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IRN Start Date: April 1, 2017

This International Research Network is based on the premise that society is at the dawn of an age of extremism.  Education has been placed on the frontline in the war against terror. A significant consequence of this is the way in which education policy and education practice (from a global perspective) are being shaped in response to this complex agenda as well as the emerging intersection between policy, education and national/international agendas. In some countries controversial education policy practices are emerging that potentially challenge civil liberties in response to the need for counterterrorist measures.  This network will bring together scholars from across the globe who have an interest in this field to draw together the research that is taking place.  We will synthesize research knowledge, map and critique emerging education policies in relation to extremism from a global perspective and discover the types of practices that teachers are now undertaking in schools across the world in relation to such policies. 


Extremism discourses and narratives are impacting on a range of fields within education from policy, teacher identity, national values, pupil/student experience and voice as well as the wider areas of free speech, human rights and religious liberty.  Emerging relationships between education and extremism are also generating new intersections with education especially in the fields of securitisation and counter terrorism. There has been an explosion of materials and guidelines produced by international bodies like UNESCO and the UN that are intended to be used in education about extremism as well as national initiatives. Different nation states are adopting sometimes quite radically different approaches to extremism within education and as yet the relationship between systems of social democracy, secularism and church/state relationships and approaches to extremism are unexplored.


We believe that at present, no one is mapping the research, the education policies or the teacher practices from a global perspective that have been designed to address in-country issues of radicalisation and extremism and that impact significantly upon education.  As such, the Research Network will be in a position to provide a critique of education policy and practice in relation to extremism in contemporary times.  The network will be in a position to compare practices across countries and to identify cross-cultural themes.


In some countries, government responses, articulated in policy terms, now require teachers to act in new and different ways.  For example, teachers are required to ‘promote fundamental British values within and outside of the classroom’ in England, according to the new Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013).  This statutory requirement raises questions about the private and public spheres in a liberal democracy, and how professional practice is being reconstructed in contemporary times. Similarly, there are new requirements placed upon Head teachers in some countries where they are now responsible for ensuring their pupils do not become radicalised, and monitoring and reporting pupils where there is concern. Research has been undertaken by the proposed IRN leaders and a doctoral student in relation to this phenomenon (Bryan and Revell, 2016; Krek and Zabel, 2016; Krek, 2015; Bryan and Worsley, 2015; Haith, 2015; Revell, 2012; Bryan, 2012; Bryan and Revell, 2011, Birzea et al, 2005) and we believe the time is right to expand our collective knowledge and understanding of this field.


The goals of the IRN are therefore as follows:

  • to map in-country government policy and interventions in education in relation to extremism;

  • to map in-country educational responses to global extremism;

  • to identify changes in patterns of teacher practice in relation to extremism;

  • to chart changes in constructs of teacher professionalism in the light of extremism;

  • to explore the implications of extremism and educational responses in relation to Liberal Democracy;

  • to map research taking place in these areas;

  • to grow the research base from a range of perspectives


The current state of research worldwide in relation to extremism and education will be synthesised into a significant report.  We aspire to become a significant group of scholars who will be in a position to chart changing practices in education in relation to this contemporary context. 


In seeking to ensure we employ ways of working that will engage researchers with a range of expertise and backgrounds, we have developed a ‘pedagogy of engagement’ for the proposed IRN. This will include inviting colleagues within the network to work with the network leaders to develop protocols for working in virtual spaces.  We will propose the following ways of working as a starting point:

  • an agenda and additional reports will always be circulated in advance of any ‘meeting’ (the term ‘meeting’ refers to any form of engagement including Skype, conference call, webinar, email etc);

  • network members will be invited to indicate which forms of media they find most suitable for meetings;

  • pre-work: network members will be invited to prepare updates in advance of the meeting;

  • meetings will begin with a ‘check-in’ to ensure everyone participates;

  • a section of the meeting will include a problem-solving element, where colleagues share issues and possible solutions are sought;

  • members of the network will be invited to take on roles (such as monitoring and recording actions, or tracking membership) and these will be rotated;

  • meetings will include celebrations where milestones are met;

  • the network leaders will be sympathetic to differing time zones across network members when planning meetings;

  • seek to develop trust and collegiality across the network through inclusive practice;

  • network leaders will maintain momentum between meetings by keeping in contact with individual members;

  • track progress against our proposed plan during each meeting.

