community organisation in Manchester. Fortunately I was able to interview all of these people.

After interviewing Ahmed I met with Denise who worked for a state community organisation. With Ahmed I discussed the State of the Struggle, the phrase we used to describe how race relations were. As well I was able to discuss mentoring with him, and this developed into an important theme in the dissertation. With Denise I was able to get a view of her own personal history, as well as analysing the State of the Struggle from her own and an official perspective. Ahmed also helped me contact Esther and I was able to discuss her own experiences at school and in jobs.

I now wanted to see how mentoring worked in schools, and was lucky to interview Allen who worked in a mentoring project attached to a college; this project also worked in schools.

Next I spoke to Abraham who worked in a project to promote black business.

Abraham also discussed his own school experience, as well as his experiences in promoting black business. I was not satisfied with the material I had gained concerning quality and whether black people perceived quality education any differently. I was able to interview someone who worked with a black writers' workshop but that data also could not be recovered.

Once I had completed that interview with the writer I felt that I had at least done some justice to the aims of my dissertation although I would have liked to speak to far more people.

 

Appendix 4A Interview Diary

 

I have prepared my interview folder with the interview schedule, sample characteristics summary, individual summary sheet, and supporting evidence (credentials) including magazines and the work on culture and anti-racism from professional biography.

I have begun working on the interviews, and have had some success. Everybody I have asked has given me some time! I will start an interview summary dbase. I started by interviewing Gavin and then a NUT contact. After doing this, I began to have some reservations. I wondered whether some of my preparation was in error, and that the same conditions do not apply as applied when I was working in the UK. I also felt that there are social changes afoot in the UK, and, if so, wondered whether these also affected what I was considering.

Let me examine this in detail. One of the interviewees suggested that if the students wanted to work they could, and this tended to point to an error on my part. She suggested that she could work as hard or as little as she wanted, as the teachers were excellent and provided for this. It was only later that I realised that she was union and this could have been a political position. However I began to ask, was this true?

If it was true then some of my dissertation propositions could have been in error. Fortunately I was able to investigate a school. A friend was working in an Inner City school, and I interviewed him. Following this I went to his school and got an interview with the headmaster. Then he agreed that I could interview some students. My friend took me to a class, and I asked this girl I thought was nice. She was special. Then I went back in the afternoon, and spoke to a boy who appeared a little disruptive Ė the teacher said he was thankful I was removing him, I think he meant it. All the interviews helped me get an analysis of what a difficult school is like. I actually came away heartened because compared to my day life in this school was much more peaceful Ė I even feel less worried if I have to go back and take a temporary job there.

I decided that an analysis of conditions in this school would form part of my baseline trustworthiness procedure. I wanted to consider the applicability of the performance-oriented model but if the conditions are as the NUT official said then maybe the discipline was already there.

In terms of my M Ed I came away satisfied. There were changes I have no doubt, and I must consider these in my dissertation but underlying it all many of the factors are the same. The main disciplinary position was that the edge of violence had gone. I use the word edge, because the school still has violence, but there was not what I would call an ongoing level of tension I experienced in Brixton, a feeling that violence would erupt any second. This is the edge but we can see from the discussion in the Baseline School (appendix 6B) that there is still the underlying violence.

I was also very pleased to see that both students were much more positive in their approach. The girl was particularly strong-minded, and the boy was also very clear but I think he did not apply himself in the way that he described.

The main difference was that the students were proud to stand up and say they wanted to work, the girl even said she would tell the class off. In my day even the students that supported you did not have the inner strength to stand up and argue with the disruptive elements. This is therefore a positive advance. But there were still many failures who quite clearly did not trust the school (see the baseline discussion).

Where do I go from here? I must try for more interviews. I discovered that they employ black counsellors, I would like to talk with them. I do not have enough interviews so I can go and try to get some more. I would also like to talk with some failing black kids to find out how important the different factors are to them.

Interview strategies: Interview a black counsellor. Interview failing students. Interview more people.

When I was researching access to a black counsellor in Manchester, and through her/him access to failing students, I found the names of a number of organisations that could be useful. I have also had further thoughts concerning the emerging design of the dissertation.

Let me start with those thoughts. Of those that I have interviewed all accepted the performance- oriented model Ė with occasional reservations that will be discussed in the dissertation. This is not a complete picture in my terms there is no statistical proof in what I have done but there is a sort of consistency. Clearly my contention needs to be investigated quantitatively in order for any form of validation. But that is not my ambit.

On a simplistic level, if the performance-oriented model is the pathway through the racist system. Then I need to discuss this with those who have a particular viewpoint. The first group is failing students, how do they feel about performance orientation. I would also like to talk to the counsellor who focuses on black students about her /his perspective. I have a contact with such a counsellor I think.

I am now concerned more about assimilation. A performance-oriented model encompasses an approach, which is undoubtedly assimilationist. I therefore must discuss more these issues when I raise performance-orientation.

Although I could see parallels with the negro-to-black model for my own background in socialism and alienation, I have found little acceptance of the model. I will discuss this with the counsellor I would hope Ė this model was raised in a counselling book I read. I also discovered a group called Identity Black Writers. The negro-to-black model is a cultural identity model so I would like to discuss this model, their identity and underachievement.

I also want to focus on the general social landscape. I am satisfied with the baseline school perspective in the sense that the educational perspectives I have considered in the background study generally apply. But there was an edge that was missing thank goodness; and that was the edge of violence. However, that edge could be a symptom of a wider perspective or even social malaise. Have black people given up on the struggle? I ask that because it seems clear to me that the left wing have stopped struggling as much. I would claim that even though I have not been here I would see the signs of struggle Ė posters etc, I have not Ė even though the New labour have attacked the only truly Labour/socialist platform in their armoury Ė the NHS by reducing disability pensions. And I think Blair was proposing the introduction of euthanasia because it will reduce the high cost of pensions! If the left wing have given up on windmill tilting, maybe black people are also less in struggle. Maybe the missing edge of violence is a parallel to this left-wing inaction. I f so then there would not be that edge of violence in schools because the issues would not be on the surface Ė please note I said they were not on the surface not that they did not exist. Underachievement would be a clear symptom of such underlying dissatisfaction. So my question is what is the state of the struggle, how are people experiencing the struggle now? I can speak to long-term contacts about this.

There is one aspect of my dissertation that I have not focused on Ė quality education. Whenever I have raised this question there was limited response. I had hoped to find strong links between the lack of quality education and black underachievement in a spiritual sense that has not been the case. The only connection has been sociological, without quality educational /equal opportunity approaches from the teachers then there will be underachievement. But this is not an emphasis I want to consider because teachers have already been flogged to death. There are two groups I would like to discuss quality education with, the Identity Black Writers, and also a group of Community Arts people whose description was to go into the community.

So here is my itinerary:-

Go to Community Exchange. This organisation is part of the University of Manchester and brokers with community groups. They might direct me to willing people, itís a start. But in general I would rather go in and front it.

Go to the Arts group and see if I can get interview.

Go to Identity Black writers.

Go to Equal Opportunities Commission if I get the chance

Again timing dominates my strategy. Schools start next Monday so I wonít be able to access the counsellor until then.

Contact the counsellor with a view to interview and then setup working with some failures.

I have addresses of 2 community centres so I can try there.

I think thatís it!

The state of the struggle:-

Let me first talk about what I mean by the struggle. The struggle as I found it in Brixton is the fight for equal rights for black people in the UK. This struggle can be considered as a fight for equal opportunities in employment, housing and other situations where racial disadvantage causes serious economic and social deprivation of one form or another. In the case that I am concerned about there is disadvantage caused by education.

It should also be understood that the struggle is for black equality, and should not be restricted to black participants. But certainly black people should own the struggle, it is they who should be giving the direction. However white (non-black) people should not be excluded, but should participate under the direction of the community concerned. Unfortunately white involvement has led to suspicion because in the 70ís white people wanted to take the lead, and appropriate the struggle. Typical of this would be the actions of left-wing socialists who, hiding behind misapplied Marxist theory, would put forward policies of the imperative form "black people should do this or that". At the same time many evangelical liberals would be pushing through strategies based on their own perceptions of what the struggle should be Ė a perception that would not be based on the personal experience of racism needed to direct the struggle into the necessary avenues.

At the time I was involved in working in the anti-racist arena of education I observed what might be called manifestations of the struggle. The most obvious example of this was the uprisings in the Inner cities of 1981. In my view these uprisings occurred at a time when the frustrations of the adult community began to unite behind the indiscriminate harassment of the youth on the streets. It was triggered by Swamp, a police operation in Brixton, which focused on the black community. Following the uprising in Brixton frustration led to copycat uprisings in many of the Inner City black community areas. The government response was more political than effective. A high profile figure, Lord Justice Scarman, was brought in, and although his report was helpful, in my view the whole exercise merely diffused the situation and did not help with the real issues. This would be consistent with views expressed in the background study that there is no political will to provide equal opportunities for black people.

These uprisings could be seen as a focal point of the struggle at that period of time. It was significant at the time that the parents were supporting the youth, this was a seachange. Many of the Afro-Caribbean parents, who were asked to come over here post-war, came over for the future benefit of education for their children. They suffered the racial harassment against themselves so that their children would benefit from a better education, but by the late 70ís the parents realised that this was not happening. What they had suffered for all their life was not working out. To simplify my perspective on the seachange, the uprisings signified a change from adherence to the system of the mother country to supporting the children in their struggles in education.

At this time education was a real cauldron and as I have noted in the baseline school study the cauldron is not boiling at the level that I knew it. I described this as there being a missing edge of violence and tension in the school.

At the same time I have been observing UK society in the natural comparative mode of a returning ex-patriate. It is 5 years since I have lived here and it is 14 years since I was teaching in Brixton. It appears to me that the profile of black people is certainly far lower than in the 80ís. On the streets there appears to be less aggression, nor did there appear to be Tube aggression when I was in London. At the same time it appears that black people are invisible on television. I can remember that both BBC and Channel 4 had their own ethnic minoritiesí programmes, but there are no such programmes now.

