Coaching & Leadership Development
What does it mean to be an Anti-Racist Teacher?

What does it mean to be an Anti-Racist Teacher?

This blog comes from the principal of Mission High School in San Francisco, Pirette McKamey.   Ask black students who their favourite teacher is, and they will joyfully tell you.  Ask them what it is about their favourite teacher, and most will say some version of this: “They know how to work with me”. So much is in that statement.   It means that these students want to work, that they see their teachers as partners in the learning process, and that they know the teacher-student relationship is one in which they both have power. In other words, black students know that they bring intellect to the classroom, and they know when they are seen.   As the principal of San Francisco’s Mission High School and an anti-racist educator for more than 30 years, I have witnessed countless black students thrive in classrooms where teachers see them accurately and show that they are happy to have them there.   In these classes, students choose to sit in the front of the class, take careful notes, shoot their hands up in discussions, and ask unexpected questions that cause the teacher and other classmates to stop and think. Given the chance, they email, text, and call the teachers who believe in them. In short, these students are everything their families and community members have raised and supported them to be.   I have seen some of these very same students walk into another teacher’s classroom, go to the last row of desks, and put their head down. I have seen them sit frozen in their seat, staring at an assignment—when earlier I...
What is Values-Based Leadership – Expert Interview

What is Values-Based Leadership – Expert Interview

This expert interview comes from Executive Coach and Integrity Coaching Associate, Pat Joseph.   What is Values-Based Leadership?   Values based leadership is when leaders draw on both their own core values and the negotiated and defined values of the work organisation for guidance and motivation.   Values-based school leaders are transparent about sharing and communicating their values and in helping their staff and pupils to connect to their own core values and those of the community they serve and learn within.   Values-based leadership is described by Richard Barrett, author of Building a Values-Driven Organisation, as “…a way of making authentic decisions that builds trust and commitment.”   Research tells us that values-based leadership is most effective when these values are ‘truly lived’ by the leadership team who model these values in their everyday attitude, approach, behaviours and decision-making.   This demonstrates their inherent commitment to their values in a real and observable way and encourages the whole of the organisation to make choices to internalise and act out of these values. As a consequence, these values become the “moral compass “that puts people before processes; helps our problem solving and guides our decision making about what is the right thing to do even when it might not be the easiest thing to do.   What role has values-based leadership played in your career?   Values are at the heart of our identity – they guide and enable us to show up as our best selves and they help us to know when things are not in alignment with our own integrity.   As a black woman, who started her career...
Knowing Oneself – 3 Tips to Effective Self-Reflection

Knowing Oneself – 3 Tips to Effective Self-Reflection

  This expert thinkpiece comes from Executive Coach and Integrity Coaching Associate, Mark Bisson.   It is part of the human condition to be introspective and to have a desire to gain a better understanding of ourselves.   Indeed, as many great thinkers throughout history have noted, it is precisely our self-consciousness and our ability to know ourselves, that sets us apart from other species on the planet.   As a professional coach, I have seen how it can be one of the most powerful tools for personal development for my clients.   As British psychotherapist Alison Rickard puts it, our reflective thinking can be “the combined voice of the best teacher and supervisor we ever had”.   On a personal level, it has been an essential component of my continuous learning journey. It has provided me with some valuable insights about myself and has enhanced my understanding of others both in my professional life and in my personal relationships.   As I have developed my reflective practice throughout the last few decades, I have learnt three key secrets to effective self-reflection…   1) Open up and be willing to take action   Effective self- reflection has at its core a willingness to be open with oneself, provide yourself the freedom to explore what’s going on for you and allow yourself to dig deeper underneath the surface.   This openness creates a space for messages to come forward, whether these are words, images, colours or emotions, and can allow you to build a deeper understanding of yourself and your unconscious mind.   However, as Twentieth century Brazilian educator and philosopher...
Breaking the Cycle – How to Address Racism in Schools

Breaking the Cycle – How to Address Racism in Schools

  This blog comes from the Founder and Leader of Oasis Charitable Trust, Steve Chalke   The death of George Floyd, along with the events and debate that have filled the months since, have highlighted again the ongoing and deep-rooted structural racism, injustice and inequality that plague our society.   The toppling of effigies erected to men who grew rich through the trafficking of black human beings has delighted some and horrified others.   However, as historian David Olusoga commented, after the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was torn from its city centre plinth in Bristol and thrown into the harbour: “This was not an attack on history. This is history.”   The symbolic must become systemic   You may believe that a statue to a man who traded in human flesh being pulled from the pedestal on which a previous generation had placed it was a criminal attack.   You may believe that it was an act of liberation. In my view, it was probably both in exactly the same moment. However, what is clear is that lasting change has to be more than symbolic; it must become systemic.   Therefore, the real question, is how do we turn this moment into a movement? A movement that serves as the harbinger of genuine transformation?   Racism is the complex system of privilege and legacy, advantage and disadvantage, power and poverty. It is explicit and implicit. It is conscious and unconscious. It is the air that we breathe.   It impacts us all from birth. As Layla Saad puts it in her book Me and White Supremacy, “White supremacy is a system [we all]...
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...