Student teachers' understandings of poverty and learners' educational attainment and well-being: perspectives from England and Scotland

Susan Ellis, Ian Thompson, Jane McNicholl, Jane Thomson

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This article reports on two UK initial teacher education studies from two contrasting contexts: a secondary school course in Oxford, England and a primary school course in Strathclyde, Scotland. The questions of how student teachers understand the effect of poverty on pupils’ educational achievement, and what they as prospective teachers can do to effect change, are common concerns of the research studies reported here. The Oxford study illustrates the problematic issue of student teachers’ perceptions of poverty, whilst the Strathclyde data suggests the potential power of a focused intervention to change views on poverty and education. A teacher identity framework is used to consider the interactions between external factors (schools, systems, communities of practice) and internal factors (knowledge, activities, thoughts, reflections), to understand how participation, alignment, agency and reification can support or undermine teachers’ understanding and enactment of teaching for social justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-499
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Education and Teaching
Issue number4
Early online date23 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2016


  • identity
  • agency
  • povery and educational attainment
  • social justice
  • preservice teachers
  • urban education

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