Coaching & Leadership Development
4 Ways to Tackle Racism in Schools

4 Ways to Tackle Racism in Schools

  This blog comes from education content writer at Twinkl, Kerry Griffiths.    Teachers and school leaders are in the uniquely privileged position of standing alongside their young learners as they start to navigate the world and understand the way that different human relationships work in wider society.   Unfortunately, in many countries and cultures across the world, racism is still prevalent and the effects of this discrimination upon students is grave.   However, educators are uniquely placed to affect positive change around racism with their work with pupils, and this change has a ripple effect through the rest of society.   To do this, teachers and school leaders must first acknowledge that imbalance exists – both in the classroom and in society as a whole. Now this is not easy as talking about racism in the classroom can be difficult, but discrimination must be named and acknowledged before it can be addressed.   Teachers and school leaders must also engage with these challenging discussions if our schools are able to create learning environments where Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students feel safe and all pupils are equally supported to thrive.   With this in mind, what can we do as educators to dismantle these barriers to learning and success and begin to tackle racism in our schools?   1. Recognise and Challenge Your Own Unconscious Bias   Through our lived experiences, each person develops internal biases that, when left unexamined, can become troublesome. These are often unconscious, so the person hasn’t made a decision to think this way, but unless these biases are dismantled they can lead to inadvertent unfair treatment of...
The “R Word” – What Schools must Learn about Race

The “R Word” – What Schools must Learn about Race

  This blog is from the co-founder of Teaching While White and the Associate Director for Mid-West Educational Collaborative, Elizabeth Denev.   A few years ago, I was sitting in a parent-teacher conference. A black mum sat across the table from me as we discussed her son.   By this time, I had been through a master’s program and had been asked to join a diversity committee. I considered myself a “good” white person, now “thinking” about racism (it was still an intellectual exercise for me).   I was particularly troubled by this young black boy who “was not living up to his potential.” I felt that he could do more, but he was not. I expressed my oh-so condescending concern as, “Look at all I’m doing. Why won’t your son meet me halfway?” — a sentiment I have felt and heard in schools more times than I can count.   This mum looked at me and said in a calm voice, “I think you’re being racist toward my son.”   And what did I do?   I doubled-downed. I proceeded to explain to this mum all the ways that I certainly was not racist, how much I had worked with her son, given him extra time. I had not written him off as so many other teachers had done, telling me that I shouldn’t waste my time with him.   Couldn’t she see how “good” I was? I defended myself, and my whiteness, just as I had been taught to do by centuries of white superiority and white silence on this topic.   Years later, I shudder when...
Talking about Race – 10 Steps to Progress

Talking about Race – 10 Steps to Progress

  This blog comes from teacher and the co-founder of the Anti-Racist Educator, Mélina Valdelièvre (@AntiRacistEd)     Many of us will have experienced the explosive nature of conversations about race. So much so that we become afraid of even mentioning the ‘r-words’ – ‘race,’ ‘racism’ and, the most explosive of all, ‘racist’.   Pointing out the racism behind someone’s actions often places us in precarious situations, especially if you are a person of colour. As a teacher of colour in Scotland, I have encountered numerous difficulties when speaking about race with colleagues, pupils, friends and my biracial family.   There is often a fear of offending, of being offended and many misunderstandings, making race a practically ‘taboo’ topic. And, unless we communicate clearly in this area, racial violence – be it discursive, physical or systemic – has a dangerous potential to grow even more.   There is a misconception that talking about race only makes matters worse and increases racism. However, there is a wide range of evidence suggesting that productive conversations about race can lead to:   – An expansion of critical consciousness – An increased ability to dispel stereotypes and misinformation about other groups – Less intimidation and fear of differences – Increased compassion for others – A broadening of horizons – Increased appreciation of people of all colours and cultures – Greater sense of belonging and connectedness with all groups    It was with the intention of exploring the importance of communication around race that I went on a research trip to the country with innumerable experts on race – the United States of America. On...