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‘When Black lives matter all lives will matter’ Part 2: forging new alliances

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 September 2020

Ann Phoenix, Afiya Amesu, Issy Naylor and Kafi Zafar – a teacher and three students discuss the BLM movement in their second blog.

The scrutiny of racism that Black Lives Matter has produced raises questions of commonalities and differences in experiences of racism across groups. One consequence is that Asian people have found themselves remembering the pain of being subjected to implicit and overt racism. One example is learning that others thought there was something inherently wrong with darker skin through being asked at age five years, “why is your skin black?” before having any concept of race, ethnicity, or skin colour.

Fons Americanus by Kara Walker, displayed in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall. Photo by Les Hutchinson via Creative Commons

Part of the complexity ingrained in everyday racist practices is that it is not simply between those who are white and those who are ‘other’. Instead, South Asian children learn early that, not only is there a great deal of racism and casteism towards South Asians, but also within their own South Asian communities. Comments from elders range from complaints of becoming too tanned in the summer, and darker skin ruining marriage prospects for young girls, to offhand remarks about how beautiful a baby is for no other reason than their fair complexion. This is, arguably, as destructive as external racism since it tears South Asians apart from the inside. This colourism is now recognised to be one face of racism that has gained strong footholds because of histories of enslavement and colonialism. It highlights the importance of recognising what Avtar Brah, in the 1990s, called ‘differential racisms’.

Increasingly, young British Asians are fighting against these ideologies through not only embracing their own dark skin, but also breaking down the stereotypes and stigma (more…)

‘When Black Lives Matter All Lives Will Matter’

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 September 2020

 

Ann Phoenix, Afiya Amesu, Issy Naylor and Kafi Zafar – a teacher and three students discuss the BLM movement in a two-part blog.

The publicity following the death of George Floyd after the white policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck galvanised support for the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM and the attention it has garnered over the last few months has thrown light on the ongoing discrimination and systemic racism that black people continue to face.

Alongside the unprecedented global protests against racism, there seems a new appetite to understand the specificities and ubiquity of anti-black racism and its subtle, every-day materialisations as well as its murderous manifestations. That quest for understanding has seen an extraordinary outpouring of testimonies from black and mixed-parentage people, telling stories of events and day to day experiences that have generally been reserved for insider conversations on microaggressions and discrimination.

It is evident in institutions such as the media and universities that both like to see themselves as progressive but are repeatedly shown to reproduce social inequalities. A crucial (more…)

What food-insecure children want you to know about hunger

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 September 2020

Rebecca O’Connell, and Julia Brannen.

Footballer and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford has rebuked Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake on Twitter for suggesting that parents who need help to feed their children are failing in their responsibilities.

Children growing up in poverty today recognise it is their parents’ duty to make sure they are fed adequately. But, like Rashford, whose family struggled with food security when he was a child, they know from experience that parents cannot always fulfil this obligation. In this context, they argue, government and others have a responsibility to act.

Children speak out about hunger

We know this because we have asked children about this exact issue as part of our research into food poverty. In a European study of low-income families, we asked young people between 11 and 16 years old who they consider to be responsible for making sure children have access to enough decent food. Most children argued that parents, government and organisations like schools should work together to achieve this. Phoebe, age 16, whose father had lost his job in the local authority, said:

If a family is unable to provide food then I think it’s up to schools and government to kind of make that up, if there is really nothing that they can do. So free school meals and fruit at break I think is really important. I think it’s really important that there is enough money for schools to be able to provide free school meals, breakfast club and fruit and stuff like that.

However, attributing responsibility to those in power did not mean children exempted parents from taking responsibility. On the contrary, several young people talked about the (more…)

‘I knew what was going on the news, but I didn’t know how to understand it’: is the Prevent policy helping students learn about terrorism?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 September 2020

SEVENHEADS / Pixabay

Alex Elwick, Hans Svennevig and Lee Jerome.

When it comes to understanding and learning about terrorism and extremism, what young people say they want and many of the educational resources they are provided with do not match up.

Our contribution to a recently published book shows that young people generally support the values of democracy and reject the use of political violence, but they want their teachers to help them to develop their critical media and political literacy. Despite what students have told us, we found that leading government endorsed education resources currently fall short of such aims. The Educate Against Hate website has been developed by the Department for Education and the Home Office ‘to provide practical advice, support and resources to protect children from extremism and radicalisation.’

Our review of the site suggests that counter-narratives within these resources tend to be simplistic and lack criticality or nuanced engagement with a range of perspectives, e.g. a PowerPoint slide with the guidance “don’t be racist”. This criticality stood out as one of the key requests of young people in our research – they trusted teachers to tell them the truth and introduce them to (more…)

Moving up to secondary school during a pandemic is difficult. Here are some ways for teachers to help

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 September 2020

 Sandra Leaton Gray and Jane Perryman.

When researchers visit schools to ask young people about their experiences of moving up to secondary school, there are a number of repeating themes. They are excited by the idea of new school uniforms, learning new subjects in specialist rooms, using special equipment, meeting new teachers, joining interesting clubs, and making new friends.

