Teaching 6th formers about racism and inequality

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I'm glad I don't have responsibility today for teaching students in schools about racism and inequality.  I don't think in all my years of teaching in schools and HE that I ever did very much of that, save through trying to set a personal example – not always successfully, I'd have to say when it came to equality.  Teaching school students about politically-charged issues in a thoughtful, balanced, and fair-minded way is always hard, and especially so when set in a contemporary political context such as that presented by the Black Lives Matter movement and its revolutionary purposes.  But for their own sake and for the sake of all our futures, young people should always be encouraged to think critically and talk about about complicated issues in the sort of conducive space that a well-managed classroom can offer.  And we need to remember the legal context for this in that under the Education Act 1996 schools have a duty to teach children about political matters in a balanced way.  Section 406 of that Act prohibits the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school, and Section 407 says that where political issues are brought to the attention of students they should be offered a balanced presentation of opposing views.  I wrote about this the other day.

This is why it's good to come across a guide for teachers that seems both measured and sensible.  The author of the guide says in the introduction,

“Almost all politicians, journalists, academics and other public figures agree that racism is an evil that should have no place in our society, and that we must do everything we can to fight it.  Yet there is also great disagreement about how to identify racism, the causes of inequalities between groups, and the right solutions for tackling racism.”

Just so.  See what you think.  The guide is on the Free Speech Union [*] website.


[*] I should declare an interest in that I am a member of the FSU.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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