  • use ‘Collaborative Document Editing’ software to facilitate writing and the development of a partnership approach to the production of materials.

  • Use Blackboard Collaborate to support real time communication between colleagues.


Outcomes may include but not be restricted to:

  • A substantial and unique synthesis of research, policy initiatives and teacher practices in relation to this agenda;

  • Internationally-informed research network that will be in a position to inform other scholars, educationalists and governments on the impact of extremism on education;

  • International book published by Routledge (Bryan and Revell are in discussion with Routledge);

  • Symposium/conferences to bring together international voices on in-country experiences

  • New research conducted in the light of our findings (such as policy analysis, empirical work on changing practices in schools, pupil perspectives, parental perspectives, philosophical considerations of the changing nature of Liberal Democracy and constructs of teacher professionalism therein).  



Dr. Hazel Bryan

University of Gloucestershire

Cheltenham, England


List of Participants

  • Professor Hazel Bryan, School of Education, University of Gloucestershire, England

  • Dr Lynn Revell, Reader in Religion and Education, Canterbury Christ Church University, England

  • Professor Janez Krek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • Professor Janez Vogrinc, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • Dr Diane Gereluk, Canada, University of Calgary

  • Dr Peter Grimes  - Senior Specialist Teacher Development and Disability

  • Basic Education Sector Transformation Program (BEST), Government of the Philippines

  • Andrea Haith, Doctoral student, Canterbury Christ Church University



BÎRZEA, Cézar, CECCHINI, Michela, HARRISON, Cameron, KREK, Janez. SPAJIĆ-VRKAŠ, Vedrana. Tool for quality assurance of education for democratic citizenship in schools. Paris: Unesco: Council of Europe: CEPS, 2005.


Bryan, H (2012) Reconstructing the Teacher as Post-Secular Pedagogue:  a consideration of the new Teachers’ Standards in the Journal of Values and Beliefs.  Vol 33 Number 2 August 2012


Bryan, H. and Revell, L. (2016) Calibrating Fundamental British Values:  how Head Teachers are approaching appraisal in the light of the Teachers’ Standards 2012 and the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, 2015 Journal for the Education of Teachers Special Edition on Fundamental British Values

Bryan, H and Revell, L (2011) Performativity, Faith and Professional Identity:  student religious education teachers and the ambiguities of objectivity.  British Journal of Education Studies.  Vol 59, No.4, December 2011, pp. 403-419


Bryan, H. and Worsley, H. (2015) (Eds) Being Christian in Education.  London: The Canterbury Press


Haith, A. (2015) Are British Values Christian Values? A reflection on the tensions between British values and Christianity in H. Bryan and H. Worsley,  Being Christian in Education.  London: The Canterbury Press.


KREK, Janez. (2015) Two principles of early moral education : a condition for the law, reflection and autonomy. Studies in philosophy & education, ISSN 1573-191X, 2015, vol. 34, issue 1, str. 9-29. pdf?auth66=1420525310_06708c7369496a964b6a98fa09b00a51&ext=.pdf, doi: 10.1007/s11217-014-9421-8.


KREK, Janez, ZABEL, Blaž. (2016) Why there is no education ethics without principles. Educational philosophy and theory, ISSN 1469-5812, 2016, vol. , no. , pp. 11. (PDF)., doi: 10.1080/00131857.2016.1217188.


Revell, L. (2012) Islam and Education: the manipulation and misrepresentation of a religion London: Trentham Books


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