Panel Discussion: Social and Educational Integration of the Turkish Speaking Community in Britain

Mar 09, 2011 13:00

Alev Yaman, Dr K Onur Unutulmaz

London Centre for Social Studies in collaboration with Cambridge Turkish Society hosted this panel discussion to highlight the key integrational issues of the ethnic minorities in Britain with particular focus on the Turkish Speaking Community. The panellists  highligted the main educational and cultural concerns for the community and present related ongoing research activities within their organisations.   


Making Diversity Work: Perspectives in Multicultural Pedagogy - by Tozun Issa, London Metropolitan University

Abstract: The debate surrounding the so called minority education in the UK has been with us for more than half a century, ever since the first groups of migrant workers’ children began appearing in UK schools in significant numbers during the 1950s. Successive government policies of assimilation and integration were mainly influenced by the ‘melting pot’ argument from the USA, and around the ‘unifying’ role of the English Language. Today, low levels of achievement amongst some students from linguistic minority communities are a concern for many educators, requiring considerations to adopt wider perspectives and strategies to tackle it.

This paper explores the dynamics of classroom interaction by adopting a perspective on multicultural pedagogy where students’ language and culture are seen as useful starting points for teaching complex academic concepts. By discussing some of the findings of a bilingual mathematics project the paper concludes that using students’ existing skills and experiences can have positive outcomes for learning cognitively demanding national curriculum subjects. 


Turkish-Speaking Immigrants in London and Football: Identity, Integration and Political Economy in the Field of Ethnic Football - by K. Onur Unutulmaz, ISCA/COMPAS, University of Oxford

Abstract: Although their number is difficult to estimate, it is certain that there is a significant Turkish-speaking community in London comprising Turkish-Cypriots, and Turks and Kurds from Turkey. Among many points of contact and interaction, amateur football appears to be one of the most significant social milieus. Among the hundreds of NGOs established by the Turkish-speaking communities, Turkish Community Football Federation (TCFF) is the only one that could mobilize some 2,000 people ever weekend including players, media workers and spectators. The successful growth of and attention attracted by TCFF since 1976, has encouraged the Kurdish community to establish their own federation and organize their own leagues in 1992. A large number of neighbourhood of origin clubs have been joined by clubs owned by various institutions including Mosques, the Cemevi and Community Associations.

There are three main research questions in this on-going ethnographic research: (i) how are individual/ethnic/religious/national identities (re)produced, presented and negotiated; (ii) what implications does organized amateur football have on the ‘integration’ of Turkish-speaking immigrants in London; and (iii) how is football instrumentalized in trying to keep the relations between the ‘home’ and the diaspora?


The Integration Experience of the Turkish Speaking Community and Educational Challenges Encountered - by Alev Yaman, London Centre for Social Studies (LCSS)

Abstract: In comparison to other European countries, the formation and structure of the Turkish speaking population in Britain is distinct. This has mainly been driven by differences in migration patterns and history.  Hence, their integration experience and some of the challenges they face have somewhat been separate to those elsewhere in Europe.  In her talk, Alev will provide a general overview of the socio-economic status of British-Turks. Low educational attainment and a lack of role models are amongst the most prevalent difficulties encountered by young people from the community, with only a very small minority in employment with employers outside their ethnicity.  Alev will couple observations from the 'Raising Expectations' project at LCSS with her personal experience in the UK educational system. She will be focusing on themes examining the interplay between integration, identity and education.



Alev Yaman

Researcher, English PEN

Dr K Onur Unutulmaz

University of Oxford


University of Cambridge

The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN

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