Now these are only indicators but they point to this "invisibility" perspective. This would also fit in with general perceptions of UK society I have made. A friend in youth work described the UK as being totally oriented to greed. He felt that there is very little social conscience left Ė everyone is only interested in whatís in it for them. This would fit in with my perspective of the political changes that have happened since 1979, a process that was started by Thatcherís government and has changed little under New Labour. It would be my view that under New Labour a problem that was not visible would be a problem solved.

Now all of these reflections are simply contentions, they are mine. I would like to substantiate these views through interview. I am therefore going to add some questions to my interview.

So what are the areas of questions that I want to ask?

How has the state of the struggle changed?

How do you feel that the state is treating black people Ė police tolerance, employment practices, housing policy, institutional racism etc?

One view of the uprisings in 1981 is that the parents for the first time were supporting their children against the state, do you feel that there is trust between the state and the black community? Have these relations improved, worsened?

Did the uprisings improve the position of the black community?

Do they consider that black people have become more invisible?

Do they consider that this invisibility is encouraged by Thatcher /New Labour?

Is there a change under New Labour?

Do they consider that violence in schools has decreased?

Do you feel that society has become so personally self-centred that they are not interested in black rights?

Do you feel that students have settled in school more?

Had an excellent day of interviewing. I wanted to note one or two comments that were made to me in conversation. One person said the struggle was the same but itís less confrontational on the street. The public conflict just set up black people as a target, and this was not seen as constructive. Another person was discussing his experience but didnít want to be recorded. He had much experience of higher education and was complaining a great deal about arrogant white middle-class males dominating student work in lectures and student politics. He used to organise black students and felt that white students and establishment felt threatened by this. At school he had got in a fight because a friend had been the butt of a racist comment. He was up before the headmaster who accepted just cause, but he did say that even though he was in such aspects of trouble he kept his mind on the work and was academically successful.

 

Appendix 4B Personnel Profiles

Allen Transcript in Appendix 5A

Allen organises a mentoring project attached to a college in Manchester. This project is also asked to go into schools to help with black students who are possibly on the road to exclusion.

Denise Transcript in Appendix 5B

Denise works for a government agency in Manchester that looks into issues of race.

Abraham Transcript in Appendix 5C

Abraham is a director of a government organisation set up to promote black business in a black suburb of Manchester.

Esther Transcript in Appendix 5D

At the time Esther was working in administration at the University of Manchester.

Ahmed Transcript in Appendix 5E

Ahmed helps in coordinating a mentoring project to help black and Asian university students get a suitable job when they leave the universities of Manchester.

Grace Transcript in Appendix 5F

At the time Grace was a year 11 student at an Inner City school in London. She began her education in Nigeria, and came to the UK school at 13.

Jackson Transcript in Appendix 5G

At the time Jackson was a year 11 student at the same Inner City school, he had previously been transferred from another school.

Headteacher Transcript in Appendix 5H

This is a transcript of the interview with the headteacher at the same Inner City school.

 

 

Friend Transcript in Appendix 5I

My friend introduced me to the school, he used to work with me in Botswana. I interviewed him about the conditions in the school in line with my investigation into the validity of my approach.

 

Pilot Summary in Appendix 5J

The pilot, Abbey, was Nigerian who had spent all her school life in a UK school. She was a colleague of mine here in Botswana.

 

Questionnaires

The completed questionnaires are included in Appendix 5K.

 


 

Chapter 5 Presentation of Findings

Firstly please find transcripts of the interviews included as appendices 5A-5I, 5J is the summary of the pilot interview, and 5K are the three questionnaires that were returned. To analyse the findings in Chapter 6 I first needed to consider the strategies. From the literature review I determined categories for the strategies listed in the sections below, and I cut and pasted quotations from the interview transcripts. To help readability I have commented on the quotes, but the main point of the sections is to present the quotes from the interviewees.

 

Strategies 1 to 7 were strategies I developed in sections 2.1 to 2.3, 8 to 11 were strategies I put forward in section 2.3. I have not included Mentoring at this stage.

Strategies 13 and 14 grew out of the analysis of the transcripts.

Finally I did mentoring. This became an important theme in my dissertation and I left it to last for that reason. 

Section 5.1 Achievement-Motivation

"There were so many undercurrents, it's a wonder you can come out with anything." I have started with this statement from Abbey because this is something I have always felt. Being brought up in a grammar school in a middle-class area I never questioned, I never had distractions - I never even went to the clubs in Manchester. I never worked properly but because the whole milieu was mainlined to exam passes, that's what I did. My achievement-motivation was a middle-class instinct rather than a cognitive process or decision.

Working for academic success in Inner City schools cannot be left to this "middle-class instinct". Working as a black person in a "white school" cannot be left to instinct, black people have to have strategies to cope wherever they are.

Let's look at those starting with the Inner City schools. What about Grace's single-mindedness?

"I keep away. I just go to do my work, I go to the computer room and type out my work.

BZ:- Basically if you are serious you can divorce yourself from all the rubbish that can happen in the school

Yes

BZ:- And get on with it?

Yes

BZ:- And you feel you are doing that?

Yes

BZ:- What about friends who are not so clear-minded?

I don't keep them. I sit next to one girl. We exchange notes, she does this part and I do that part. We just do the same thing all the time.

BZ:- You just keep with her, and that is your way of getting away from all the trouble?

We just like to do our work."

Sadly she has to resort to violence. When asked "What about discipline around the school, do you get bullied?" she replied "No, because I will bully them."

Working at school is her sole purpose. At break she goes to the computer room no trouble. In class she sits with a friend who is also working, and she doesn't keep friends who don't work. I certainly did not have that determination that meant that being successful at school governed all aspects of my school life including social aspects.

Jackson's approach is similar.

"BZ:- I'm the teacher and I've just come into the room, where would you be?

I would be sat down with my books out ready to start lessons.

BZ:- Do you get involved with talking at the beginning of lessons?

Yes I do sometimes.

BZ:-Is that because you choose to?

I would not be talking I would be discussing the work. Did you do your homework etc?

BZ:-Would you be talking if I was ready to start teaching?

ďNo"

"BZ:-But why aren't you easily led?

Because I've learnt how to discipline myself. That was my problem at the other school. I had a little bit of talking here and there, and now I've come to another school I've tried making a new start. I just look about my work and go through what I'm going through."

It is with these students that teacher expectation lets them down, and understandably from my point of view. At the beginning of the lesson Grace "would talk to my friends first. If they were in different classes I would ask them how was the lesson? If I had a book from them I would return it and so on", and during the lesson Jackson just looks "about my work and go through what I'm going through".

In a stricter academic environment how much more success would these determined students get? I completely excuse the teachers, why? Because in the same classroom as these motivated students will be students who will disrupt even to the extent of violence to teachers as described in appendix 6B. How can teachers be expected to be demanding of these well-motivated students whilst coping with students who don't belong in a school for learning? This is a system problem, and I have made it clear earlier that I don't believe the system wishes to cope with it; so I must return to individual strategies for achievement.

With the interviewees I spoke to concerning their motivation for success, parental support was extremely important. Starting with Abbey whose mother was "pushy", she "never played at school because mother would have killed her". When Denise was asked about her motivation she said "Parental support. My parents came from a background where they thought education was important. Depending on what qualifications you get it is something you have for life. They emphasised education and qualifications for life a lot." Yet later she said she was also working for herself because "my parents never forgot that they intended to return to Jamaica, so as far as they were concerned we had to be able to stand on our own two feet. My Dad unfortunately died, but my Mum is actually there."

Grace had strong support at home:-

"BZ:- Do you think the main difference is your family?

Background, how I was brought up?

BZ:- Yes because you've got a strong educational influence at home.

Yes"

As did Jackson:-

"BZ:- How heavy are your parents about work?

My Mum is dead and I live with my Dad, and he is quite heavy about work. He is a plumber.

BZ:- So he is saying, he's worked hard all his life and he wants you to be in a qualified job?

Yes that's what he says.

BZ:-You find that helpful?

Yes."

Jobs provide a motivation, look at Grace's strong reaction.

"It's very hard for black people to get jobs out there.

BZ:- So you find it positive in a sense?

Yes because you must work work. There is nothing you can do about it, you just work."

So what do these people say about those who lack motivation and possibly disrupt? What type of people are they? From Grace:-

"BZ:- Why don't they think the same way as you? They're not stupid people, are they?

No they're not. They've got the brains but they get tired of using them. They want something ÖÖ

BZ:-Quick?

Yes, they just want to fast forward their lives on everything. They think they can just go through life easily."

Denise feels "they have been let down in some way". When asked why they weren't motivated she said "I don't know. They may have become disillusioned with the education system as a whole. They don't see the need to go to school." Is it because they don't see the need for qualifications? "No it's probably because they feel they've been let down in some way. Therefore they react against that." The school can't give them qualifications? "Yes, or perhaps the quality of teaching they would expect isn't there."

"BZ:- You had a couple of hot teachers but the others were not. You said to yourself there is this teacher who isn't particularly a good teacher but I've got to do the stuff so you do it?

Yes Yes

BZ:- So why isn't that there with these kids?" But there was no answer.

Andy sees there clearly being two systems. There is a formal economy which as Abraham puts it black people are being excluded from, and as Allen describes "

"What you began to get in the late 80's and 90's is an alternative role-model. Instead of the role models being from the formal economy, you start to get these role models from the alternative economy, often promoted by the music etc - the bad guy image. So the youngster is presented with two alternative paths to success, material success by working hard and getting qualifications and if you're very lucky and survive discrimination in 15 -20 years you might reach the level of earning £20000 a year. On the other hand you can get several thousand pounds a week immediately by following this other track. You may not live for very long but for a young person this is very attractive." Is this what attracts Grace's description of "fast-forward mentality"?

Mentoring for Allen answers the situation because "it is basically and essentially a motivational project. It's trying to remotivate those that were thinking either that the goals the school were setting were unattainable because I'm too far behind, or they're not socially desirable because I don't want to be in that system. I can do much better in the alternative system." To conclude this part on achievement-motivation it is clear that black youngsters need a powerful mindset to cope with UK education whether an Inner City school or a "white" school. Family background provides a powerful motivation yet it is not clear why some students do not develop a powerful mindset. However it is clear that with ghettoisation the alternative economy provides attractions that militate against the development of this mindset.

