Educational experts call for action to stem ’islamophobia’
Educational experts have challenged the Government to provide specialist teachers in Citizenship in order to stem the growing tide of Islamophobia post 9/11.
University of Leicester staff and students have highlighted the need for changes in the curriculum in order to promote an inclusive national identity. Their views are expressed in the latest edition of the journal ’Race Equality Teaching’.
Professor Audrey Osler, Director of the Centre for Citizenship Studies in Education at the University of Leicester, said citizenship education can transform the curriculum.
Her views are echoed by University of Leicester graduate Kirsty James, a former PGCE Citizenship student (2002-03) and a teacher at a City of Leicester School. She suggests how teachers can promote an inclusive national identity. She challenges the Government to provide more specialist teachers of Citizenship.
She writes: "The events of 11 September 2001 have profoundly changed British society. There is increased racism and a worrying rise in Islamophobia. Citizenship education is about overcoming the barriers to equality...it is about protecting democracy, from anti-democratic forces such as organised racism and xenophobia."
Chris Spurgeon, an English teacher at Hamilton Community College in Leicester describes a school project which encourages students in Years 7 and 8 to consider how and why they have ended up in that school in the City and to explore their physical journeys and feelings. It includes established students from white and Asian communities as well as new arrivals from countries as diverse as Zimbabwe, Portugal and Kosovo. It focuses on the many cultures and on the challenges facing the city.
Tasneem Ibrahim, a research assistant in the Centre for Citizenship Studies in Education (CCSE) at the University of Leicester draws on her experience as a project officer in the Department for International Development - funded project on the national global dimension data base of resources for teachers (www.globaldimension.org.uk/).
Former CCSE colleague Dr Raul Pardinaz-Solis, now based at Skillshare International in Leicester explains how we have trained East Midlands teachers to develop global perspectives in the classroom.
Clive Billingham, advisory teacher for multicultural education in Leicester, describes a project undertaken in partnership with Leicestershire Police and the Haymarket Theatre as a result of police concerns about racist abuse of Asian women by children on a local housing estate. He describes how he worked with children at Merrydale Junior School and Northfield House Primary to make a video which is now used by schools across the city and nationally to raise awareness about racial bullying and harassment. He says: This resource helps schools to explore racist harassment as a specific and identifiable form of anti-social behaviour, with deep historical roots and significant social consequences. The ’Throwing Stones’ video provides opportunities for teachers to work with children to discuss these issues.
Professor Audrey Osler says: “Leicester teachers have considerable expertise in working with children to increase their understanding of cultural diversity and challenge racism. At the Centre for Citizenship Studies in Education we aim to support teachers in sharing the expertise with their colleagues across the country.”
The teachers’ journal ’Race Equality Teaching’ provides excellent practical advice for teachers - both those working in multicultural environments like Leicester and those working in rural environments with children who have little direct experience of other cultures.
Ather Mirza | alfa
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