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Teacher Education

On 10th October 2007 St Mary’s BEd 4 and PGCE students took part in the second Global Dimension conference of the year. The conference The Opportunities and Challenges of Teaching in Ethnically Diverse Classrooms in Northern Ireland gave participants the chance to discuss and learn about issues related to the ever-changing face of the Northern Irish population. The day started with a talk led by Bronagh Crummey-Bryan of The Cultural Exchange. As a teacher of English as an Additional Language involved in cultural awareness training in ethnically diverse classrooms in Northern Ireland, she spoke about personal experiences and provided practical techniques to promote diversity as a positive educational development. Students were also challenged to think about their own expectations and assumptions about what it will mean to be a teacher in classrooms where a variety of ethnic backgrounds are represented. Following this, workshops were held giving students the opportunity to learn more about specific organisations dealing with these issues in Northern Ireland and the experiences of those involved. Workshop organizations included the Indian Community Centre, NICCY, Belfast Islamic Centre, The Chinese Welfare Society and St Mary’s Primary School, Divis Street. A plenary session gave participants the chance to share what they had taken away from the workshop experience.