 

Section 5.2 Racism Awareness Approach

In the Literature Review I presented a concern that black students were being asked to cope with adult problems as children. All black students are aware of problems caused by being black in UK society but I was concerned with their being exposed too much to this awareness and it deflecting them from their educational path. As a white person I cannot possibly know the answer to this question so I was very keen to hear what the interviewees had to say.

Here is an interaction with Denise:-

"BZ:- A school is institutionally racist, therefore the students are going to meet racism because it is part of the institutional infrastructure. If those students stand up and say this place is racist I am not going to work, an ANC position, then it wonít help the students?

No it's not going to help the students. At the same time the students could have an influence on the organisation if there's enough of them.

BZ:- Do you think students should be put in that position?

They shouldn't be put in that position they should be learning.

BZ:- If you hadn't got your qualifications you wouldn't be here to fight your fight. Exactly"

Again talking to Denise "It would be perfectly easy for me, being surrounded by white people all the time, to put across a racist attitude. If someone wants to focus on the racism I would put across, and then say Zanetti said this I'm never going to work for him again, it's crazy.

Yes

BZ:- But I've seen that sort of thing.

Yes, she laughed.

BZ:- And I think there is an element of adults advising that.

I would say that's true."

Check out what my teacher friend said about the students accusing him of being racist (see section 6.3).

Ahmed didn't see it as the place of children to be involved in this.

"I have talked to educationalists who have said that they need to equip the kids in terms of making them aware that education is a struggle.

My own personal feelings are that this is not appropriate at a young age." Look what he says about university students. "Even when I go to talk to university students about this mentoring I find that what I am telling them is like "bad news" to them.

They turn round and tell me there is something wrong with me because I am telling them this is happening out there."

Those students had reached a level of education without being aware. Esther bears this out in this interaction:

"BZ:- So you were very much alone?

Always, always through my schooling.

BZ:- So how did you feel about that? Did it cause you any issues?

Not really. I just didn't think about the racial problems really.

BZ:-Did you ever feel you had more to offer but no-one would consider you because you were black?

Not really, I just didn't think about it. It's unusual, eh?

BZ:- No, I'm finding a lot of that, people who have got somewhere in school were not black conscious, do you follow me?

Yes, I understand what you mean."

I am not in any way suggesting that racism awareness should be hidden from students, but academically it hasn't hurt some of those I interviewed. Unfortunately I did not interview anyone with the opposing viewpoint. But one person did fill in my questionnaire, Q3. He said "I was politically aware and active from age 14, and had an understanding of the social, economic and political context of my experience with the education system.

"The accommodations we are forced to make with racist institutions creates an imperative to deny one's full humanity and history, causing dissonance that if not balanced by positive action against racism can undermine self-respect." He also saw "practical engagement with the anti-racist struggle" as helping him learn a quality education, and he felt that "Multi-culturalism in the British Education system has brought more benefits to white society than to Black Children. There needs to be a greater emphasis on anti-racist education, and more Black self-help initiatives to address inequality" when asked if I had missed anything in the questionnaire.

Allen also feels that students can cope "At 12 or 13 no problem at all because they are living it." Then the discussion went

"BZ:- I have some reservations. In my interviews I have found a number of successful people who didn't relate to the model at all in terms of their own experience. Please comment on the following:- Much of their success came because they did not perceive their blackness as an issue when they were in education. So how do you decide when to draw the attention of the student to the issue of racial identity?

These people would not have accepted the identity model but we would present it all the same. But we don't force it on people. We say this is what we think is going on, it's up to you to decide or not."

In investigating this strategy I have not reached a firm conclusion, I cannot be positive one way or another. This is important because it would demonstrate that a 100% approach one way or the other is not appropriate. Students who have gone through the system without a level of racial consciousness have achieved academic success; they even query Ahmed's warnings about "life out there". Yet at the same time if that awareness has developed it should be recognised and supported by using approaches such as Allen's mentoring.

I remember a poignant comment from Abbey personally to the effect that she knew what I meant but she would hate to advocate a strategy of ignoring race awareness. Being tempered by her emotive advice is where I would like to leave this part.

 

Section 5.3 Performance-Oriented Model

It is difficult to get at this issue because if I ask anyone what students in schools should do they would quite happily say "Try Harder, Pay Attention and Listen". But what this actually means in practice for black students in UK schools is quite significant. It is not a chastisement that is asking for a slight change, it is a full-blown commitment.

Let's think about the attitude of the two students I spoke to. I have already pointed out how Grace's attitude to work required a 100% commitment, but let us also look at the level of mature commitment required by Jackson in dealing with situations of adversity.

"I came into my class the other day. I didn't have my pen. The teacher came up to me and said it was because she was teaching me, and she was going to keep her eyes on me. She kept on my case and then sent me out for no reason. After that she called me back in and was watching me all the time, and kept asking me questions like "Are you a fool?" "Are you stupid?"

BZ:- You felt offended by this, and that it was unjustified?

Yes.

BZ:- I don't want to get involved in the rights and wrongs of the incident. Did you work in that lesson?

Yes I did.

BZ:- So you said to yourself "this woman's on my case, I don't care I have to work".

Yes."

Later he said

"She has done it before.

BZ:- So you say to yourself "this teacher is going to do this to me so I'm going to be real heavy with my work"

But it's not only me she does it to she does it to everyone."

I feel that this is a very important attitude that should be encouraged. I have no idea whether this teacher behaves the way Jackson perceives it, but let us suppose she does. It is important for students to accept that teachers can have failings and that in lessons they are there to work. However that is a mature attitude but sadly in UK Inner City schools that type of mature attitude is almost a prerequisite for academic success - not simply drifting through with some level of ability as I experienced at my grammar school.

Allen backs this up "When younger I followed on unquestioningly. I went to a direct grammar school, I was the only black student there and I did what they told me to do."

But this is what he said afterwards "One of the problems with that is that I've actually had to make a real effort to unlearn and unthink some of the attitudes that go with that."

 

"School is not just a cognitive package, in a grammar school you are also told that you are the captains of industry and you have the right to look down on certain types of worker. Don't speak to the cleaners.

"Unlearning can take a lifetime. I would prefer personally to have a situation where you don't push people like cannon fodder."

This interaction raises interesting questions. Allen states that he has had to unlearn many parts of the hidden curriculum, and he would prefer not to have to have been in that situation. This was a question I considered being an ex-hippy - well a bit of a hippy anyway! At that time we were rejecting our conditioning, including school conditioning. I even remember the first thing I was told in my first job was "Forget all that I had learnt", even though it was the very qualifications that had got me the job. Fortunately in my adult life I have been able to experience different things which have helped me to unlearn many of those attitudes (to cleaners etc) that my school gave me, but there is one thing I have never lost and that is my qualifications. Would Allen have foregone his qualifications not to have been inculcated with the "cognitive package"? I should have asked, I don't know, but that is a big question. In my 20s the answer for me was that of rejection of my schooling but at 47 I accept that school gave me qualifications and life has given me the rest. School should offer more life lessons but really it is not set up that way.

But then I am not talking about black issues. Allen clearly feels strongly about it because it is his life's work. When Ahmed addresses his students he gets a different reaction:-

"BZ:- These students have reached a certain level of success (being at university) because all this racism has passed them by. And they went through it because they were single-minded about their work.

In their work, right. And they knew that at the end of the day the reward is proportional to the effort you put in.

They got to this position at university without having any feedback about these problems.

BZ:- This would fit in with your strategic view of the world. Forget all the other problems, get your weapons - your qualifications, and then Ö.

You go in and fight the war in a different way, and this is where mentoring projects come in to give them ammunition."

Ahmed sees a single-minded approach as being important, such as the performance-oriented model, because he wants the students out there "fighting the war" with the "ammunition" required. But he is dealing with university students who "got to this position at university without having any feedback about these problems". He is not dealing with students who, in schools, are being attracted to the spill-off of ghettoisation - informal economy, gangs and drugs.

Abbey is not enamoured of the single-minded academic approach - "boffs". She said "Even when I was a teacher I was saying about boffs "get a life"." Yet about her own children she said "If I had a child I would be pushing academic, academic, academic. Maybe I would also encourage learning for your own sake but my main focus would be to get those A's."

The person who filled in the questionnaire, Q3, saying that we need anti-racist education in schools also said "If you don't try you fail yourself, limit your opportunities, and become a victim of racism." Here he clearly supports what I am saying although I don't feel he would support my conclusions in other areas.

Grace finishes this part:-

"BZ:- If I asked you to give me advice to say to kids what they should do to do well at school, what would you tell me?

Work hard, life is hard. Life is not fair, life is not fair at all so what you have to do is work hard.

BZ:- If someone says life is not fair I am going to give up, what do you say?

Work hard

BZ:- Do you think it will be OK in the end?

Everything will come out as the Plan after all. You didn't plan to come. God did, He set your ways up so you just have to struggle and work hard. BZ:- What if His way was that I don't do anything for something that I did before?

Repent your sins !"

How can you argue with that?

I think there is evidence here to support the Performance-Oriented model but nowhere near enough to ask for that support unconditionally. I feel this is clearly an issue which needs much more in-depth investigation. What are the impacts of being racially aware in the UK education system? I want to say to community activists to tell their young "Try Harder, Pay Attention and Listen" but I don't quite feel that I have enough evidence to say that. It definitely needs investigating.

 

Section 5.4 Cultural Attitude to Jobs

In the literature review I was concerned that some people were putting forward the idea that jobs was part of the white system, and that therefore black people could be excluded unless they took a raceless, or even white, position. I argued the case that jobs were concerned with capitalism and not race, and by viewing the jobs issue within a racial paradigm was not a positive approach for developing motivation within students.

Abraham's job is the promotion of black business, as such one would expect his views to be clear on this matter. "I think itís down to the individual at the end of the day, and what you feel comfortable with. If they feel comfortable with presenting themselves in a white way because it gets them what they are trying to achieve, I have no problem with that." So Abraham is seeing the presentation as a "white way".

But he expands on this viewpoint "In business it is a business cultural thing they are used to having things presented in a particular way.

BZ:- Such as business plans?

Exactly. You develop that culture or you donít network and be as effective in business as you could.

