Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Tamsin Cavaliero
Our Children, Our Future
"How was your day?" Supporting Travellers at primary level
Optional Fields
Travellers, Education
Breda McTaggart and Perry Share
The purpose of this paper is to outline changes in practice that developed out of working with Traveller children and their parents in providing homework support. A significant element in securing equality of access, participation, scholastic success, retention, attainment and, more importantly, an enjoyable and positive experience of school is in nurturing quality relationships between teachers, Traveller pupils and Traveller parents. Many authors have attested to this fact including Kenny (1997) and Kiddle. In order to improve Traveller attainment in schools the pupils first need to be able to remain in the educational setting and, in order to achieve this, it is important that they have a positive experience, a ¿secure base¿ (Bowlby, 1988) from which to develop and a ¿facilitating environment¿ (Rogers, 1997). The practice described was a homework support session offered to four Traveller families for sixteen children aged 4 ¿ 10 years over a period of two years in county Sligo. The conclusion argues for flexibility in approaches to learning and the importance of equipping young practitioners with the skills to engage in a meaningful way with families from cultures other than their own. In addition, the importance of the development of practitioner-researcher skills is highlighted along with the suggestion that whilst recent innovations in policy are welcomed it is also important that these policies are implemented and that appropriate resources are allocated to ensure their implementation.
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