Bristol Conversations in Education - Pioneering Parents: Promoting Intergroup Relations through Shared Education in Northern Ireland
Laura Taylor (PhD), School of Psychology, University College Dublin (UCD)
Room 4.05/06, School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA
This event is part of the School of Education's 'Bristol Conversations in Education' seminar series. These seminars are free and open to the public.
Speaker: Laura Taylor (PhD), School of Psychology, University College Dublin (UCD)
Pioneering Parents engages with elementary schools involved in the Shared Education Signature Project (SESP) in Northern Ireland, a society of protracted intergroup conflict. One legacy of the conflict is that 94% of children attend separate schools (i.e., either controlled/predominately Protestant, or maintained/predominately Catholic). Past research has shown that shared education, an initiative that facilitates cross-group contact through the delivery of joint classes for students from separate schools, improves children’s intergroup attitudes and behaviours. The current project, rooted in Family Systems Theory and developmental provocation, represents an innovation extension of past research as the first study to examine the ‘pioneering parents’ of children entering SESP. Complementing research on how parental attitudes affect school choice and influence children’s intergroup attitudes, we explore the alternative pathway: how children’s interactions with outgroup peers in the school setting may influence parents’ intergroup attitudes and behaviours. Examining these dynamic, bidirectional influences related to how contact among classmates affects not only the children but also the families in SESP, findings highlight the impact of shared education beyond the immediate classrooms, with the potential for this educational initiative to promote broader equality in intergroup relations in Northern Ireland.