The market is predominantly white and if you want to engage in the market you are going to have to meet them in terms they recognise and they will buy into. Maggie has told us long enough that the market is king, and we have seen that the market is king, In a business situation I have no problems with people presenting themselves in a business way.

I could have come here in African dress but I am in a suit and tie. Iím in business dress. I tell all the staff you have to be in business dress.

I donít care if youíre in an Inner City area where everyone is used to going round in jeans and jumpers. You are coming here to present a business face, a professional business face, I donít care if itís a black area or whatever. You are going to come here in business dress and approach things in a professional business-like manner, whether you think of it as black or white or whatever."

So he is talking about a "business culture" where "the market is predominantly white" in the UK. Now I find this far less confrontational than saying business is white. Adopting a business culture is a non-racial position, so I don't think I am being semantic when I say that I think that is far more acceptable. Here in Botswana, sadly most of the businesses are owned or run by whites or Asians. The Batswana describe the businesses as white or Asian but the market is predominantly black. So is it a white system when 99% of the people are black?

For me the emphasis completely changes. If the "market is predominantly white", then the white people have the money. If you wish to get that money from them then you must sell goods or perform services that they want for that money. This is a simple trading principle, again neither black nor white. For me this phraseology totally alters the context and removes the confrontation inherent in saying business is white.

Before I look at the other interviewee's attitude to jobs I would like to refer you to Appendix 6C. These are two anecdotes from Abraham's interview that show the continued problem of racism within the business culture.

The issue of jobs is not small even at the school level. I asked Grace if she worried about jobs.

"All the time.

BZ:- What do you think about?

In school there is like a protected shield. If I go to college it will be a different thing but still protected. But I know that when I finish it is going to be hard.

BZ:- I hope I'm not putting this in your mind but do you think about issues of racism in jobs?

Yes

BZ:- What do you think about that?

I think it's very very bad.

BZ:- Do you come to terms with it, or do you leave it and say let's hope it doesn't happen?

No it depends on what type of racism is going on because you can ignore it. You can say. If I want I can send someone to beat you up or kill you if I like. But if you really have sense he has got a different view, you have one. You just do your own life.

If you can't get the job here you say I'm not going to fit in here. I will go to look somewhere else, and maybe Ö

BZ:- Do you think you will find somewhere?

It will be better than you expected from the first one."

Abbey's attitude to jobs even prohibits the type of work she or her family does at school. For herself, "I enjoyed writing but what would I get a degree in English. My education was to get a job." And in her family:-

"Take my cousin, his mother's white his father's black. He is very artistic, he loves it. His father is in the merchant navy, mother brought him up. Father will not accept he's an artist.

BZ Macho?

Not really. Not academic, cannot get a job. Money. At the end of the day that's why I say you can't afford it."

But to support Grace's notion of a protected environment and how the "real world" affects attitudes to jobs, Abbey also said

"When you go for a job it is very evident, and at the end of the day you go to school to get a job I knew this at school and it affected me. My mother would say you've got to be better because you're not white. But in the school environment you believe you're all equal even though you know it's not. Youth is all about innocence and mum's not right because you don't want to believe it. You know you're as good as someone else why should it be true. It's only when it hits you in the face when you go for a job. It's denial." Allen also presented an interesting perspective concerning the informal economy, what one might call the containment industry:-

"BZ:- So you don't hold out a great deal of hope for crossing over from the informal to the formal?

No I do. In a way our mentors have crossed over, and that's why they are so good mentors. Our part-time mentors are getting £15 an hour, and because of the success of the service they are on the threshold of getting full-time jobs. That is a special case.

There is a potential here. Through a process of developing projects that can embrace the target group those projects can start to develop a base for employment, upskilling, training opportunities, work experience etc.

We are looking at developing a project for working with a community group to get a pool of people (18-25) initially as volunteers but once they have been trained given counselling skills they will then be able to get part-time work. So the transition from informal to formal is possible, and if it were not possible then we would be in a very difficult situation."

I am sure that Abraham and his business community would not be happy if it was the practice that the only jobs that black people could get would be in the "containment" industry. But this is an interesting development, I suppose it is a follow-on from the so-called "Race Relations" industry.

Getting a job is very important as can be seen by Grace's and Abbey's commitment in schools. But from the point of view of academic bias I must point out that both were Nigerian, so I must be careful about drawing wider conclusion because of that. However I was most interested in the way Abraham described his participation in the "business culture" with a "predominantly white" market. I feel this is a strategy to overcome the confrontational "white" business.

 

Section 5.5 Cultural Attitude to Black Rights and Consciousness

I have included this here because I developed this cultural attitude as a possible separate mini-strategy in chapter 2. However it might only be an extension to ideas I developed in appendix 5M. I shall keep the separation and combine the conclusions in chapter 7.

The issue of consciousness was important to a number of the interviewees, as Denise put it:-

"It comes down to the self-esteem within individuals. If you are constantly being told that black people never played a role in British history apart from being slaves, then it says little about black people. It presents a negative view, and it doesn't do much for the consciousness of a child who is learning that."

She was positive about "things that schools tend to do. My son is in primary school, when they learn about history they learn about the Caribbean. If one of the pupils goes away on holiday then they talk about it when they come back - simple things like that. It is quite nice if your son comes back and says this has happened to be able to contribute to that."

When I asked how she would feel if her boy in 5 years time comes back from a black history lesson talking about Malcolm X and is feeling aggressive, she said "I would feel fairly positive because he had actually received that information. At the same time I would try to present another view because there are other things he needs to consider rather than just being aggressive. I would hope I could give another perspective on what he has learnt at school." But there is clearly a place for consciousness-raising. Allen describes a typical scenario.

"There is a dip starting at the age of 9 in the performance and achievement of African Caribbean children. Teachers will tell you that black pupils are doing just as well in some cases better, then there is this horrible dip when they stop functioning."

How did this dip affect him?

"I remember it well. That's the age I became aware of myself as a social being, and there is an awful realisation that you are not valued in the same way. There are different social valuations of your being, having a different skin colour, having a different religion or cultural background means you are valued differently.

This realisation produces a number of reactions ranging from paralysis, turmoil, anger etc, and the psychological energy has to be dealt with." How did Allen get through it?

"Because of my father. He was Jamaican and a doctor. It was '68, black power, he read me poems, told me about Malcolm X, he said "we're proud to be black, don't let them get you down, I've managed to get where I am"."

Jackson also had a positive response from a consciousness-raising counseling:The counsellor "would bring in books on black history, and talk about it. He would bring in a Malcolm X book and talk. Loads of different books, Martin Luther King Ö

BZ:- The fact that he was developing a black consciousness in you helped you with your studies?

Yes it did.

BZ:- You were saying "this is for me, and I must have the qualifications to be more about me".

Yes.

BZ:- And you were able to do that?

Yes

BZ:- Would you recommend it for other people?

Definitely

BZ:- What about the other guys in the class who are giving you lip?

I have been thinking of calling him to the school but it has to be the school that requests it."

But who should provide this counselling? Denise says "But in terms of the education that is provided I think that education can only go so far, I think it is quite important to have black history or black insight reinforced as well, I think it is very important. I don't think you can expect a school to provide everything.

In terms of consciousness raising you can only do it to a certain level with school children, and if the interest is stimulated then they need to go to other sources to get what they need from family or friends or through supplementary schools."

Allen's mentoring service offers this to black youngsters but for a different reason - to help prevent exclusions. His service is based on the nigrescence model which is concerned with consciousness-raising.

What about black rights? Denise says that students "need to be aware of their rights as a black school pupil, they shouldn't be racially harassed in any way whether by a teacher or by another pupil. It is quite important for them to have that information, it is therefore important for them to have access to the head if necessary to challenge what is happening to them." But Ö.

"I think it is important to assess what you can have an impact on and what you can't, and you have to accept that."

To conclude this part consciousness-raising has its place but to a limited extent. There seems to be a developing clarity on this issue for me, the place for consciousness is very much different for each individual. If an individual does become aware, and that awareness is not fostered within the system then that individual can become antagonistic. But if that individual does not become aware, pushing such consciousness-raising might just cause confusion. Black students have rights but let's temper that with the purpose of their being in school to learn, as Abraham says "Where I would draw the line is if there is a regulation which seemed to exclude people because they didnít think in a particular way."

Ahmed told me of "a beautiful verse from the Holy Koran":-

"And we have created you from a single source and its mate, and made you into tribes and nations that you may recognise one another and not despise one another."

Then he went on to explain "That word "despise" is racism. How do we recognise each other?

It is not just black people recognising the system, it is more importantly that the system recognises black people, valuing people, bringing out their potential." Schools must develop such valuing.

 

Section 5.6 Cultural Attitude to Assimilation

The issue of assimilation must cause concern if we are discussing the performance-oriented model, and then discussing how much emphasis should be placed on racism awareness and consciousness raising. Let's see how the interviewees viewed assimilation.

At school Denise "actually felt I was living 2 different lives. On the one hand I was like any other pupil, that's how I viewed myself to be, and when I got home I had my parents talking about Jamaica and what their life was like. Although I accepted the position I was in I also knew I had another lifestyle, but there was no sort of friction between the two. I could easily handle the two without any problems."

Abraham is even more adamant. " I think it is inevitable that there is going to be a certain amount of assimilation. Itís hard to conceive of a situation where 95% of people are of a different view and you are not influenced by that. People, who put forward the view that we live in a coral and that we donít engage and adapt to the situation around us, are living in cloud-cuckoo land. I donít think that is a realistic way."

He feels that "itís not a realistic way to face the 21st century. You go to America, Jamaica, you go anywhere and you are into the customs of the people around you. St Paul, do as the Romans do.

Itís been going on since St Paulís time. Trying to buck that is like trying to make water flow uphill, as far as Iím concerned."

Esther's position is not so strong, yet clear:-

"BZ:- What about assimilation? You have a business studies degree. I would call that assimilating into the capitalist position. Do you feel that it is assimilation when someone says that you have to get down and do it?

Probably, yes.

BZ:- Do you feel that you are negating yourself by taking that position?

NO

BZ:- So if a black person came to you and said that you are a traitor to your race what would you think?

I wouldn't agree. Some black people feel that you have to do things in a certain way and if you go against that you are a traitor.

