Traveller Drug Use and the School Setting: Friend Or Foe?(Letter to the Editor)
Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education, 2010, August, 54, 2
Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education
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Dear Editor, I am writing to discuss recent research findings on Travellers and drug use in Ireland, in relation to an emerging key theme of the potential assimilatory threat that the formal educational setting poses for Traveller youth amidst rising drug activity within the Traveller communities. The "Travellers" are an indigenous nomadic minority documented as being part of Irish society for over two centuries (NiShuinear, 1994). The Traveller community centralizes its ethnic identity as a closed nomadic group with distinct perceptions of inner and outer social boundaries, by operating as separate from sedentarist (settled) communities (Griffin, 2002). Traditional Traveller culture places great value on normative behaviours and belief systems (i.e, anti drug philosophies), clearly defined gender roles and expectations regarding early adult markers pertaining to marriages, autonomy, role definition and financial independence, and the prioritisation of family-based learning and traditional entrepreneurism. (Fountain, 2006). This traditional Traveller value stelsel clashes with the Gauje (sedentarist) formal education setting, with academic attainment seen as irrelevant to the Traveller world and contributing to poor literacy and early school leaving during childhood years (Kiddie, 2000; Reynolds et al., 2003; O'Hanlon and Holmes, 2004; Bhopal, 2004). It is seldom that Traveller family or home learning values of interdependence and independence are reflected within the dominant dependent sedentarist schooling approaches. This contributes to further institutional and social exclusion, overt negative stereotyping, disrupted learning, compromised self-esteem, early school leaving, and high absenteeism (Jordan, 2001a; Jordan, 2001b). For nomadic families, formal schooling attempts are further compromised, contributing to parental condoned absences, discontinuance, high absenteeism and poor retention, thereby forming the basis of entrenched patterns of nontransfer of Traveller children from primary to secondary level (Bhopal, 2004; Derrington, 2007).
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Published: Aug 01, 2010
- Publisher: American Alcohol & Drug Information Foundation
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 14 Pages
- Language: English