Cypriot teachers, nationalism, cosmopolitanism and education: an empirical study

Frangopoulos, Frangis (2020) Cypriot teachers, nationalism, cosmopolitanism and education: an empirical study. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The main aim of this dissertation is to analyse the perceptions of Cypriot teachers regarding a cosmopolitan future for the Cypriot educational system. The principal research question addresses whether an education system based on Hierocles the Stoic’s cosmopolitan theory of concentric circles, as developed by Martha Nussbaum could improve understanding among the two main communities of Cyprus, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. Teachers are important actors in implementing innovations in the education system. Their perceptions are important and should be researched and taken into account before any innovation is designed and implemented.

This study’s methodology deriving from the interpretivist paradigm adopts a hermeneutical, dialectical, perspective with face-to-face interviews being the method for data collection. To this end twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot teachers. Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed the perceptions of Cypriot teachers regarding Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in education, the most important of which are:
• The positive perceptions of teachers towards any change in the educational system that embraces respect, tolerance and empathy among the people of Cyprus. The name of the educational system is not as important to them since, as the research showed, they are not familiar with the concept of Cosmopolitanism.
• The strong feelings of injustice among the teachers of Cyprus increased by the absence of any measures of restorative and social justice in education and society, after the conflict between the two communities and the Turkish invasion in 1974. The concealment of truth especially with regard to recent events of Cypriot history is a potent factor.
• Teachers believe that Nationalism is an important element in Cypriot society and education. Nonetheless, they do not believe that is cultivated through the official curriculum but rather through the unofficial, implicit, curriculum. They consider the individual classroom teacher as the most important agent in cultivating or resisting Nationalism in education.
• The teachers preserve a strong affiliation towards their own (specific) national identity which should be taken into account in implementing a respectful and tolerant educational system and at the same time believe that a civic identity should be cultivated through education to help the people of Cyprus integrate to a common state regardless of their ethnicity.
• Cypriot teachers are supportive of teaching the other community’s language in public schools. They believe that it is an obligation of the State which derives from the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and that it will increase communication and collaboration among the people of Cyprus.

The results of the study are of value to current debates, between those involved in the negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus conflict, with respect to the ways Cypriot education could contribute to increasing understanding and communication among Greek and Turkish Cypriots. This implies that some level of cooperation is needed between the two educational authorities in finding new means of communication, which could involve the adoption of common general objectives based on respect, tolerance and empathy. Results show that the individual teacher is considered important and reveal the willingness of teachers to explore educational objectives based on respect tolerance and empathy. These outcomes demonstrate the need for empowering teachers and supporting them in their efforts to apply the objectives of respect, tolerance and empathy to the schools of Cyprus.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, Cyprus, Cypriot education, Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, teachers, Cosmopolitan education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Franchi, Dr Leonardo and Hedge, Dr Nicki
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mr Frangis Frangopoulos
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81838
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2020 09:32
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2022 13:13
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81838

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