But I do believe that if you've got to do something, you've got to do it regardless of race.

BZ:- How would you confront the situation where the boss is a racist?

Oh I would deal with it, I would. I wouldn't push it under the carpet.

BZ:- What if it cost you your job?

Then I would lose the job, I would deal with it. No job would be worth it.

BZ:- There is a certain amount of assimilation you would put up with but if it went beyond .. would you agree?

Yes, you meet racism all the time but you can accept it under normal circumstances.

BZ:- I could put your position as assimilation within reason?

Within reason, yes."

In all these cases the position is a position of strength, Ahmed summed it up as follows:- "By assimilation you mean putting on the shoes of the white man. I think that is what is happening. Even for women, if they want to get into certain positions they have to cut their hair like a man.

Because the system works like this assimilation does take place, but the most important aspect of that assimilation is the intention of that person, that is something that is only known to them."

To clarify I asked:-

"BZ:- You would accept assimilation in an outer sense so long as in an inner sense your intentions and your strength is there for what you want.

That's right, that's all part of the war. Assimilation is like camouflage; once you get in, which is very difficult, you can open up doors."

To begin with Allen says that "my position is that of a liberal." He said

"Mrs. Thatcher was a very successful woman. I don't think that she was in any sense interested in women's issues and never has been. I think she was successful by being more male than men. And I think it is possible to be successful by minimising your blackness, your racial identity. That is the other strategy, and it is encouraged in certain quarters.

"Don't emphasise you cultural differences. Dress and speak - everything except your skin colour - conforms to the normative culture."

When asked if this was assimilation he said

"Yes it is assimilation, and this nigrescence model is a strategy of non-assimilation, it is a strategy of holding out against assimilation." I asked which of those strategies was appropriate to his work?

He said "It is not for us to decide, all we do is put out a range of strategies that are possible. I know of people who would get very angry with people putting forward a strategy of assimilation. I would say that you have lost something but you gain elsewhere in terms of survival."

He explains further "But you often see that this person (adopting an assimilation strategy) has an uneasy relationship with the black community because the community is not sure whether they are still one of us. Often these assimilated individuals will marry into the white community. You have to develop the maximum number of attributes of non-blackness."

Denise seemed comfortable living two lives so I asked " Do you think someone can take an assimilation position in work and outside work be as black as you like - if I can phrase it that way?"

He replied "It's possible but I think it would be a great strain. If you are living a life in two worlds that cannot be brought together without difficulties I think you are always going to have psychological strain.

It's a bit like a man and a mistress. It's possible to have a wife and a mistress but I think it would be a strain. You can live this life but don't all of us wish for some sort of consistency.

You speak to people who are doing this and you will often find them discussing the strain. They are not comfortable."

I pushed this further. "Given that the kind of working compromise that all people have to make, is assimilation at work and racial identity at home a strategy you would want to discourage?"

He answered "You are asking me essentially a political question. Take an analogy If you accept it's a man's world then a woman entering into that world can decide to act as mannishly as possible in that world and to leave her femininity for their private life. That's what I said of Mrs. Thatcher.

What that does mean is that the mannishness of the world never gets challenged, and therefore there is no progression culturally within that sense.

Yes assimilationism is a personal survival strategy but the politics of our stance is not to reduce the challenge to the racist culture but to take on the challenge. Assimilation effectively avoids the issue of challenge to a racist culture." Although he presents a liberal position it is clear what he believes. To summarise on assimilation there appears to be a contradiction in this evidence. You might initially say that each individual decides on the degree of assimilation for themselves as with Ahmed's intention. But I want to look at the work environment of these people. Denise, Abraham, Esther and Ahmed are working in the mainstream whereas Andy is working with students who have one foot in the informal economy. I think it is the environment that characterises the assimilation. If it is a "camouflage" then is it assimilation? If you are comfortable with two worlds, is it assimilation? If you have defined limits as in Esther's case, is it assimilation? If you are to compete in business, is it assimilation? Andy calls this a "personal survival strategy", is it? Allen has to take on a challenge because in his environment, disruptive students, I don't believe assimilation is an option. They have already chosen the informal economy, if not practically then psychologically. The assimilation is the environment.

 

Section 5.7 Nigrescence Model

When I read about this model (see Chapter 2 and Ford pp104-106 for details), I thought it might be appropriate, but I needed to investigate it. I did not discuss it with all the interviewees, but with those that I did I found it a real struggle as it seemed to hold no relevance. Here are the full interactions. Esther:-

"BZ:- Negro-to-black model. I could see these as possibly being appropriate because I could see comparative positions as a socialist. So I wanted to investigate it to see how it works with people I have interviewed. And it hasnít, but I still want to see.

What about pre-encounter?

Sheís probably right, but they probably do it without thinking. I probably did but I didnít think about it, because of the environment you are in.

BZ:- Why would that happen?

Because you would be in a predominantly white environment.

BZ:- Why would that negate your blackness?

No it wouldnít negate my blackness, I was just behaving like everyone else.

BZ:- Was it a conscious process?

No, not conscious - definitely not.

BZ:- Could you say that you were viewing the world from a white frame of reference because that was who you were with?

Exactly, yes.

BZ:- Encounter stage.

I never really saw myself as a black person so this never arose because everything was OK about that.

BZ:- Next stage

No

BZ:- What do you feel about clinging to blackness in your employment position as a black person?

I donít know about that one.

BZ:- Do you feel you have experienced racism in an employment context?

Itís difficult to prove, isnít it?

BZ:- No I didnít ask for proof.

OK yes. You come across things but you donít know. I feel it. Iíve had nothing direct.

BZ:- You have spent a long time getting qualifications but you have still not moved on, how do you feel about that? Do you want to go into business?

No, I donít now. I used to think I wanted to own my own business but thatís changed. I am more interested in teaching adults now as TEFL.

BZ:- Letís go back to the model, does it really apply to you?

No, no.

BZ:- Have you gone through any stage of internalising black consciousness? Probably.

BZ:- When?

Now, because of the job.

BZ:- How is that showing?

Just resentment, I think."

Jackson:-

"BZ:- (I talked about the nigresecence model). "Black people when they are younger adopt a white frame of reference", in other words they try to do things that are very white. Did you ever feel you went through that?

No

BZ:- Even when you were younger?

No

BZ:- According to the model they don't want to be seen as black or white they want to be seen as human beings.

I can agree with that, I'd rather be seen as a human being.

BZ:- How do you then value your blackness?

I value my blackness, but I wouldn't mind everyone being the same because there would be less things for me to worry about as in trying to get a job, and things like that.

BZ:- What about black pride, do you feel that?

Yes

BZ:- Is it something you study or look into?

Not really it's just things that your parents tell you.

BZ:- They talk about people like Martin Luther King, and stuff like that?

Yes

BZ:- You know about those people and look up to them?

Not look up to them, but I see them as leaders of black influence and of status.

BZ:- Are there people you look up to?

Nelson Mandela

BZ:- Have you read about him?

Yes.

BZ:- And what do you think is important about what he did?

He helped black people by showing them how to hold their aggression and be more calm.

BZ:- Do you think that's important?

Yes

BZ:- Is that something you would like to tell people?

Yes

BZ:- If you are saying they should hold their aggression, are you saying they should ignore what's wrong?

Not ignore what's wrong, but not to get angry and lash out."

Although not discussing the nigrescence model Q3 said "The accommodations we are forced to make with racist institutions creates an imperative to deny one's full humanity and history, causing dissonance that if not balanced by positive action against racism can undermine self-respect." He wants to see positive action such as the nigrescence model.

But what was most significant was Allen's complete adherence. Let's see why.

"The heart of the work we use is the model developed by Cross - the nigrescence model."

"Previously there has not been an effective mechanism for relating issues of race and racism to people's personal and psychological development. There have been many books about the economics of racism, politics of racism, its history. And there has been literature on psychology of the racists, of prejudice, its dynamics, but we haven't had how a child begins to form a sense of itself within this social context. And that is where the racial identity model completes an important part of the jigsaw.

"The nigrescence model is based on the assumption of being brought up in a white society. The model is also affected by your own family experience, you can be brought up in a very black environment within the overriding white environment.

"You are taught the fantastic achievements of white people in Europe but you are also taught the fantastic achievements relative to the not-so-fantastic achievements of other cultures. There is a psychological demotivation of black children through this process.

"This is where the racial identity model comes in. A black person can resist these messages by refusing to accept them by blanking them out.

" The model is basically a defence system. Your defence can systematically blank out, or says I am not really black I am the exception. This is the pre-encounter stage of the model.

"Following this you get the turmoil which can lead to all sorts of reactions ranging from violence and misbehaviour. We meet this in the secondary schools where this turmoil leads to violent confrontational activity.

When asked whether adolescent problems are an example of the immersion-emersion stage Allen said "This is exactly what is happening at a local school. And they don't even realise what they are dealing with. The kids don't and the staff don't. All they see is bad behaviour, and ask why are they behaving like this?

"We teach them that they have to distinguish between the system and the people, and to understand who are the architects of the system and who are the pawns. We try to tell them that some white people can be your friends and support you in various ways. This is what within the model is reaching a more balanced and integrated approach."

But he does have a word of warning:- "As with all psychology and all theories there are some problems. Consider the stages. You are separating out something which is a continuum, and which doesn't necessarily go in a straight line." So again we have apparently conflicting views but the key to discerning this conflict is to recognise that Allen is dealing with adolescents having problems, I am suggesting that the model is most appropriate in a situation where the black person is in conflict with the prevailing system.

To summarise Allen uses the nigrescence model with adolescents who are having problems with the system yet the other interviewees I asked about this did not find it applied to them. This points to the model having the greatest application to those youngsters who are being attracted to the informal economy. But I have no wish to be definitive here. 

Section 5.8 Holding to Cultural Strengths

I gained no evidence to support or negate this strategy.

But I did have further thoughts. One of the important cultural strengths that I have noticed here in Botswana is their respect for age, sadly this is breaking down with encroaching westernisation, both imposed and invited. I see this respect as creating an order in society based on age. Children are expected to do as elders tell them without protracted justification.

