The EMU/CH Publications project was established early in 1995 with the purpose of devising in-depth teacher-education support materials in relation to Education for Mutual Understanding and Cultural Heritage (EMU/CH) for students on initial teacher training courses and for serving teachers engaged in in-service courses and research at various levels. Two books are in preparation, one a source book of relevant extracts indicating the origins and the scope of EMU/CH (referred to hereafter as Book 1) and the other a collection of commissioned chapters which together will offer a framework for understanding and developing these important educational themes (referred to hereafter as Book 2).
Four previous progress reports have been issued during the lifetime of the project: in August 1995, February 1996, September 1996 and March 1997. These provided information on how the structures and basic parameters of the project were established, on the process of commissioning chapters from various contributors, on the task of gathering supportive information from a range of sources to give authenticity to the whole project and on the mundane business of pursuing delayed contributions.
During the first half of 1997 the process has continued to focus on the consolidation of the two books. Some work remains to be done in scanning in materials for the sourcebook (Book 1), and there have been some difficulties in finding suitable equipment and software to accomplish this. The current thinking of the Project Team is that this book might be produced in a more temporary form than Book 2, perhaps even in a ring binder or loose leaf format, or possibly in disc.
Most of the recent period has concentrated on Book 2, however, and almost all of the chapters have been completed, some of them having been (or are still in the process of being) substantially redrafted. The process of inviting a number of individuals to read and comment on these chapters has continued, with generally very positive responses. Only one chapter by a commissioned author remains to be submitted at this stage. All things being equal this book should be complete by the end of the present calendar year, and publication should be possible during the first half of 1998.
Alongside the work of this particular project, the Project Officer has now completed the process of teaching two series of in-service modules on EMU/CH for the DASE/Advanced Certificate in Education Programme at the Queen's University School of Education, in association with the Warrington project. Two cohorts of teachers - one primary, the other predominantly post primary - have now gone through this process. These courses have provided a practical outlet and testing ground for the material which is being developed as well as a rich source of classroom-related experience and concerns which continue to inform the shape and content of the two books. The action research module which concludes each series of four modules has proved to be particularly rewarding and informative, and it is hoped that at least some of the action research reports will also be published in some form. There have also been regular opportunities for work with PGCE and BEd students in Queen's and in Stranmillis and St Mary's Colleges as well as with other groups of teachers under the auspices of Education and Library Boards, voluntary support organisations and school based in-service courses.
It has been considered important throughout for the Project Officer to remain in close contact with the widest possible range of practitioners in the field of EMU/CH and related fields in order to keep abreast of current thinking and developments. To this end steady contact is maintained with staff of Education and Library Boards, non-statutory support groups and other academic institutions. International contact has also been drawn upon through involvement in conferences and in meeting and/or addressing visitors from other countries. An invitation from the British Council during the Autumn of 1996 to visit the United States in order to look at multicultural education and related programmes, and to consider ways of making EMU/CH better known to American practitioners, was particularly valuable. As a member of the Steering Committee of the European Network on Conflict Resolution in Education (ENCORE), the Project Officer has also enjoyed many opportunities for enriching his experience of the broad international field of diversity education.
Publication details are not yet clear, but further enquiries are being made, and quotations sought, to agree how Book 2 may be published. (A grant towards publication costs was included in the original project funding).
The major period of the project is now at an end and the Project
Officer, Norman Richardson, took up a new post in teacher education
at Stranmillis College on 1st September 1997. Notwithstanding
his move the Project Officer will continue to consult widely on
the progress of this material in order to ensure that it will
make a significant contribution to the professional development
of teachers in relation to these most important areas of educational
and community concern. It is anticipated that within the next
few months the process will culminate and conclude with the publication
of the two books.