EXPERIENCING SUCCESS: STRATEGIES ADOPTED BY BLACK MEN AND BOYS TO ACCESS THE CURRICULUM WITHIN FURTHER EDUCATION SECTOR
Nottingham Trent University (UNITED KINGDOM)
This paper considers how Black men and boys, through their own agency have developed sophisticated support systems which have enabled them to persist and achieve academic success when studying vocational qualifications, often after initial failure within the compulsory education sector. Using a phenomenological approach, primary research was completed in two city based colleges located in the East Midlands (England) over a 15 month period. A wide variety of qualitative research instruments were used to gather data and to preserve the integrity of the participants’ distinctive voices, including focus groups, individual interviews, classroom and recreation based observations and participant photo records. This data was used to build a multilayered picture of the participants’ individualised, situated perspectives of the daily realities of college life and to document the unique approaches this group of students employed to enable them to successfully remain within college and to achieve sought after academic qualifications. The paper further develops the theme of learner generated support systems and suggests how college management teams and tutors working together with learners, may help to positively influence the academic attainment of this group. The paper concludes by suggesting further strategies that colleges could usefully consider to promote equality and access within colleges to enhance achievement of Black male students.