This carries through to schools where teachers are held with respect due to age, and this respect also translates to white teachers here in Botswana, especially those who make an attempt to fit in. Therefore because I am a teacher in a Botswana school and because I agree to fit in with Batswana practices I am given a certain amount of respect by the students. This is a cultural strength because they give immediate respect to teachers and begin working.

Outside the school environment they don't necessarily give respect to older whites, and a friend advised me that some Batswana don't give that respect when they travel to Northern college, Aberdeen. As a result Batswana students who are expected to be polite by their own customs are judged by at least one person as impolite in Aberdeen.

If these students were to hold to their cultural strengths of respect for age and extend that respect to white people, then there would be greater cross-cultural smoothness. And they could then teach white people the importance of respect for age. But instead people who have practices of politeness within their own society are recognised as being rude by those outside.

Black students in the UK are not, in general, Batswana, but it is my understanding that within black families, whether originally from the Caribbean or from Africa, there continues to be this practice of respect for age. But black people differentiate the way they treat black people and white people, and this differentiation is accepted by adults. But what if instead of accepting this prejudice it was extended, how much greater would the cooperation be?

 

Section 5.9 Detaching from Race

Race is an important issue but like with many important issues people often get emotive about it. One method of control of emotive issues is to use a process that is called detachment (see appendix 2O). This process asks of people to recognise their emotions but not allow them to dominate or take over. You will often get students referring to race when they get angry even when race is not the issue.

My teacher friend said "I have been accused of being racist many times by kids who have been dissatisfied with the way they have been treated. Black boys usually." And this causes problems as in his defensive position when talking to me "There have been occasions where there's been a dispute you'll be accused of racism if you are giving too much attention to one group - which maybe Turkish or white children. It's not because of anything I'd done."

And Jackson described an attitude he would like to see developed, inspired by Nelson Mandela.

"BZ:- Are there people you look up to?

Nelson Mandela

BZ:- Have you read about him?

Yes

BZ:- And what do you think is important about what he did?

He helped black people by showing them how to hold their aggression and be more calm.

BZ:- Do you think that's important?

Yes

BZ:- Is that something you would like to tell people? Yes

BZ:- If you are saying they should hold their aggression, are you saying they should ignore what's wrong?

Not ignore what's wrong, but not to get angry and lash out.

BZ:- Kick a table?

Yes. By making racist comments but try to find a suitable way around the problem."

Detachment is needed by both students and teachers, by the students so as not to cause offence and by the teachers to recognise that the students are being emotive and that they, as teachers, are not the cause.

I did not put the questions directly concerning detachment, but I did ask about racelessness. Although racelessness is not a position concerning the control of emotions, it is a position where people are asked not to forget their race in a particular context. Denise said "It didn't bother me whether I took a raceless position because I just did it. I think at the end of the day whether you are working at school or at college you are actually doing it for yourself." At the same time she said "By qualifying you can then start to act as a role model for other black individuals." Is this raceless?

You have to be conscious to take a raceless position, when asked Esther said "No that didn't really apply to me. You have got to think about those things in the first place before you can actually take a raceless position." This points to detachment only applying to a certain group of black people, those who are racially aware, or in particular circumstances only when racial issues they are conscious of arise.

This strategy of racelessness can open the door to misuse if, for example, the system continually put across messages that were racist. I know in the late 70s there was much revision going on of materials that presented racist messages. Of that time Allen said "Traditionally we hear of the history of European males all over the world, their heroism, their fantastic achievement, their sensitivity, their genius. There is a whole school curriculum which supports this validation.

"Of course for black people it works in exactly the opposite way. Not only do you have the sense that you are not valued in the social structure.

"You are taught the fantastic achievements of white people in Europe but you are also taught the fantastic achievements relative to the not-so-fantastic achievements of other cultures. There is a psychological demotivation of black children through this process."

He conceded "It is slightly better than it was in the 60's, that was definitely my experience."

But there are examples. Abbey always used the phrase "Cecil Rhodes is a good man", and a personal friend would often talk of Francis Drake who was presented as a hero. As Allen said "In capitalism a bunch of thieves went out, called pirates, and looted eg Francis Drake. In eastern Europe it is now the same. This criminality becomes respectable and rewrites the history claiming they ere respectable all the time. In fact they were murderers, extorted etc, but through the lens of eurocentric history they are now the heroes of early capitalism."

These are all cases that might not present a true picture. Both Allen and my friend are old like me ie in school in the 60s, and Edosa went to a "white" school in Portsmouth, hopefully there has been a change in these practices. As an aside and I present this without evidence, Inner City schools spent a great deal of time trying to remove these blots from the curriculum, I don't know now but I hope it will have improved since the 70s. From working in Hove I think the curriculum still has a problem because the attitude in "white" schools, as exampled in Abbey's school in Portsmouth, is predominantly that there is no race problem here.

I asked Grace "Do you ever find yourself in the position that you as a Nigerian person believes something and you have a difference of opinion with your teacher

All the time.

BZ:- Give me an example.

The teacher says about what she knows and what she is brought up to do and what she believes in. I believe in the same thing, we are both Christian. There are ways she says it I don't agree with, and when I tell her my views she says they are good points. I tell her her point is a good point but they just don't go together. Everyone who has a good point, says it out, and if we agree it's OK. You're not exactly wrong, there is no wrong or right.

Everyone's point is right, you just argue down to the basics, it is what you believe in.

BZ:- Do you ever find yourself in conflict with the teacher? Are you ever asked to say something you disagree with to pass an exam for example?

No

BZ:- If you were writing about traditional healing you feel your views would be accepted if you were writing it in a proper academic way?

Yes"

So although she gave me an example as a Christian, this interaction, I believe, illustrates the point that teachers can be tolerant of differing viewpoints. I think this is especially true of Inner City schools, as the headteacher says "I always think that education is one of those spheres, taking it out of that old society, where there is a better chance for black children to succeed, because at the end of the day we are very liberal-minded accepting profession in general".

Racelessness was discussed but detachment never arose, except through Jackson's hero, Nelson Mandela, who advised "holding aggression and being more calm" another way of describing detachment. Cultural conflicts through the use of materials can arise but much work has been done to eradicate that within the liberal-minded Inner City profession.

 

Section 5.10 Racial Identity

In this part I was looking at the importance of positive role models being concerned that many youngsters hold to images of pop stars etc, an image which is cultivated by the market for its negative image of black people.

I was surprised when Denise told me she was doing a secretarial course, I asked "With all those bits of paper? Didn't you have careers guidance?"

 

She told me "I didn't have any careers guidance. My teacher asked me what exams was I going to take, and then said what job are you going to do, and I said secretarial.

There weren't any role models, there weren't black people around so that I could say that looks good."

Esther felt something similar. When asked if she felt she couldn't achieve she said "No, not that I couldnít but I didnít have the confidence at that stage. No role models at Crewe. I think it is good to have role models, black teachers." 

Abbey discussed a friend in a similar light "An Arab girl from Oman and we became good friends, and she said don't you ever wish you were white. She was stunningly attractive, and I was shocked. Why would someone wish to be something they are not?" But Abbey had the answer at home, if there are no role models. "Then I thought she hasn't got that push at home - she hadn't. She felt she had to change. It's important to have that push at home. Maybe I was the wrong child for my mother. You have to have the driving force telling you that you can do it, otherwise you believe what everyone else is telling you."

From our interviewees we can see that the lack of role models, unless you have a Nigerian mother!, can lead to problems.

The headteacher also sees role models as being important. "We are very lucky, and it is luck because the way we employ staff within the school is not to say that we must go out and get 6 black teachers. But we are lucky because within the school we have a high percentage of professional high calibre teachers.

"They are basically teachers who have achieved, and the African-Caribbean students could look up to them as having achieved in the British education system. So in an inadvertent way and a direct way you are saying to the kids, these people are there.

"It's crucial. At the end of the day when we were at school the black African-Caribbean community would reflect back and say where are our role models? Where are our bank managers? Where are our teachers and doctors?

"With society becoming more accepting of other cultures, because we have become a multi-cultural society now, I think these role models are very important.

"We have been very lucky, and it is luck. We never said we must go out we definitely need to increase the number of black teachers."

He also sees these black teachers as having an important role in overcoming some of the negative conditioning:-

"If I refer back to what I was saying earlier "black kids fail don't they?" It is quite obvious that no they don't because you can look at the teachers, and in many cases are the best teachers in the school. They can't use this excuse and the psychology is blasted out of the window."

For Allen role models are the "key" but in a different sense

"The key is role models. We try to find people who are the next step further on of the life path the young person is on. The key to it was to find role models, mentors, in their early 20's, and the ones we found most successful were the ones who had failed at school, and become involved in street culture. In two cases they had quite substantial criminal records, and had come through the criminal justice system. They realised that the street culture was a complete waste of time, had gone back to the school, and said to the students "I am now 5 years on from you and I think it was a waste of time".

"The key to it was that they had extraordinary credibility. They weren't saying "Don't do it, I've now become a respectable suit-and-tie person". They were dressed in the fashion of the street culture. They knew the kids' parents, they knew their brothers, one of them even had a reputation that the kids knew. These are the people who have maximum credibility of the target group."

Role models are seen as integral, both for their lack and in the case of key figures with Allen. There are role models the world over as in Jackson's case with Nelson Mandela. Schools forget that throughout the world there are many great leaders as well as awful ones. But for the students in the UK it is essential to make them aware of these people, as well as providing the lessons of the "black teacher" and "mentor".

 

Section 5.11 Working for Black Teachers

In this part I was interested in examining whether the interviewees only worked for black teachers. My strategy was aimed at taking a blanket attitude that students should work for all teachers.

Allen described this scenario "The training the teachers receive is often about the economics and politics of racism but teachers are dealing with the personal behaviour outcomes of the turmoil of the students. At the moment there is no linking of the behaviour and the turmoil so how can they make sense of the behaviour. All they see is some angry and defiant youngster and, if they try to help, will often get an angry response."

He then described a possible students' reaction ""You can't help me you're white" We try to tell them this is not a positive response. All people are to be valued but we must accept that anger exists." And Allen then later on tries to teach the students to control this anger.

Let me note here that rather than working for black teachers we are discussing an adverse reaction to white teachers. Jackson discussed a difficult situation with one teacher. He described a strategy of toleration for apparent excesses but when I said "That is interesting because if you thought it was racial you'd be up the wall?"

