The purpose of this paper is to explore the lived educational realities of black male students studying in further education (FE) colleges to understand how these experiences compare to their experiences of statutory education. It describes the way in which students perceived and received education in both sectors and highlights the similarities and variations between the two.
Ethnographic methods including focus groups, individual interviews and naturalistic observations were used to investigate black male students’ perceptions of FE. These accounts were compared to their memories of compulsory schooling experiences to establish differences and similarities between sectors and to determine which educational approaches black male students identified as most useful.
The research established black males perceived there were significant differences between the two sectors and these differences had impacted on their ability to learn. These findings provide a useful reference point for educators seeking to evaluate their organisation’s education provision for black male students.
This paper provides suggestions on what sorts of educational opportunities are appropriate and accessible for black males and which approaches help to support their educational achievement.
There are little research data which specifically discuss black male students’ experience of the FE sector. This paper will help teachers and managers at all organisational levels in FE (and in schools) review their provision and consider adopting approaches that may help to enhance black students’ educational journeys.
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