However, moving up to secondary school can also cause young people to develop worries. Things like getting lost on a large school site, having lots of homework, being bullied, and not having enough friends will often cause concern. Schools are well aware of this phenomenon, of course, and generally handle young people’s anxieties very well, which means that by the end of the first term, the vast majority have settled into their new educational homes and can barely remember what it was like being at primary school. The strategies used by secondary schools to encourage this settling in process include liaising closely with primary staff, welcoming Year 6 pupils in for taster days, and visiting them in their primary schools. It’s a robust formula based on research into the relationship between adolescent development, socialisation and school attainment, and it’s something UK schools usually do pretty well.

This year it’s very different. Many young people have not been in school since March, and others have had little (more…)

The First World War prompted an expansion of HE after devastating destruction. Can we draw lessons 100 years on?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 July 2020

Georgina Brewis.

Students coming to UK universities in September 2020 are facing a unique year: virtual freshers’ fairs, online lectures, social distancing and compulsory face coverings on campuses. Yet as lockdown eases, there is a renewed enthusiasm for continuing higher education – UCAS applications from UK school leavers are at an all time high.

A hundred years ago, there was a similar rush to the universities and colleges after the devastating disruption and loss of the First World War. A new open access article in the journal History, co-written with Sarah Hellawell and Daniel Laqua, is the first to examine an innovative government scholarship scheme for ex-service students. Between 1918 and 1923, the ‘Scheme for the Higher Education of Ex-Service Students’ broadened the social class base of UK universities and colleges, and marked a significant development in the provision of state funding for students’ higher education.

UCL Cloisters in the early 1920s showing photographs of the fallen and the roll of honour. Source: UCL Special Collections.

Immediately after the Armistice in November 1918, young people began planning their return to the universities and colleges they had left for military or civilian service. Many institutions, including University College London, ran an emergency year from January to August 1919, teaching through the vacation to enable students to complete their studies. A pressing shortage of school teachers drove a surge in demand for teacher training. At the London Day Training College (more…)

Higher education in the era of COVID-19: have universities considered all the issues for moving teaching online?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 July 2020

Gillian Stokes, Alison O’Mara-Eves, Antonia Simon, Preethy D’Souza, Meena Khatwa and Michelle Richardson

The coronavirus pandemic arrived like Nature’s curveball from the blue, and it has had a huge impact on the landscape of higher education (HE). Teaching and learning from home have rapidly become the new normal, with no clear end in sight.

The discourse surrounding HE teaching and learning just as rapidly shifted focus.

Universities’ ability to deliver ‘fit for purpose’ remote learning is under scrutiny. Staff, parents and students are raising worries about privacy, technology and teaching methods. Lecturers have engaged readily and adapted teaching to try to ensure the best experience for their students. But they also have concerns.

We believe discussions about HE and online teaching need to become more nuanced. Here, we identify four key issues (more…)

Wellbeing: engaging with students on their experience of moving online

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 July 2020

Nadine Zwiener-Collins, Lisa Fridkin, Neus Bover-Fonts.

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, universities worldwide have experienced rapid changes to the way they teach, especially the move to online teaching. These changes and their consequences are widely discussed within the Higher Education sector; however, because the changes are so new, systematic evidence on how students are coping is just emerging and so far, we know little about students’ own perceptions of the impacts on their learning experience and wellbeing.

These impacts are likely to be complex and multidimensional, and shaped not only by the students’ own diverse backgrounds and individual circumstances but equally by the specific responses of universities and individual programmes to the crisis.

We asked one cohort of students about the effects of the crisis on their wellbeing and learning just after the end of Spring Term and shortly after (more…)

Covid-19 and FE – developing citizens, not just skilled workers

Blog Editor, IOE Digital26 June 2020

IOE Events.

In the face of the dramatic events of the past few months, further education colleges have demonstrated their resilience. They have been flexible, fleet of foot and characteristically student-centred.

They are about to be presented with a new set of challenges: a new cohort of students who have missed out on several months of their education, a significant drop in apprenticeship opportunities, and communities hit hard by the economic fallout from the pandemic. What will enable colleges to not only ameliorate the impact of these developments, but turn the seismic disruptions of 2020 into an opportunity to realise a more positive future for the localities they serve?

We brought together four representatives from across the FE sector to share their views for our latest debate What if… our education system changed for good in light of COVID-19? Part 2 – further education, chaired by the IOE’s Alison Fuller, Professor of Vocational Education and Work and Pro-Director (Research and Development).

Colleges are most readily associated with attending to the immediate skills needs of the labour market. In that regard they will need to respond swiftly and strategically (more…)

‘Staying Safe Online’ survey: what unwanted sexual images are being sent to teenagers on social media?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital19 June 2020

Jessica Ringrose and colleagues.

Since lockdown began, agencies such as the WHO, Interpol and the NSPCC have warned that increased screen time during COVID-19 makes young people more susceptible to online sexual exploitation, grooming and abuse.

We know that since lockdown began, ‘25% of girls have experienced at least one form of abuse, bullying or sexual harassment online’, and that there has been an upsurge in practices such as ‘revenge porn’. However, we know little about which platforms the abuse takes place on, the type of abuse experienced, who commits it (e.g. strangers vs. peers), or the precise ways it has changed since lockdown.

That is why we are running an online survey of teenagers to find out more.

Our research with 150 young people aged 12-18 in 2019 found many young people experience a daily barrage (more…)