He said "Yes. I don't like the way she is, but I can get down to it because she treats everyone the same."

However connected to this is how interviewees worked for different teachers, teachers they trusted or not. (Please note that it had been my intention to include trust in Appendix X but it is so closely connected to this issue that I have included it in this appendix).

Let us start with the positive reactions. When Denise was asked whether she worked better for some teachers she said "I think I did actually. I was hopeless at maths and this woman motivated me."

But there was an interesting interaction concerning this teacher.

"The ones I said I trusted were ones I felt were particularly good teachers because of the techniques they had for dealing with difficulties pupils had. For example the maths teacher saw that a student had a problem with maths and she made a real effort to deal with that problem.

"Other teachers would see the problem but would forget it.

"I have respect for those teachers because they enjoyed their job and did it to their best ability as well."

So I asked her "So the notion of trust that you had concerned the way they delivered the work and also that they had time for the pupils." And she said "Exactly".

But this doesn't quite tally with the rest of the interaction. When I asked her "Did you have any notions of racial consciousness at that time? Did you trust the teacher because s/he treated you well as a black person?"

She replied "This particular teacher didn't treat me any differently as a black pupil as some teachers did."

Being treated well as a black person, by not being treated differently, gained Donna's trust and she worked better.

Abbey, out of a Nigerian respect for education, "trusted school to educate her as that was what it was there for."

But the interviewees had more negative reactions, there were more examples where not trusting a teacher led to a less positive attitude.

Firstly from Esther, when she was asked if she trusted her teachers.

"Not really, no.

BZ:- Were there teachers you worked better for?

Probably there were, but there was nothing that stood out.

BZ:- Were there teachers you wouldn't work for because they were racist?

No, nothing like that at all."

So she probably worked more for those she trusted.

But from the first questionnaire, Q1 "There were some teachers I did not trust. I was less likely to complete the classwork set. I felt that they "favoured" others in the class so I became less cooperative. I did not think they were interested in my progress." She is now a teacher.

And from the third questionnaire, Q3 was "more cooperative, receptive to being challenged or extended, and less aggressive to them". His "attitude was more belligerent and uncooperative, had a low attention level, and tended to be turned off the subject" for teachers he did not trust.

From the second questionnaire, Q2 described how he "was caned once by the deputy head for something I don't remember, and once by a maths teacher for missing homework - the deputy head did not teach me. I detested both after that. Perhaps my maths was affected. (BZ note:- He didn't pass maths, took it later in life and passed.)

Q2 also felt strongly about a particular aspect of trust, "Trust is two-way. There is a failure on the part of the system to trust individuals and to respect their innate capabilities."

From my interviewees there appeared to be no attitudes of only "working for black teachers" but trusting a teacher was important and lacking trust often led to bad reactions. Importantly for those students that Andy meets, there is a feeling not of distrust but a feeling that white teachers cannot understand. If the students create a barrier in this way, they might create a barrier to learning in a similar way.

The question really is "Isn't it in your own interest to work for all teachers? " Overall Denise thinks that "the child has a certain amount of responsibility because at the end of the day what they learn in school will lead on to what they become in life - careers and so forth." She felt that she "never had to have anyone tell me to try harder because I was always doing my best anyway", but she got a broad set of qualifications so she must have worked for others who did not motivate her. "I did because I wanted the qualifications. It's got to be both but I was prepared to put more effort into the work the maths teacher set." When she says "both", she is saying that the teacher should provide some of the motivation.

When Grace was asked "Are there teachers you work for better than others?" She said "No.

BZ:- Because you are working for yourself?

Yes. If you don't understand the topic you can go and ask the teacher to help you, if you feel you can't talk to the teacher you can talk with someone else." Jackson demonstrated this approach, even though he did not express it directly, when he discussed working for the teacher even though he didn't like her attitude.

In this part I have reported that working for black teachers only did not arise with my group of interviewees. However Allen reported that some students in conflict with the system felt that white teachers couldn't understand them. However the connected issue of trust was very important as many interviewees said that they worked better for teachers they trusted. 

Section 5.12 Culture and Quality Education

In this part I wanted to examine whether there was a connection between what was seen as quality education, the issue of culture, and whether there was anything distinctive that black people saw as quality education. I had been wondering whether the content of the material (as suggested by Pirsig) as considered by the UK curriculum had a negative impact on black people. In their replies concerning quality education none of the interviewees referred to the contents of the material. This was notable both for myself in terms of quality education, but must also be an issue for all those who pressure teachers to spend hours on suitable materials.

Let us look now at the issues raised by the interviewees. For me quality is a matter of Inner Development, Esther said "I think itís a bit much at school.

It takes years to get to stage of personal development, and I havenít stopped. As a school child I think itís too early.

BZ:- Is it irrelevant?

No I donít think itís irrelevant, it takes quite a lot of effort at that stage.

BZ:- What kind of things are you thinking about?

Maturity, coping with life.

BZ:- Do you think that has a place in school?

Oh yes. Even though they donít have to cope with life at school they need to be aware of it because they are going to have to cope at some point. But it has to be appropriate to that level." But Personal and Social Education "was a waste of time. Little kids they get bored with things because they think itís not relevant."

Abbey enjoyed writing and she "worked at MOD Portham Down on a genetic project, reading DNA. It was very interesting but too personally dangerous - scientists doing it for the good of man!!" But when I asked why she didn't try this at school, she ultimately asked "Do you think school is structured in that way to learn for your own?" What can you say to that?

In the questionnaire Q2 felt that "quality education is really too big a subject but more focus on personal and interpersonal skills and a study of practical ethics would help." Whereas Q3 said that quality education could be improved with "greater emphasis on the ability to analyse and evaluate and deconstruct information, less emphasis on learning prescribed "facts"" ie more concerned with inner factors rather than the contents of the curriculum.

Mostly the interviewees referred to what I might call outer factors. Talking to Denise she felt that "having a teacher who is constant enough to provide me with the relevant information about what subject s/he was teaching." This is not concerned with educating the Inner Self but strictly concerned with the contents of the subject. I see this consistent with something that Abbey said. Abbey's motivations were based on what her mother wanted. When I asked her about quality education saying her mother was only achievement-orientated. She disagreed saying her mother was very achievement-orientated saying if she got a B the mother wanted an A. When I said this was achievement she said "quality was giving of your best, and was to get an A". An A and quality were both the same, that's how she saw it. Esther saw quality education in achievement terms as well.

"One person might need more help than another and if they donít get that. I know that happened to me in maths at school. She didnít help anyone, so I hated maths. But I got maths O level later, I had 1-1 tuition. Because of the way it was delivered, I didnít get any help with anything.

BZ:- So the 1-1 tuition was quality because the teacher answered your questions?

Yes."

Looking further into Denise's approach I asked her about the hidden curriculum, she said "maybe it should be connected to the overall ethos of the school whether it cares for its pupils." But when I asked her about self-realisation, something more closely connected to the quality education I was searching for, she said "that is not something I would necessarily see as coming from school, I wouldn't like to put that responsibility on a school. I think those that expect a school to provide that have too high expectations."

Allen had even clearer outer perceptions "It is education that fits its goals and perceives those goals. If you want an education system that really does develop the potential of each individual pupil, stimulates the economic cultural and social growth etc, then you need to design a system that does that.

"Situations where some pupils' behaviour, history and outlook are valued and others are not would not be a feature of quality education. This practice would be systematically challenged and replaced where all pupils would genuinely feel that their culture religion and background is being properly respected and valued.

"That would then release the potential of these students in terms of cognitive skills etc That is what I call quality education, education where you are genuinely valuing the beingness of each pupil, where people are genuinely able to self-actualise themselves."

When I spoke to Esther about quality education, she began talking about the quality of the teachers "Then there was the quality of the lecturers, I didnít think the standards were that good.

At school as well some teachers were not as good as others.

BZ:- How did you react to that?

I talked with my friends about them.

BZ:- Did you work for them?

Yes, there was no difference there. It was OK when they were trying to teach you something but then they would start off on something else. It was not their ability, it was whether they would stick to the point. It was a slackness on the part of the teacher."

When I said quality education is about how you were as person, she said " No I wouldnít agree with that because there are two sides to it. It canít just be about the student. If they are not delivering properly then you donít get anything out of it anyway, it canít just be about you. If youíre not getting any information or help at all thatís it." She felt spirituality was "a bit much" and reflection "would be some form of quality education. Yes there would be a place but it would take a long time."

There are many different approaches being offered as to what is quality education, but although these are diverse they are notable because they do not look into the more inner aspects of what could be seen as quality as I developed in the literature review. With a system that disadvantages the interviewees one would have thought there would have been a radical questioning of the curriculum that created that society. But this is not the case. The measures that are being asked for are deep and sweeping by implication, but revolve around measures of human respect rather than curriculum content. I think this is significant although not in the context of a strategy for quality education.

 

Section 5.13 Trust

The issue of trust has been covered in section 5.11, see explanation there.

 

Section 5.14 Coping with Peers

 

During the interviews I discovered that a number of people discussed various aspects of coping with peers. In my early sections I had been focussing more on how racism affected the attitude to work but clearly if students are unsettled because of poor behaviour by their peers, then this also will have an adverse effect on their studies. In this section I shall relate these strategies and draw upon them in the conclusion.

How important is this issue? Denise said "For the first two years in school it did. I'm surprised I didn't have a breakdown because the first two years of secondary school were the worst two years of my life. I thinks it's because you have to go through so much rather than focussing on what you're there for which is to learn. It's the constant teasing and taunting."

In 3 cases where peer pressure was discussed, it was because the interviewees had attended white schools and had been subject to severe attempts at bullying and intimidation by their peers. How did they respond? They were all forced to turn to violence because the system failed to protect them.

In Abraham's case "As a black kid at that time you could face a lot of stick just for being black. But going to a grammar school you got an extra dose on top. How I managed to come through it all is amazing.

"I knew people were put down because of colour. You would see films and see that was happening. You would say to yourself, if that happened to me this was what I would do. You made a vow within yourself to deal with it.

