“They Know My Struggle”: Students’ Inter-ethnic Friendships in Ethnically Diverse Schools

This article explores the role of ethnicity in students’ friendship formation within ethnically diverse schools. The formation of close friendships across and within ethnic groups is relevant to debates regarding school and community social cohesion, as students’ close friendships across ethnic difference could comprise an indication of positive inter-ethnic attitudes and values—vital elements for socially cohesive environments. Drawing on data from in-depth interviews with sixteen- to seventeen-year-old students in four London (United Kingdom) ethnically diverse schools, this article demonstrates that students valued and celebrated the ethnic diversity of their schools. In addition, most formed inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic friendships. Yet, a smaller group of students considered inter-ethnic friendships difficult to form and maintain. A number of barriers were brought forward that related to constructions of ethnic “otherness” and to lived and/or feared experiences of racism. This article concludes that despite the positive inter-ethnic mixing of most young people within ethnically diverse schools, impediments, such as racism and individual attitudes, still hinder the formation of inter-ethnic friendships among some students and generate tensions, both tacit and explicit, between ethnic groups.

The Literacy Practices Guide: A "Smart Tool" for School Principals

This article outlines the development and piloting of the Literacy Practices Guide (LPG), how it was used by sixty principals in a national pilot project, and its perceived usefulness in assisting them to lead the teaching of reading in their schools. The LPG provides a structured way of observing five dimensions of the teaching/learning environment as they relate to reading instruction and is based on the “walkthroughs” developed in the 1970s as a strategy to move managers closer to the people and processes involved in their business in order to drive improvement. A brief overview of the research evidence behind reading pedagogy and professional learning is followed by a discussion of walkthroughs and how they have been implemented in different educational settings to support effective leadership. The five dimensions of the LPG are described, and sample descriptors from different year levels are provided. The article concludes with a discussion of the various ways it was used by sixty primary school principals across Australia in a research study, and their response to it as a tool to support teacher practice and student achievement.

Improving Literacy Development in Foster Children: Best Practices for the K-6 Classroom

Foster children who have experienced abuse or neglect often struggle academically, particularly in the area of literacy development. This research study explored current teachers’ best practices for improving literacy development in foster children in the K-6 classroom. Themes emerged indicating the teachers’ perceptions of meeting the needs of foster children, especially as related to improving literacy skills and encouraging literacy development. These best practices can be implemented by K-6 teachers to assist in preventing school failure for foster children.