"This was how I decided to deal with it. If someone was bothering me with racist taunts no matter what the odds I would put up a fight. Right up until 18-19 that was the way I responded, whether it was 3 guys/four guys I was going to go over and challenge. There was never a time that I would let them see that because there was more of them that I would appear to be frightened.

"They must always feel that you will do enough damage to one of them the rest wonít bother, I got this idea from my brother."

Denise was being victimised by a ringleader "In my class there was one particular person who was a constant problem. What you tend to find in classes is that a person dominates, and in this class it was this dominant person who was the problem. She felt she could call me names, get other members of the class to gang up against me, not all did this but there were a core who did.

"I didn't do anything about it and it got to the stage where I decided I couldn't do this any more. In the morning before school I would get a panic attack, or would try to think of ways that I could get out of going to school.

"Then one day it came to the boil, and I smacked her head in. We had a fight in the corridor. I won the fight, I'm happy to say. The school did nothing. We had the fight coming out of the classroom. The teacher separated us and didn't take it any further. He didn't realise what was at the root of it so told us to stop and that was it." It stopped because the situation didn't occur again. Abbey had problems from the first day. For family reasons she returned a week late to her secondary school, and her grandmother had given a hairstyle for a present, a hairstyle she wasn't comfortable with. This boy started saying "Who do you think you are Queen of the wogs?" She thought what to do so she ignored him. Went to a teacher who said if you will have such strange hairstyles. The boy said it again so she punched him. This established a pattern, and gave her a reputation for a fighter even though she was timid when young. - she would cry rather than fight.

So 3 people, all who are in established professions now, were forced into fighting in their school years due to racism.

But the violence that students have to face in schools today is not the same as this. It is not usually a single black person being victimised by white peers, it is more a question of ghettoisation, and it is that ghetto violence spilling into schools. Grace has had to adopt a school survival strategy that is at the centre of all that she does in order to achieve her qualifications. In terms of her peers she avoids trouble.

"BZ:- Do you get bullied?

"No, because I will bully them." In the playground "I keep away. I just go to do my work, I go to the computer room and type out my work."

"BZ:- When these people come into the lesson and mess around, you don't talk to them, try to persuade them.

I tell them to shut up.

BZ:- And what happens then?

If they are really surprised at you they just stop it. But if they know you are going to say it they just carry on but you just have to keep going.

My way is that if I don't get my way you are not getting your way back. I have to be stubborn to get my way. If they don't do it my way they just get bitten."

The question of dealing with peers and violence is also central to Jackson's strategy for coping with school. When we discussed a number a leading black world figures he mentioned that he looked up to Nelson Mandela, when I asked him why he said Nelson Mandela "helped black people by showing them how to hold their aggression and be more calm." This is not solely Jason's strategy for dealing with peers.

Coping with peers is an integral part of school life that I did not deal with in my literature review, and this is why it is an extra part h ere. In the early days of black isolation and minority interviewees turned to violence as the only means of coping. The issue of racism at that time was not necessarily part of teacher education so teachers were not an option for coping with the problems. Hopefully that is not a problem now although I worked in a white school in which they told me "racism is not a problem here" so perhaps there are isolated black students still experiencing such problems.

But the real issue of coping with peers are the ways that students have to cope with disruptive students, and here they need to show a level of determination and maturity far beyond their years. That is however the purpose of this dissertation, to develop strategies for these students to cope and rely on their maturity.

 

Section 5.15 MENTORING

The issue of mentoring came up with a number of interviewees. I spoke to two people whose jobs were running mentoring projects, and both take different views on their mentoring projects. Ahmed runs a project designed to help university students find jobs - formal economy, and Allen is concerned with mentoring students who are finding it difficult at school and are finding that they are attracted to drugs and gangs of ghettoisation - informal economy.

Esther sees it as a good idea "I think mentoring is a good idea. I think it is good for adults but I think it should definitely be started at school. People going in and talking to the kids.", and feels that "in retrospect I missed that because there was no-one to talk to in Crewe, and mentoring makes up for that and is very important."

Ahmed describes how the mentoring works at the university level. "Mentoring is a process of supportive learning. Somebody who has got certain experiences of certain things in the system, and is willing to share that experience and knowledge with those that don't have it, thereby increasing their awareness of certain issues.

"The way this particular project works is that students are just starting their job search process, we are working from the career services of the universities. They are in their final year looking for companies who could employ them eg IT students.

"We make a link with employers and we get a professional person who would act as a mentor for these students, who would in turn create these partnerships between the students and the employer. The student can then go to the employer, sit with them, talk with them, learn things from them, share their experiences.

"It would break the ice for job interviews, it is a valuable source of networking.

BZ:- This is why employers would like it because it avoids the hit and miss aspects of job interviews. Absolutely , it is two-sided.

"If I quote from the pamphlet "Benefits to you and your organisation. This is the information pack that we would give to the employer. In helping our students to interface you will also benefit you and your employers, interface will help your personal development by giving you experience of coaching and advising students, providing you skills that will benefit you in your management role."

A mentor coming say from a solicitor's firm will gain an ability to talk to these students, increase their coaching skills, counselling, community awareness and communication.

"Considering problems facing ethnic minorities mentoring can be an excellent form of racial awareness training, and there is also a certificate that they can get from it.

"Organisations will benefit firstly because they will be able to demonstrate their commitment to equal opportunities".

Allen also sees this as a positive strategy - "vocational mentoring". He sees it as "looking at the interface of education and the world of work. With this scheme you are dealing with relatively successful well-motivated pupils who, because of the nature of society - unemployment for ethnic minorities etc, do not have contacts with the world of work that you would expect for such employable students. Therefore you provide them with contacts through mentors in jobs etc."

But Allen also says "I think the major advantage for this service is that we started from an American model. In this country mentoring started at North London college after a member of staff visited the US and came back with this idea of linking students with achieving adults, but this was very much defined by mentors having material success. So you got the suit-and-tie type successful people mentoring.

"Fair enough. I have nothing against that, all I'm saying is that it limits the definition of success, and only those children who were already relatively successful in the school system would actually relate to somebody who says you've got to struggle on and get your A levels, then you can become a doctor.

"For a number of students the key issue was not getting A levels, the key issue was stopping getting involved in no education - zero education. And in some cases, an unhealthy street culture. And actually getting them to think positively about themselves, and about doing something!"

So how do you get them to focus on education and think positively about themselves?

"The key is role models. We try to find people who are the next step further on of the life path the young person is on. The key to it was to find role models, mentors, in their early 20's, and the ones we found most successful were the ones who had failed at school, and become involved in street culture. In two cases they had quite substantial criminal records, and had come through the criminal justice system. They realised that the street culture was a complete waste of time, had gone back to the school, and said to the students "I am now 5 years on from you and I think it was a waste of time".

"The key to it was that they had extraordinary credibility. They weren't saying "Don't do it, I've now become a respectable suit-and-tie person". They were dressed in the fashion of the street culture. They knew the kids' parents, they knew their brothers, one of them even had a reputation that the kids knew. These are the people who have maximum credibility of the target group.

"The key to the mentoring is to define the target group, and what is credible from the young person's point of view, not from our point of view. I may feel a finance director is successful, but to a young person involved in this sort of sub-culture they are just an old fart.

"They are sell-outs, Uncle Toms. They say "My Dad was like that and it never got me anywhere."

"What you need is someone who can speak the same language, who listens to the same music and who the kids can relate to.

"What we found very rapidly is that these people saying "Think about what you're doing, I was involved in this and it didn't make me feel good. All it's done is bring me the nightmare of being in prison where you have to face yourself. All it's done for me is put me back. You don't have to go through this, we understand why you're doing it, we're not here to judge - no morality. If you follow this path these are the consequences. You're going to have a short life, you're not going to feel secure, and you're not going to feel good about yourself."

"These two said you can have a big car, flashy clothes, but you don't feel good."

Once these role models have spoken to the students, how does it affect them?

"It is basically and essentially a motivational project. It's trying to remotivate those that were thinking either that the goals the school were setting were unattainable because I'm too far behind, or that they're not socially desirable because I don't want to be in that system. I can do much better in the alternative system.

"Remotivating means getting pupils to think again about their goals in life, and what personal resources they need to achieve those goals."

But this is not just thinking academically. " There are a range of things. In that school we had a number of behavioural goals, you will attend, you will be punctual, coming equipped with the right equipment for lessons. They may not be academically achieving but this is the start.

"They are beginning not to get into the sorts of trouble that brought them to our attention. We spend a lot of time role-playing a situation where a teacher/adult has said something that makes you annoyed, and ways that you can respond without getting into trouble.

"But we don't stress academic improvement initially. Although these students may have attended school for ten years, maybe they had switched off, and effectively are ten years behind.

"What we look at is what we call value-added. Someone who may be achieving level zero and then starts to do something, putting sentences on paper, getting homework in, this is an achievement.

"It is still useful and important to have certain social and academic skills life skills, even if they donít' follow a qualifications route."

They "very rapidly" put a lid on discipline problems. Getting these students to behave in schools is a good start, but are they going to be able to earn a living, bring up children etc ie fulfil what is normally considered an adult life.

About this Allen's answers were not so clear. One career path was open to his mentors. "In a way our mentors have crossed over, and that's why they are so good mentors. Our part-time mentors are getting £15 an hour, and because of the success of the service they are on the threshold of getting full-time jobs. That is a special case."

However this is not a small area of employment "This informal economy is beginning to creep, and that's why you have a government who are seriously beginning to get anxious about whether it can be contained. In some ways I think it is worse on white working-class estates, now non-working estates, such as Wythenshawe. With the collapse of the Labour movement they have no heroes it's depressing." If the government is worried about the problem extending to white working-class (or non-working) estates, they might provide funds to help maintain the fabric of mainstream society. Andy sees this as a possibility with the European Social Fund. "Through a process of developing projects that can embrace the target group those projects can start to develop a base for employment, upskilling, training opportunities, work experience etc. We are looking at developing a project for working with a community group to get a pool of people (18-25) initially as volunteers but once they have been trained given counseling skills they will then be able to get part-time work. We are lucky, we found a good source of funding, the European Social Fund. The basis of the funding is insertion into the labour market. We are paid to give advice guidance and direction to enable them to enter into the formal economy."